Moby Dick - The Fastest Motorcycle of the 1920s - To Sell at Bonhams
Submitted by Brian Catterson
August 17, 2011
Bonhams are returning to the International Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire on 16th October 2011 with another exceptional line-up of motorcycles. The star of the auction is the 1929 Brough Superior SS100 known as Moby Dick, the fastest motorcycle of the 1920s, which has attracted a pre-sale estimate of £240,000 - £280,000.
Hailed in its day as 'the fastest privately owned machine in the world suitable for road use', this motorcycle is expected to prove very popular with bidders. Tested by Motor Cycling magazine in 1931, 'Moby Dick' achieved a top speed of 106mph, a staggering achievement at a time when very few road vehicles of any sort were capable of reaching three-figure speeds. Further tuning of the modified 1,142cc v-twin engine later raised that figure to 115mph in top (third) gear, with 109mph achievable in second. Sold but later repurchased by the vendor's family, Moby Dick was restored in 1998 and since then has continued to delight and amaze enthusiasts wherever it appears.
A 1924 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 represents a rare opportunity to purchase one of the earliest surviving SS80s. It was the first of the Brough Superior range to feature the cradle frame derived from Bert le Vack's Brooklands racer and also an early machine to feature a twist grip throttle and dynamo lighting as standard. It is also fitted with the desirable Bonnkisen 100 mph speedometer and it is expected to attract much interest. It is estimated to sell for £75,000-95,000. Another prominent Brough Superior on offer is the 1933 '11-50' that took the 'best original in show' award at the BSOC Rally in 2004 (£32,000-38,000).
In pre-war days the Maudes Trophy was highly prized by British motorcycle manufacturers. Ridden by Phil Pike, the 1926 Norton 588cc combination in the sale secured this most prestigious award that same year, making it four wins on the trot for the Birmingham-based company (£28,000-32,000).
Barn-find offerings include a 1955 BSA DB34 Gold Star (£3,000-4,000), 1956 Ariel 998cc Square Four (£3,000-4,000), 1959 Velocette 499cc Venom (£1,500-2,500) and a 1960 Triumph 649cc T110 (£1,000-1,500).
Ben Walker, Head of Motorcycles at Bonhams, comments, "The second Bonhams Stafford sale of 2011 will offer one of our most eclectic selection of significant collectors' motorcycles ever, with everything from one of the earliest Brough Superior SS80s to a concours condition Kawasaki Z1, and aims to build on the incredible success of our April auction and its £2 million result. With in excess of 200 machines we aim to have something for everyone."