The best of British motorcycles heads to Bonhams Stafford Sale, as Brough Superior, Vincent and Coventry Eagle lead more than 230 machines at auction on 23 and 24 April at the International Classic Motorcycle Show, Staffordshire County Showground.
Heading the sale, the 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project, estimated at £150,000-200,000. One of around 78 built, this matching-numbers, ultra-rare TT-specification example benefits from more than 50 years in current ownership, and is completely unrestored. Vincent Motorcycles, marketed as “the makers of the world’s fastest motorcycles”, were built in Hertfordshire from 1928 to 1955, with this particular model an excellent early example.
From Hertfordshire to Coventry, where the Victorian bicycle and motorcycle manufacturer Coventry Eagle was established. Coventry Eagle built a diverse range of motorcycles using mainly JAP engines from 1901 onwards, though machines only began to be produced in significant numbers following the First World War. The 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 OHV offered is a rare vintage-era superbike, restored in 2007 and in present ownership since 2008. It is estimated at £140,000-160,000.
The sale also features nine rare models from Nottingham-based Brough Superior, including eight machines from the mysterious collection, the ‘Broughs of Bodmin Moor’. Unveiled for the first time in more than 50 years, this unusual collection features the mythical ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4, estimated at £80,000-120,000, arguably one of the most significant British motorcycles ever to come to auction. Also included in the collection are two exceptionally rare SS100s; a 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Project, estimated at £30,000-40,000 and a 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 Project, estimated at £60,000-80,000.
James Stensel, Head of Department, Bonhams Motorcycles said: “Only 10 examples of the BS4 left Brough’s Nottingham factory and just seven survive today, of which only three retain their original engines, making ‘GY 989’ exceedingly rare. Equally exciting is the ex-Henry Laird Demonstrator, 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 estimated at £140,000-180,000, one of thirty-two Matchless SS100s produced for the 1938 season.
“Sunday’s motorcycle sale features more than 230 machines across 60 manufactures. Combined with Saturday’s 185 lots of Spares and Memorabilia (over 50% offered at no reserve), this year’s two-day Stafford sale is expected to attract the attention of enthusiasts and collectors from across the globe.”
Further highlights include several important post-war masterpieces, such as the ex-Honda press fleet, 1970 Honda CB750 ‘KO’ Sandcast, estimated at £20,000-30,000; the ex-Francis Williams, Ernie Woods, c.1959 Norton-JAP 998cc Sprinter ‘Thor’, estimated at £40,000-50,000; and the ex-Barry Sheene, Mick Grant, Heron Suzuki, 1983 Suzuki RGB500 Mark 8 Racing Motorcycle, estimated at £80,000-100,000.