Thirty-two years after his death, Steve McQueen still reigns as the coolest movie star to ever ride a motorcycle. One of his preferred brands was Husqvarna (another, seen here, was Triumph) and to the delight of motorcycle enthusiasts and McQueen fans alike, one of his bikes will soon be in the hands of a new owner. This 1970 Husqvarna 400 […]
Classic Japanese Bikes Highlight Bonhams’ Next Auction
Bonhams’ annual fall auction, the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, at Stafford County Showground is scheduled for October 20, 2013. Included in the auction is the above pictured 1974 Kawasaki H1-RW 500cc triple. Expected to sell for approximately $96,000 to $112,000, the Japanese works Grand Prix racer is one of only two machines built by the factory for the French Kawasaki importer SIDEMM for use in the 500cc World Championship. The bikes were ridden during the 1974 season by the French endurance racing specialist Christian Léon and French-Canadian Formula 750 star Yvon Duhamel.
A highlight of the auction is Dutch entrepreneur, Michael Buttinger’s collection of nearly 100 classic Japanese bikes from a humble 50cc Super Cub to Honda’s technological tour-de-force, the NR750. The NR750 was designed with no expense spared by Mitsuyoshi Kohama, and intended to showcase Honda’s advanced technology. Expected auction price is estimated between $80,000 and $112,000.
Also on offer are a selection of early Kawasakis, Suzukis and Yamahas, a variety of later 1970s and 1980s classics, and two prototype engines—a sand cast CBX1000 and a CX500. Many of the motorcycles are effectively new or unused, and many have only a handful of ‘push’ miles recorded.
The 250cc Moto Morini Grand Prix racer will be of particular interest to collectors of European racing motorcycles. Until the recent arrival of the Moto 3 class in Grand Prix racing, the 250cc Moto Morini was the fastest single-cylinder four-stroke of its capacity ever made. Despite missing two rounds of the 1963 World Championship, works rider Tarquinio Provini lost out on the title by only two points. The bike is from an Italian private collection, and estimated to fetch between $120,000 and $136,000.
The sale also includes two unique Royal Enfield racers, built by former World Champion, the late Bill Lomas, and offered for sale by the Lomas family. The first is a c.1946 350/500cc JAP-engined ‘special’, estimated at a value of $16,000-$22,000, and the second is his famous twin-cam ‘250’, estimated at $16,000-$22,000. Built in 1949, the ‘cammy’ motor went into Bill’s successful 250cc Enfield racer, and his excellent results on this machine led to offers of rides in Grands Prix and at the Isle of Man TT. He went on to win the 350cc World Championship for Moto Guzzi in 1955 and 1956 before retiring to run the family motorcycle business.
Other desirable British classics include a 1938 Vincent-HRD 500cc Meteor ‘barn find’, acquired by its recently deceased owner in the late 1940s and laid up since 1957, estimated to fetch bewteen $35,000 and $41,000, and an incomplete 1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 restoration project, estimated at $16,000-$24,000.