HomeCar CultureCommentaryMorbidelli Motorcycle Museum collection highlights Bonhams’ Stafford docket

Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum collection highlights Bonhams’ Stafford docket


Around 300 motorcycles from the Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum in Pesaro, Italy, will form the centerpiece of Bonhams’ annual Autumn Stafford Sale, scheduled for October 18-20 in England, the auction house has announced. Because of the museum machines, the auction is being expanded to three days, Bonhams added.

Giancarlo Morbidelli, a woodworking machinist who built a successful engineering company and became a motorcycle manufacturer and racing team head, spent 40 years assembling his collection.


Motorcycle museum, Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum collection highlights Bonhams’ Stafford docket, ClassicCars.com Journal
The museum display before the motorcycles were removed. With the founder in very ill health, there are reports that the museum has closed

“He was a genius with bikes,” said Morbidelli’s son, Gianni, a former Formula One racing driver. “He did everything by himself, working a very small room.

“Forty years ago, he laid the foundation of this incredible museum, spending a lot of effort, time, energy and money. One part of the museum is dedicated to the period between the end of the 1960s to the 1980s when he built racing motorcycles. It’s our family heritage, a part of our life, but we thought it would be correct to include in the sale two Morbidelli motorcycles that my father built.”

Thus the auction docket will include the 1974 Morbidelli 125cc Grand Prix motorcycle raced by Angel Nieto to second place in the Spanish and German Grand Prix events, as well as a 250cc machine designed for 15-time Grand Prix world champion Giacomo Agostini, who finished second at Misano in 1976.

The family will retain ownership of most of the Morbidelli Grand Prix motorcycles from the museum.

The docket includes several Benelli motorcycles, a passion of Morbidellis since they also were produced in his hometown of Pesaro.

Motorcycle museum, Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum collection highlights Bonhams’ Stafford docket, ClassicCars.com Journal
1974 Morbidelli 125 GP raced by Angel Nieto

Expected to be the most expensive machines on the docket are a 1942 Benelli 250cc supercharged 4-cylinder that never raced — racing was halted because of World War II — and a 1964 Ducati 125cc 4-cylinder Grand Prix racer which also never raced — the bike was created by Ducati’s chief engineer Fabio Taglioni but disappeared. Years later, it’s engine was found in Russia and its chassis in Yugoslavia and they were reuinted by Morbidelli.

Bonhams expects the Benelli and the Ducati each to sell for £400,000 to £600,000 ($442,820 to $664,230).

Also on the docket are a 1934 Benelli 175cc Bialbero, 1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix racer ridden to victory by Dario Amborsini and a 1964 Benelli 250 Grand Prix racer ridden by two-time world champion Tarquino Provini.

Also being offered at the auction are several unfinished projects and Morbidelli’s reference library including original drawings, trophies and other artifacts.

Motorcycle museum, Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum collection highlights Bonhams’ Stafford docket, ClassicCars.com Journal
Another view of the museum collection

“Giancarlo’s passion for machines is evident in his Grand Prix involvement but interestingly some of the first motorcycles he collected were flat tank and early pioneer motorcycles which stand up very nicely with the later bikes restored in his workshop,” Ben Walker, international department director for Bonhams collectors’ motorcycles, is quoted in the announcement.

“His restorations were exceptional, he was a stickler for detail, and a man of invention. This is very clear when looking at the collection.

“This is the largest single collection to be sold by Bonhams and as such means that we will extend our Autumn sale to three days for the first time. The majority of the collection will be offered at ‘No reserve’ which is extremely exciting.”

To see the auction catalog, visit Bonhams’ website.

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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