This 1950 Vincent Rapidfe is among the classic bikes being auctioned off. This 1950 Vincent Rapidfe is among the classic bikes being auctioned off. Photo courtesy Bonhams

Classic bikes go on auction block

Written by  on Monday, 05 November 2012 16:46

With more than 100 motorcycle entries, this year’s Bonhams auction at the Yorkshire Event Centre in Harrogate on Wednesday, November 14 is set to be the biggest yet.

Last year’s record breaking event saw 86 percent of motorcycle lots sell for a premium inclusive amount of £316,129 ($503,282 CDN), demonstrating not only the strength of the ‘Yorkshire Pound’ but also the breadth of bidding, with machines selling as far afield as the U.S. and Japan.

This year’s sale offers something for everyone, including 1950 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series C that has had two recorded keepers from new (estimate $39,800-$47,760). This matching-numbers and largely unmolested Rapide has been in the current ownership for more than 50 years. The machine is described as being in wonderfully original condition, has been used only occasionally, and has been dry-stored since acquisition in 1962.

A 1979 Harris-Honda 598cc TT Formula 2 Racing Motorcycle that is ex-Steve Tonkin and Isle of Man TT (estimate $15,920-$23,880) offers a rare opportunity for collectors to acquire a works-supported Honda with TT history. In 1978 Honda supplied five factory-prepared engines to well known dealer/entrant Bill Smith to be used in the construction of racers for the TT Formula 2 class. When completed in 1979, this Harris-framed machine was sold to Bill Head, the well-known dealer and race sponsor, who duly entered the bike for Tonkin to ride in that year's Formula 2 TT on the Isle of Man. He finished third, recording an average speed of 98.59mph.

More than 60 percent of the motorcycles in the Bonhams Harrogate Sale are to be offered at no reserve, including an assortment of hard-to-find Hondas. Off-road machines are plentiful and – be it trials, moto-cross or speedway – there is something for everyone.

Classic Italian exotica should bring some sunshine to the Yorkshire hills in the form of a 1977 Moto Guzzi 850cc Le Mans fully restored by Victory Motorcycles in 2000, a 1960 Moto Guzzi 235cc Lodola GT and a 1953 Moto Guzzi 250cc Airone.

James Stensel, Bonhams Motorcycle Specialist, said: “The Harrogate sale has real warmth about it. Not only is it an opportunity to acquire a hard-to-find motorcycle, but it is also the unofficial get-together for riders and enthusiasts from Yorkshire and the surrounding areas.

“We are delighted to be able to offer such a diverse range of machines in such wonderful surroundings.”

Viewing for the Bonhams Harrogate Sale, which also features motor cars and automobilia, takes place from 5pm until 8pm on Tuesday November 13, and from 9am on Wednesday November 14.

Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

--From Bonhams

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John Hopkins

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