HomeThe MarketBonhams ready for annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction

Bonhams ready for annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction


We’ve already shared some information on the MidAmerica/Mecum motorcycle auction taking place January 9-11 at south end of The Strip in Las Vegas, but that sale has a competitor on its opening day, Bonhams’ annual classic motorcycle sale at Bally’s Hotel & Casino.

Bonhams’ sale will include an Isle of Man winner and a BMW factory racer credited with changing American minds about Bimmer bikes.

The 1947 Vincent HRD Series B Rapide that won the 1950 Isle of Man Clubman TT beneath Alex Phillip will be up for bidding. Estimated to be worth as much as $150,000, after its big victory, the bike was uprated to full Black Lightning specifications — Phillip called it a “rocketship” — an was sold to British commando and war hero Lt. Colonel “Mad Jack” Churchill.

The 1972 Butler & Smith BMW F750 is one of two purpose-built, factory-supplied racing bikes sent to tuner Udo Geitl of Butler & Smith, the BMW motorcycle importers for the United States. Geitl’s tweaks produced stunningly faster bikes that raced in the 1973 Daytona 200 and helped to change the image of BMW motorcycles in the U.S. from “stuffy tourer” to sporting machine.

The F750s also were predecessors to the Butler & Smith BMW R90S model that Geitl readied and that Reg Pridmore rode to the first world Superbike championship.

The F750 up for bidding was ridden at Daytona by Kurt Leibmann while Pridmore rode its twin. Pre-auction estimated value is as much as $75,000.

“We are very pleased to have been selected to represent these historic motorcycles at auction,” said Nick Smith, motorcycle manager for Bonhams U.S. Motoring Division. “Both machines are quite significant for different reasons and both represent the ultimate in motorcycling: racing at its highest level.”

Also in the catalog for the sale are the Silverman Museum Racing Collection of Ducatis and the Pierce Family Museum Collection of Harley-Davidsons.


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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