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Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction to feature outstanding bikes from both sides of the pond

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1910 Royal Pioneer. Photos courtesy Bonhams Auctions.

In addition to the 25th-annual Mecum MidAmerica Motorcycle Auction taking place in early January, collectors of vintage two-wheeled iron will be treated to a second sale, run by Bonhams and scheduled to occur on the same weekend in the same city. Both have been drawing a lot of attention since the events were first announced, especially since the recent release of their pre-sale catalogs. This week, we will feature just a few of the motorcycles that will be offered at the Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction at Bally’s Hotel and Casino on January 7.

1951 Vincent White Shadow

Lot 135 – 1951 Vincent White Shadow.

Only about 1,500 Vincent Series Cs were ever built, and only 15 examples of the “White Shadow” were made in 1951. Of those 15, only one was produced in Chinese Red. The White Shadows were unpainted Black Shadows and the Chinese Red is thought to be painted in the company’s red racing scheme. Considering a 1950 White Shadow (in black) sold for $224,500 at last January’s Bonhams Las Vegas Auction, the sky is the limit on this one-of-one 1951 Vincent. Pre-auction estimates have it at over $300,000.

1963 Triumph desert sled

1963 Triumph “Desert Sled,” once owned by Steve McQueen.

Lot 121 is a 1963 Triumph Bonneville “Desert Sled” once owned by Steve McQueen, painted by Von Dutch and modified by Bud Ekins. Featured in Cycle magazine in 1964 and ridden by the veteran actor and dirt bike enthusiast, this bike was offered at a Bonhams and Butterfields Auction in 2009 and sold for over $84,000, including buyer’s premium. Pre-auction estimates for the bike, now offered by collector Larry Bowman, place it at slightly less than that 2009 purchase price.

1929 Harley-Davidson JDH racer

1929 Harley-Davidson JDH race bike.

The 1929 Harley-Davidson JDH Racer is another bike from the Larry Bowman Collection. The JDH was owned by racer Glen Kleckner and raced during the 1930s in Nebraska. The restoration was done by motorcycle racer Connie Schlemmer and the two-cam F-head engine was rebuilt by Harley racing historian Mike Lang. The intake and exhaust valves in the IOE-cylinder head were driven by dual camshafts, with the intake valve using a much longer external pushrod than the exhaust valve.

1929 Indian Crocker

1929 Indian Scout, with Crocker OHV conversion.

Lot 221 is a 1929 Indian Scout with a Crocker overhead-valve conversion. Before moving on to produce his own bikes in the late Thirties, Al Crocker sold Indian motorcycles in Los Angeles and produced about two dozen of these overhead-valve conversion kits for Indian racing bikes. Although this bike is not original, engine builder Gwen Banquer was able to borrow one of the original conversion bikes and duplicate the castings for this tribute motorcycle, one of only seven bikes to receive this reproduced conversion. Pre-auction estimates are in the $65,000 to $75,000 range.

1926 Henderson Four Deluxe

1926 Henderson Four Deluxe.

Lot 184 is a 1926 Henderson Four Deluxe. The bike went through a complete restoration in 1977 by owner Tom Deem and was repainted in the original Henderson Balboa Blue. The engine was rebuilt by Henderson expert Ian Davidson and has been in Tom Deem’s collection for almost 40 years. Pre-auction estimates are $65,000 to $85,000.

1922 Ace

1922 Ace Four.

Additional bikes offered from the Larry Bowman collection include a 1922 Ace Four with sidecar and a 1910 Royal Pioneer. Two additional Indian motorcycles that should pique a lot of interest include a 1926 Daytona factory hillclimber and a 1912 Board Track racer.

Bonhams’s Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction will be held on January 7 at the Bally’s Hotel and Casino. Further information about the auction and the many other bikes being offered is available at