Home The Market Some assembly required doesn’t daunt bidders at Bonhams British motorcycle auction

Some assembly required doesn’t daunt bidders at Bonhams British motorcycle auction


Brough Superiors claimed the top four places among the top-10 sales at Bonhams’ annual two-day Autumn Stafford Sale of motorcycles, held over the weekend in conjunction with the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at Stafford, England.

“The Stafford Sale followed just a week after the Collectors’ Motorcycle (auction) at the Barber Museum in Alabama, which saw nearly $1.5 million achieved,” the company noted in its news release. The sale in Alabama was an inaugural and one-day event.

“In little more than seven days, the Bonhams International Motorcycle Department have sold more than 400 motorcycles. 

“We are already inviting significant entries for our April 27 and 28 Spring Stafford sale and our Las Vegas Sale on 24 January.”

The 2018 Autumn Stafford sale posted a 92 percent sell-through rate with total sales of £3,479,800 (more than $4.55 million).

“The star of the sale was the ex-C.F Edwards, 1925 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Sand Racer Project which, despite being completely dismantled, achieved more than double its estimate and sold to a UK buyer in the room for £264,500 ($349,306), the highest amount ever achieved for a dismantled Brough Superior,” Bonhams reported.

1930 Henderson Four among the top sales

However, the biggest surprise of the sale likely was a 1952 AJS 498cc Model 20 Springtwin cutaway display model that sold for £68,750 ($90,030), a figure eight times its pre-sale estimate.

As the bike was hammered sold, auctioneer Malcolm Barber quipped: “I can almost hear the angle grinders whirring in the background as owners try to replicate this inimitable item of motorcycling memorabilia!”

Two other “projects” were among the top four sales. Both were Brough Superior 981cc SS100s, one a 1933 and the other a 1928/1925 version.

Bonhams reported that the Adrian Reed Collection sold for a collective £546,307 ($715,540), including a 1930 Henderson 1201cc KJ Streamline Four that doubled its pre-sale estimate in selling for £56,580 ($74,421), and the circa-1919 Henderson 1147cc Model 2 Z Four that brought £48,300 ($63,786).

One of the bikes from the Ace Cafe Collection

The sale included more than 200 motorcycles. In addition to the Reed Collection, The Willowbrook Collection and The Mark Wilsmore Ace Cafe Collection consigned machines. Bonhams noted that the Willowbrook and Ace Cafe bikes sold at a 100 percent sell-through.

Another noteworthy sale was the silver hip flask awarded to Rem Fowler for winning the 1907 International TT race. The flask sold for £25,000 ($33,015).

Top 10 sales, Bonhams Autumn Stafford sale 2018

  1. 1925 ex-C F Edwards Brough Superior 981cc SS100 sand racer project, $349,306
  2. 1927 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Pendine, $220,215
  3.  1933 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 project, $212,621
  4. 1928/1925 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 project, $167,059
  5. circa 1952 ex-Francis Williams/Basil Keys Norton-JPA 996cc MK1 ‘Saltdean Special,’ $106,310
  6. 1972 MV Agusta 750S, $97,198
  7. 1952 AJS 4908cc Model 20 Springtwin cutaway, $90,793
  8. 1992 Honda NR750, $82,011
  9. circa 1930 Henderson 1301cc KJ Streamline Four, $74,721
  10. 1937 Bohmerland 603cc Langtouren, $83,529

 (Prices include buyer’s fee.)

Bonhams next motoring department sale is scheduled for October 27 at Padua, Italy, with its London to Brighton auction scheduled for November 2.

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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