Monday, 22 October 2012

Motorbike from 1920s sells for £67,000 at auction

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Motorbike from 1920s sells for £67,000 at auction

October seems to be the month for record-breaking vehicles and now it is the turn of vintage motorcycles to step (or should that be roll?) into the limelight.  Not one but two pre-war motorbikes - both very special in their respective ways - were sold yesterday by Bonhams as part of a larger auction and they are each jolly nice and remarkable vehicles.


The record-breaker of the pair is the 1929 Grindlay-Peerless "Hundred Model" above.  Called a replica it strikes me as more of a limited run - very limited, in fact, being one of maybe only five or six built to celebrate C.W.G. "Bill" Lacey's successful attempt to become the first Englishman to travel 100 miles in an hour.  Being only one of two left in the world it was perhaps destined to command a high price, and so it has proved.


‘Barn Find’ Brough Superior Up For Auction At Bonhams

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The second 'bike (actually the first to be reported in the press, but not widely hence I struggled to find this article) is a Brough Superior SS-80, notable not only for being manufactured by what is widely regarded as the finest motorcycle maker of the inter-war period (and the preferred choice of T.E. Lawrence ["of Arabia"]) but for being a veritable "barn find" untouched for 80 years.  Owned by the same family since new (1925) this SS-80 hasn't been used since 1930 and is in an amazing condition and complete with reams of paperwork.

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This was actually one of two Brough Superior SS-80s in the auction, the second being a mint model once owned by the founder of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club.  It is a beautiful example of how the unrestored model would have looked in the late 1920s, yet oddly enough both fetched nearly the same money - £63,100 and £68,300 respectively. They are both splendid machines despite their vast difference in condition, however, and I hope the new owners continue to enjoy, cherish and - in the case of the original-condition one, if they so wish, restore - them for many years to come. 

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