Bonhams lands Herb Harris Collection for Vegas motorcycle auction

BSA cutaway was done for London show | Bonhams
Part of the Herb Harris Collection going from Texas to Las Vegas for sale | Bonhams
Part of the Herb Harris Collection going from Texas to Las Vegas for sale | Bonhams

Think “auctions” and “January” and you probably envision classic cars being sold in Phoenix and Scottsdale. But the 2015 auction calendar actually begins a few days earlier and a few hundred miles to the northwest with a pair of classic motorcycles sales in Las Vegas, where Bonhams sells at Bally’s and Mecum MidAmerica sets up at South Point.

Bonhams has just announced that its January 8 sale will feature British bikes from the Herb Harris Collection as well as those from the estates of Hollywood stars Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda, and the Jack Silverman Collection of Italian motorcycles.

“For years, the Herb Harris Collection of Texas has been synonymous with the absolute finest in premium, classic British motorcycles, particularly Vincent HRD,” Bonhams said in a news release,

“After all, it was Harris who discovered and lovingly restored with painstaking historical accuracy the Rollie Free Bathing Suit Bike. Being the savior and long-time steward of one of the most famous and important motorcycles in the world was no small responsibility, yet Harris excelled in his role and applied the same meticulous approach to everything that came under his care. Soon, a Harris Vincent came to mean a motorcycle of flawless quality.”

Biks consigned from the Harris collection include the 1946 Vincent “1X” Rapide B prototype, the first post-war Vincent produced and the first series B Rapide created.

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Harris found famed bike after 50 years | Cycle World photo courtesy Bonhams
Harris found famed bike after 50 years | Cycle World photo courtesy Bonhams

Bonhams notes that the bike was featured last year in Cycle World magazine after being “lost” for nearly 50 years until it was rediscovered by Harris. Bonhams also notes that the bike’s engine was converted by Vincent for use in a British military speedboat.

Also being offered from the Harris collection is the 1954 Vincent Black Prince prototype, a bike Phil Vincent termed a “two-wheeled Bentley,” as well as a 1949 Vincent Rapide C with matching Blacknell Bullet Sidecar, a 1957 BSA B34 Works Racer, a 1962 Matchless G50 CSR Silver Eagle (with a spare engine), and an early 1949 AJS 7R.

Also available from the Harris collection are factory-produced engine cutaways from Ariel, BSA, Matchless, New Imperial, Norton, Sunbeam and Triumph, as well as two cutaway motorcycles — a BSA Lightning and a BSA Goldstar Cloubman.

BSA cutaway was done for London show | Bonhams
BSA cutaway was done for London show | Bonhams

The sale also will include original Phil Vincent drawings dating to 1928 and other memorabilia from the Harris collection.


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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, 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.


  1. lll available for ludicrous prices to someone who will enjoy but I will bet never regularly ride them. Which is a shame. These machines were made to be ridden, and ridden hard.

  2. Norman, you clearly do not appreciate historic motorcycles or fine antiques of any sort, otherwise you would know that at a certain point preservation takes priority over utility.

  3. I agree with John… I’ve logged hundreds of thousands of miles on motorcycles, and currently own over a dozen different bikes. Most of which are intended for riding, but a couple of them hold historical, and sentimental value, therefore they will never be ridden under my ownership.

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