1954 Vincent Series-C sells at Bonhams for World Record

1954 Vincent Series-C `White Shadow' sells for a World Record 81,800 at Bonhams' 1-million Sale at The Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford, 29th April 2007

Bonhams' celebrated its first major collectors' motorcycle sale of 2007 in typically commanding fashion, selling 86% of the 550 lots offered for a premium-inclusive total of 1,046,198.

Highlight of the sale, the 1954 Vincent Series-C `White Shadow', one of only a relative handful of its type known to survive, sold to a UK private collector after an intense bidding duel for a premium-inclusive 81,800, a world record price for the model, against a pre-sale estimate of 30,000 - 40,000.

The strengthening demand for these classic Vincents was confirmed by the performances of others in the sale. The c.1954 Rapide Series-D/Series-B V-twin

hybrid' sold for 18,400, while the three single-cylinder Comets demonstrated the continuing popularity of the V-Twin's baby brother, the 1951 example bought by the vendor in 1964 selling for 6,325; the 1954 machine in long-term family ownership fetching 6,325 while the 1954

barn find', off the road since 1965, made 5,520.

An equally legendary V-Twin from across the Atlantic, the outstandingly original 1912 Indian 7hp

Big Twin', previously forming part of an important private collection in the USA, sold for 34,500 against an estimate of 20,000 - 24,000, while the 1913 Indian 7hp

Big Twin', centrepiece of the late Steve Stephens' collection, fetched 17,250.

Japanese machines form an increasingly important sector of the collectible motorcycles market with early examples particularly sought after, and this trend was emphatically demonstrated by the performance of the 1963 Honda 125cc CB92, which sold for 8,050, believed to be a World Record for this model.

Memorabilia associated with Mike Hailwood - arguably the greatest racing motorcyclist of all time - always attracts intense interest, and the 1961 Isle of Man TT Senior Race winner's trophy, awarded for Mike's first-ever victory in this prestigious event, set a new World Record for a TT finisher's award at 14,375. Mike's Bell Star helmet, used on his famous TT-comeback in 1978, made 4,830 against an estimate of 2,000 - 3,000.

Racing motorcycles of all types were strongly represented, with the enduringly popular Manx Norton a strong performer as usual. The ex-Frank Cope bike, a unique 250cc Manx known as

The Tiddler' fetched 26,450; the ex-Rudi Allison outside-flywheel

350' made 21,850; and a 1960 500cc Manx, un-raced since the 1970s, sold for 21,275. A distant relative of the Manx Norton, the c.1937 NSU 350cc racer, sold for 14,375.

AJS and Matchless were Norton's great rivals on the racetrack, and two exceptional examples finished only slightly behind them in the saleroom, the 1959 AJS 350cc 7R selling for 20,700 and the 1968 one-owner-from new Matchless 500cc G50 fetching 17,250. Property of famous ex-racer John Blanchard, the 1961 G50 was bought by the new owners of Matchless Motorcycles Ltd, also for 17,250.

Italian machines, both ancient and modern, were well represented, the 1977 MV Agusta 750S America with 46 kilometres recorded from new selling for an above-estimate 34,500, while towards the other end of the performance/age scale, the restored 1940 Moto Guzzi 500cc Model V found a new home for 6,900. Offered for sale by ex-World Champion Phil Read, Phil's own uniquely-modified MV Agusta F4 superbike realised 11,040. Another MV Agusta, specially built with Phil in mind and ridden by him on several occasions, the c.1978 862cc Magni racer sold for 21,850. The 1961 Aermacchi Ala d'Oro 250cc racing motorcycle - one of the best of its type we have seen - fetched 6,900.

Honda's VFR750R RC30 superbike has been collectible since its introduction in the late 1980s, and a 1990 UK-market example continued the marque's strong showing, selling for 12,765, while another `future classic', the trend-setting 1985 Suzuki GSX-R750, sold for 3,680.

Motorcycle and sidecar combinations are a minority interest these days, yet there continues to be a strong demand for good examples. The star achievers at this sale were the veteran 1913 P&M; 500cc Touring Outfit, a regular Pioneer Run participant, which sold for an above-estimate 16,100; the 1923 New Imperial Model 7 v-twin, a recent `Best in Show' concours winner, which realised 9,200, and the 1929 Scott Super Squirrel, which fetched 8,050. A three-wheeler of a very different kind, the gargantuan 1990 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Trike sold for 15,525.

Other highlights of the sale included:

  • 1933 Norton 600cc International - sold for 13,800.

  • 1927 Triumph 500cc TT Model - sold for 8,625.

  • 1925 Beardmore Precision - sold for 6,095.

  • 1902 Peugeot Perfecta - sold for 12,650.

  • 1925 AJS Model D v-twin - sold for 13,800.

  • 1960 BSA 500cc Gold Star - sold for 10,465.

  • c.1937 Excelsior Manxman 250cc Racing Motorcycle - sold for 10,120.

  • 1935 Norton 490cc International, ex-Denis Jenkinson - sold for 16,675.

  • 1924 Sunbeam 350cc racing Motorcycle - sold for 10,580

Bonhams Group Managing Director, Malcolm Barber commented: "April at Stafford turned out to be another highly successful sale despite the dollar exchange rate keeping US bidders away. European bidders definitely plugged that gap. Bonhams' Stafford sale continues to go from strength to strength. Sunday entries were 60 up on last year, and with the huge variety of machines on offer it was no surprise that the saleroom was packed. I'm thrilled with the some of the prices that we achieved and confidently expect a repeat performance at our inaugural Legend of the Motorcycle sale at Half Moon Bay, California on Sunday 5th May."

For further information contact Rebecca Ruff on 020 7468 8210 or press@bonhams.com