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Bikes from British Golden Era at Auction

Bikes from British golden era at auction

Bikes from the golden era of British motorcycling will be up for auction next month at the Bonhams Motorcycles Winter Sale in the UK.

The exclusive collection of more than 50 British motorcycles and motorcycle-related cars comes from the UK National Motorcycle Museum.

The rescheduled auction on 11-12 December, 2020, at Bicester Heritage includes such venerable British marques as Ariel, Velocette, Triumph, Vincent, Norton and Royal Enfield.

One one the most unusual brands is Hesketh. The oldest surviving Hesketh Vampire from 1982 will be offered at auction. It is estimated to fetch up to £25,000.

The luxury super tourer which was the brainchild of Lord Hesketh, founder of the eponymous and flamboyant 1970s Formula One racing team.

Among the Nortons offered are two models inspired by the company’s racing partnership with John Player Special, a 1990 Norton F1, estimated to fetch £20,000 to £30,000 and a 1974 950cc JPN Replica (£8,000-£12,000).

Triumph is represented by an early example of its quintessential post-war ‘Bonneville’, a 1960 T120 (£10,000-£15,000) and a trio of Valmoto Racing Motorcycles from the 2003 season, all estimated to fetch £16,000 – £20,000.

Bikes from British golden era at auction

The collection also includes a quartet of cars or cycle cars produced by motorcycle manufacturers, including the believed sole surviving 1921 Douglas 10hp car, one of only six built (shown above). Formerly the property of the late Lt. Col ‘Tiny’ Ayers, it is offered in a good restored condition, with an odometer reading of just 3,834 miles. It could sell for about £15,000.

The National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull is recognised as the largest exhibitor of British motorcycles, with 1000 machines fully-restored to their original specification representing 170 different marques spanning 120 years of motorcycle manufacturing in the British Isles.

Museum director James Hewing says the bikes are from their Reserve Collection which have been restored in their workshop and come with a solid silver plaque to confirm provenance.

“This year’s events have given us the time to assess our reserve and duplicate inventory, and we can now look forward to reopening having freed up some desperately needed storage space,” James says.

The National Motorcycle Museum Collection will line up with a trio of other important one-owner collections, synonymous with Bonhams motorcycle sales, representing a diverse range of classic and vintage motorcycle marques and models.

The Connoisseur Collection, led by a brace of Brough Superiors, (a 1937 Brough Superior 11-50HP and a 1937 Brough Superior SS80, both with estimates of £50,000 – 60,000), offers numerous blue-chip examples from the estate of a late motorcycle connoisseur.

The Competition Collection of trials bikes is headlined by the Ex-Works: Ron Langston 1958 ISDT Ariel HT5 (£10,000 – 15,000), a class-leading heavyweight trials iron and a gold medal winner at the ‘58 ISDT.

This collection comes from Carole Nash, a stalwart of the motorcycle community and founder of the namesake and industry-leading motorcycle insurer, which includes a 1914 BSA 4 1/4hp Model H Motorcycle Combination (£14,000 – 18,000), offered in barn-find condition.

The Winter Sale will be a live and online auction, with an auctioneer at the rostrum, with bids accepted online, by telephone or by absentee bids.

The sale will be on view in the 50,000 sq ft former RAF Bomber Station hangar at Bicester Heritage, with pre-sale viewing between 3 and 5 December by appointment only:

  • Thursday 3 December 09:00 – 17:00
  • Friday 4 December 09:00 – 17:00
  • Saturday 5 December 09:00 – 17:00