Two 250cc Benelli Grand Prix racing motorcycles have broken the auction world records for the marque at the live and online Bonhams Summer Sale last Sunday (16 August 2020).
The auction was held at Bicester Heritage rather than at the International Classic MotorCycle Show at Stafford, due to government guidelines on COVID-19.
Lots ranged from exotic racing grand prix machinery of the twice-delayed Morbidelli Motorcycle Collection to motorcycle spares and memorabilia.
The auction was Bonham’s most successful motorcycle sale to date, achieving a total of £3.67 million over three days.
A 1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix motorcycle, ridden to world championship victory by Dario Ambrosini, was the first to set the new record.
It sold for £138,000 (about $A252,500).
Minutes later that record was shattered by its stablemate, a 1964 250cc Grand Prix machine winner of that year’s Spanish Grand Prix, ridden and signed by two-time world champion Tarquino Provini.
It sold for £149,500 ($A273,560), the top lot of the weekend’s sale.
They were part of a collection of motorcycle gathered over 40 years by motorcycle manufacturer and Grand Prix boss Giancarlo Morbidelli.
It was be the largest single private collection of motorcycles yet offered by Bonhams.
“He spent day and night in the museum,” says his son Guianni. “He had no other life.”
Giancarlo’s collection includes international brands such as Harley-Davidson, Honda and Benelli ranging from immaculate restorations to prototypes and barn finds.
They represent the passion of the farmer’s son and former woodworking machinist who, while building up a successful engineering firm as his day job, spent his spare time on tuning, racing and later building his own motorcycles.
Another record was set at the summer sale was with a concours 1979 Ducati 864CC Mike Hailwood Replica, a landmark model paying homage to ‘Mike the Bike’s’ historic Isle of Man comeback victory in the 1978 Production Race.
It sold for £36,800, a new UK auction record for this particular model.