Bonhams motorcycle sale in Vegas hits $4.47 million

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Formerly owned by actor Steve McQueen, this 1912 Harley-Davidson hit $117,300 | Bonhams
Formerly owned by actor Steve McQueen, this 1912 Harley-Davidson hit $117,300 | Bonhams
Formerly owned by actor Steve McQueen, this 1912 Harley-Davidson sold for $117,300 | Bonhams

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.

The 1950 Vincent White Shadow topped the Vegas sale | Bonhams
The 1950 Vincent White Shadow topped the Vegas sale | Bonhams

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.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.