Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles, said: “With almost 300 lots including over 180 motorcycles, this year’s Stafford sale will offer something for every enthusiast. We’ve an incredible selection of Italian, Japanese, British and American motorcycles, including pioneering pre-war machines, a wide range of vintage, and a selection of custom motorcycles appealing to the new generation of rider and collector.”
The Mole Benn Collection
The rare collection belonging to the late Maurice ‘Mole’ Benn includes several rare MV Agusta overhead-camshaft racing machines. Mole Benn was one of the first enthusiasts to tune and race BSA’s humble Bantam commuter bike in the 1950s, and is credited with lapping the Isle of Man TT course at over 70mph on one of his machines.
Mole had a great passion for the MV Agusta marque. Seven of his personal MVs are to be featured in the Bonhams sale, the highlight of this selection being the ex-works 1954 125cc Bialbero (twin-cam) racer (£55,000-75,000).
In addition, there are two 125cc (single-cam) racers from the early 1950s (£40,000-50,000 each), a 1954 175cc Super Sport Competizione production racer (£12,000-16,000), a circa 1955 175cc Modello Sport racer (£3,000-5,000), a circa 1957 125cc Super Pullman (£1,500-2,000), and a 1953 125cc TEL (£1,000-1,500). The remaining machines include a 1913 NSU 6/7hp v-twin restoration project (£6,000-10,000), a 1986 Suzuki RG500 project (£3,500-4,500), and a 1951 Moto Guzzi 250cc Airone (£3,000-4,000).
A private collection of 1970s and 80s motorcycles including several turbocharged examples is to be offered. Heading the collection, the stunning 1975 Dresda-Honda (£8,000-12,000) that was offered as the prize in a Motor Cycle News ‘spot the ball’ competition in 1975 and, in more recent years, has won the ‘Best Chopper/Custom Bike’ award at the Ace Café ’70s Day.
Whilst few machines can equal the Dresda’s technicolor paint scheme others surpass in terms of performance. The 1980’s war on sales took on a new dimension with the introduction of performance-boosting turbochargers. Honda took the lead with their 1982 Honda CX500 Turbo (£2,000-3,000) and shortly after, Suzuki’s 1983 XN85 Turbo (£3,000-4,000). By far the most successful of such machines was Kawasaki’s 1985 GPz750 Turbo (£5,500-6,500).
Pioneer & Vintage
For the enthusiast keen to experience the golden era of vintage motorcycling first hand, few machines encapsulate the period better than Triumph’s trusty steed the 1922 Triumph 550cc Model H (£6,000-7,000).
Once marketed as ‘The most powerful motorcycle in the world’, the 1914 Flying Merkel 998cc V-Twin (£50,000-70,000) is an exceptional and truly rare Pioneer machine, expected to ignite the interest of any collector.
Elsewhere, the 1928 Model ‘A’ Ariel (£3,000-3,500) is guaranteed to leapfrog the successful buyer into a Vintage riding career with the added bonus of a complimentary entry onto the Vintage Motorcycle Club’s (VMCC) 2015 Banbury Run and a year’s free membership to the world’s largest vintage motorcycle club.
Other highlights include the 1909 Premier 600cc V-Twin (£18,000-22,000); 1924 Norton 490cc 16H (£12,000-15,000); 1927 BSA 986cc Model G27 Deluxe (£7,000-10,00); 1926 AJS 349cc Big Port (£8,000-10,000) and 1930 Velocette 349cc KSS Special (£6,000-8,000).
Bonhams’ very own motorcycle extraordinaire Colin Seeley is synonymous with motorcycle frame design. So much so, his frames have been the focus of many builders to follow. Seeley sold the Manx Norton side of the AMC business to former fellow sidecar competitor John Tickle in 1969. Tickle was already supplying bolt-on accessories to the café racer movement, and for 1971 introduced an extensively redesigned and upgraded Manx frame. The c.1971 Tickle Manx 40M 348cc Racing Motorcycle (£18,000-25,000) is one of the rarer classic racers and is a potentially competitive mount in the right hands.
Another capable machine is the 1994 Seeley G50 500cc Mk3 Racing Motorcycle (£12,000-16,000), built by Roger Titchmarsh, entrusted to continue Seeley frame production with equally exacting standards.
Whether a professional builder or a back shed enthusiast, these bikes embody the spirit and charisma of the old school whilst bringing a new and exciting twist to café racer/custom design.
Bonhams presents a collection of bikes that is becoming synonymous with the new generation of collectors including the 1999 Kawasaki 676cc W650 Custom by Deus Ex Machina (£12,000 – £15,000). Having previously been displayed at the Bike Shed M.C.C., the Kawasaki is likely to excite the avant-garde keen to own a piece of the famed Deus institute.
Elsewhere, the stripped to the bones 1985 BMW 1,000cc R80RT Café Racer (£5,000 – £7,000), with its vivid red paint work and minimalist aesthetics, proves less can be more.
The 1978 Seeley-Honda 750cc F1 Sport (£8,000 – £12,000) in the sale is more than capable of holding its own alongside these modern-day creations. Built by celebrated racer, designer and engineer Colin Seeley, the F1 Sport’s style is mirrored by today’s new breed of ‘café’ demonstrating the superiority of the Seeley product over 30 years on.