Rare British motorcycles led the pack as Bonhams’ fifth annual Las Vegas bike auction reached $4.47 million recently at Bally’s Hotel & Casino, while an antique Harley scored because of its Steve McQueen connection.
Two world records were set by Vincent motorcycles: a 1950 Vincent Series C White Shadow, one of just 15 produced, sold for $224,250 (all results include auction fee), making it the most valuable Shadow ever sold at auction, and a 1949 Vincent Touring Rapide with Blacknell Bullet sidecar went for $126,500, the most valuable post-war Rapide sold at auction.
Another sidecar bike, a 1936 Brough Superior SS80 with Watsonian Sport sidecar, achieved an auction-record for a Matchless-engine SS80 with its $115,000 sale. The 1962 Matchless G50 that helped carry legendary American racer Dick Mann to his championship hit a world auction record at $115,000.
That Steve McQueen magic helped lift his formerly owned 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E big twin to a price of $117,300.
From Italy, the 1959 Ducati 175 F3 Production Racer achieved $89,700, and from Japan, a nearly new 1990 Honda RC30 was the subject of a bidding war between collectors in the UK and Australia before selling to the former for $52,900, breaking the world auction record for the model.
For a full list of the Vegas take, see bonhams.com.