On Thursday, January 8, 2015, world famous auction house Bonhams has announced that, in addition to motorcycles from the estates of Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, the Las Vegas event will also feature the renowned Herb Harris Collection. Readers may remember Harris as the collector who located and then, in a painstaking effort towards maintaining historical accuracy, restored the Rollie Free Bathing Suit Bike. Because of his reputation for meticulous restoration, Harris bikes command higher value than many other collector motorcycles.
While this auction will include “a selection of important prototype, racing and road models,” it will also feature “a dozen cut-away engines and associated memorabilia,” presenting collectors world-wide with an opportunity to purchase some extremely rare and unique motorcycles and other artifacts.
Motorcycles to be auctioned include: a 1946 Vincent “1X” Rapide B Prototype (the first one ever created and whose engine had been “lost” until Harris tracked it down, reuniting it with its chassis), a 1949 Vincent Rapide C with matching Blacknell Bullet Sidecar, a 1957 BSA B34 Works Racer, a 1962 Matchless G50 CSR Silver Eagle (including a spare engine), and an early 1949 AJS 7R.
The factory-produced cutaway engines were originally used for educational purposes and come from historic marques, such as Ariel, BSA, Matchless, New Imperial, Norton, Sunbeam and Triumph. If sectioned engines aren’t enough, two complete sectioned motorcycles will also be offered by Bonhams Las Vegas. The BSA Lightning may be unique, but the sectioned BSA Goldstar Clubman, which was fabricated for the Earls Court Motor Show, remains fully operational – allowing viewers the opportunity to see components from the engine to the suspension is action.
Finally, Harris, in his role as motorcycle historian, collected many one-of-a-kind documents, such as the first conceptual drawings Phil Vincent made in 1928 and the “original bill of sale of the HRD company to Phil Vincent in 1928.”