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Steve McQueen and Brit bikes rule

Steve McQueen's Harley
Steve McQueen's Harley

Steve McQueen’s reputation and the collectibility of classic British motorcycles were highlights of the annual Bonhams motorcycle auction in Las Vegas.

A 1950 Vincent Series C “White” Shadow – one of just 15 produced – became the most valuable Vincent Shadow when it sold at $224,250

Record-making Vincent Shadow - Steve McQueen
Record-making Vincent Shadow

Meanwhile, another Vincent, a 1949 Vincent Touring Rapide with Blacknell Bullet Sidecar, became the most valuable post-war Rapide when it sold for $126,500.

Other classic British bikes to achieve world records included a restored 1936 Brough Superior SS80 with Watsonian Sport Sidecar and a 1962 Matchless G50 that helped carry legendary American racer Dick Mann to his championship. They each sold for $115,000.

Hollywood actor Steve McQueen still wields some selling power in the motorcycle world with his 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Big Twin selling for $117,300.

1990 Honda RC30 - Steve McQueen
1990 Honda RC30

A 1990 Honda RC30 caused an auction sensation when it was the subject of a fierce bidding war between Aussie and UK collectors. The Poms won with a price of $52,900, creating a world auction record for the model. 

Other British motorcycles that achieved impressive prices were a 1938 Brough Superior SS100 at $280,000, an ex-Sid Biberman 1950 Vincent Series C Black Shadow at $112,700, a 1950 Vincent Series C Black Shadow barn find at $103,500, a 1955 Vincent Black Prince at $79,350, the ex-Jimmy Guthrie 1961 Francis Beart Norton Manx at $75,900, and a 1956 Ariel Square Four MkII with Watsonian Sidecar at $50,600.