16 May 2011 - San Francisco - This past Saturday Bonhams, a name now synonymous with Steve McQueen, sold the legendary actor's 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross motorcycle - a machine identical to the one he famously rode shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated - for a new world record at an estimate-shattering price of $144,500.
The magic of McQueen, as well as exquisite machinery from BMW and consignments from the famed Guggenheim Museum were among the highlights of Bonhams' third annual spring motorcycle sale in Carmel, California.
A 1925 BMW R32, an early and very rare motorcycle from the Bavarian Motor Works that would become the blueprint for all subsequent BMWs, made $139,000 - what is believed to be a new world record for the model.
The two iconic Harley-Davidson Easy Rider replicas, "Captain America" and "Billy Bike," owned by the Guggenheim Museum and displayed in their seminal Art of the Motorcycle exhibit went for $52,650 and $24,570 respectively. The proceeds from this sale will support art acquisitions by the museum.
The top selling lots at this year's sale sold to a truly international audience with winning bids coming from South America, the United Kingdom and South East Asia, confirming the truly global reach of Bonhams within this competitive market place.
"Buyers kept us on our toes at the telephone bidding bank from where bids were relayed to CEO and auctioneer Malcolm Barber," says Mark Osborne, Head of Bonhams' US Motoring Department. "Increments were jumped as passionate collectors clamored for the choicest offerings, creating a buzz and applause from the auction room."
Following Bonhams' highly successful January motorcycle sale in Las Vegas, this May auction in Carmel demonstrated once again the strength in high-end collectors' motorcycles and served as the perfect forum at which to announce Bonhams' newest offering: the first live motorcycle auction to be held during August's Pebble Beach Car Week. Even more newsworthy, the lead motorcycle consigned to this upcoming summer sale is none other than the 1954 AJS E95 'Porcupine,' whose estimate is $750,000.
Sales results, descriptions and images of each lot from Saturday's sale in Carmel are available by going to http://www.bonhams.com/usa/auction/19391/.
Further information about Bonhams' sale of exceptional motorcycles and motorcars in August during Pebble Beach Car Week can be found by going to: http://www.bonhams.com/quail.