1964 BSA 646cc Rocket Gold Star. Photos courtesy of Bonhams Auctions.
Amid all the very upper-crust collector vehicles that will be featured – an Elton John-owned 1959 Bentley, 1955 Lancia B24 Spider America, 1959 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud drophead coupe, and the ex-Paul McCartney Aston Martin DB5 – Bonhams will also be offering a few interesting motorcycles during its Bond Street Auction this upcoming Sunday, December 2, at the firm’s new auction house on New Bond Street in London. Always popular with high-end motorcycle collectors are the classic Brough Superiors and Vincent Black Shadows, and Bonhams will be auctioning one of each of these sought-after machines.
1949 Black Shadow Series C
The Vincent crossing the stage at the Bond Street sale is a 1949 Black Shadow Series C that sat untouched for over 30 years before it was painstakingly restored in 2016. Once owned by a lighthouse keeper, it was purchased in 2004 and left to its own devices after the owner intended to restore it but never got started on the project. It was recently sold to the current owner, who finally brought the bike back to its former glory. The Black Shadow features a 998-cc V-twin engine that realizes 55 bhp and 7.2:1 compression, and Girdraulic front forks, an innovation that used two external hydraulic shocks mounted to the sides of the ridged beam-type forks to provide softness to the front suspension. Only 42 Vincent-HRD Series C Black Shadows are currently known to have been made before the HRD name reference was phased out in 1950. The restoration was completed so that the bike would look as it appeared during its debut at Earl’s Court Motorcycle Show in 1948, including the red stripes painted on chrome spoked wheel rims. Pre-auction estimates for this beautifully restored Vincent are between $110,000 and 160,000 U.S.
1936 Brough Superior SS80 Special
Bonhams’ Brough offering is a 1936 Superior SS80 Special. This example features the J. A. Prestwich 982-cc side-valve V-twin engine that had just been reintroduced in Brough bikes in 1935 after a brief hiatus. The new J.A.P. engines were produced by Associated Motor Cycles and used by Brough until the end of production in 1939. Of the original 460 built, only 300 or so still survive. This SS80 Special features a Bentley-Draper sprung frame, which was usually only available beneath the SS100 bikes and a Druid front fork assembly, a later addition by its original owner. The bike was completely restored by a previous owner sometime before January 2010 but has been ridden over 200 miles since the restoration, including participation in the 2011 International West Kent Run. The auction company sets a pre-bidding estimate of between $87,000 and $110,000 for this J.A.P.-powered Brough SS80 Special.
1950 AJS 7R
Additional bikes to be offered at Sunday’s sale:
A 1950 AJS 7R 350 single cylinder “Boy Racer” in need of a full restoration that is expected to sell between $27,000 and $33,000.
A 1964 BSA 646cc Rocket Gold Star that was restored in 2001. This classic café racer is expected to sell for about the same price ($25,000 – $35,000) as the AJS.
1977 MV Agusta 750S America
A 1977 MV Agusta 750S America is also on the auction block. This hand-built bike has a 789-cc engine capable of 75 bhp and a top speed of 135 mph. The America bikes were only produced from 1976 to 1979, and the Magni fairing is available, but not part of the bike sale. It is expected to bring between $74,000 and $87,000 US at the auction.
You can see further details on these bikes, as well as on the many cars being offered and the art collection of automotive artist Dexter Brown, which will also be sold at this weekend at the same auction, at Bonhams.com.