Monterey Car Week is all about cars, and motorcycles at Monterey are never more than a sideshow to the main event – sometimes it is an inclusive gesture from similarly afflicted brethren at the high altar of automotive worship, and increasingly there are motorcycles that appear at the big car auctions. This year Mecum, Worldwide and Gooding all included two-wheelers among their four-wheel offerings.

This year the numbers again confirmed that the collectible car market is well down on its peak of three years ago, but holding steady with last year's figures for four wheelers.

Of most interest was that the numbers for motorcycles were well down. With so many motorcycles being offered with no reserve price, a flat market meant there were some extraordinary bargains to be had.

Some prime examples include:

  • a 1903 Indian "Camelback" (estimate: $125,000 to $175,000) fetched $68,750
  • a 1910 Pierce Four (est: $150,000 to $250,000) fetched $96,800
  • a 1913 Flying Merkel (est: $100,000 to $150,000) fetched $75,000
  • a 1914 Henderson Model C (est: $150,000 to $250,000) fetched $81,400
  • a 1947 Harley FL Knucklehead outfit (est: $50,000 to $60,000) fetched $33,000
  • a 1919 Cleveland "Strap Tank" (est: $30,000 to $50,000) fetched $13,200
  • a 1954 Ariel Square Four (est: $30,000 to $40,000) fetched $17,600

If those prices astound you, then read on for all the results, images, estimates and auction page links as they tell a fascinating story.

$209,000 | 1903 Indian Single

Estimate: $200,000 to $250,000

The oldest known original paint Indian, this bike has a remarkable story with a known history that dates back to being purchased by a dentist in 1920 in exchange for $50 worth of dental work, then sold again for $20 cash in 1960. The bike is from the first full year of Indian motorcycle production and after such humilities mid way through its life, it became the most valuable motorcycle sold at Monterey Car Week.

Official Auction Description

$68,750 | 1903 Indian "Camelback" Single

Estimate: $125,000 to $175,000

Part of the Allen Smith Collection, this 1903 Indian "Camelback" Single was restored almost a decade ago, subsequently scoring 99.75 (of a possible 100) points at the 2009 Antique Motorcycle Club of America Nationals, and has been a museum exhibit since then. The bike was offered without reserve, and sold for $68,750 against an estimate of $125,000 to $175,000. Someone got a bargain.

Official Auction Description

$66,000 | 1905 Indian Camelback Single

Estimate: $75,000 to $90,000

Another machine with a great story, this bike was assembled from parts of 1905, 1906 and 1907 models by Henry Wing Sr, one of the founders of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA). What's more, this bike was on display when the club held its first meeting in 1954 and the historic event was photographed, so this motorcycle's part in history is well documented.

Official Auction Description

$81,400 | 1939 Brough Superior SS80

Estimate: $80,000 to $120,000

Also from the Allen Smith Collection, this 1939 Brough Superior SS80 comes complete with full history and documentation, matching numbers, and a heritage that includes time in the Steve Klein collection and as an exhibit at the Australian Motorcycle Museum. Estimated at $80,000 to $120,000 but sold with no reserve.

Official Auction Description

No sale | 1951 Vincent Series C Black Shadow

Estimate: $110,000 to $135,000 High bid $98,000

A fully-restored, matching numbers 1951 Vincent Series C Black Shadow with an engine rebuild by Vincent expert Rip Tragle, and a long Vincent Owner's Club history. Vincent is the marque with by far the most motorcycles in the top 250 motorcycles ever sold and this is the most common Vincent model in the top 250, ready to ride as new. It failed to meet reserve on a conservative estimate.

Official Auction Description

$96,800 | 1910 Pierce Four

Estimate: $150,000 to $250,000

The King of American roads for a time, this 1910 Pierce Four is the first American four-cylinder motorcycle, beginning a proud tradition of American fours. Pierce brought an FN four to the States from Belgium, improved on it in every way it could think of and began producing this model in 1909. More than a century ago, the turbine smooth (at least in comparison to its contemporaries) 43 cubic inch (707cc) T-head four could sustain 60 mph if the road was suitable, though at that time the roads of America were rugged at best. Note the lack of a front brake and any rear suspension.

Official Auction Description

$121,000 | 1923 Indian Big Chief with Sidecar

Estimate: $120,000 to $150,000

This 1923 Indian Big Chief with Indian Princess Sidecar has been auctioned several times in recent years and invariably fetches more than $100,000 each time because it was once owned by Steve McQueen and restored by McQueen's great mate Kenny Howard, aka "Von Dutch," adding to its celebrity status. It sold at Bonhams' 2014 Las Vegas Auction for $126,000, then sold again in Vegas in January 2017 for $110,000.

$104,500 | 1938 Indian 438 Four

Estimate: no official estimate

A fully-restored motorcycle of spectacular beauty that has featured on the cover of books and magazines, matching numbers, numerous first place and best of show awards. The outstanding finish on Indian motorcycles during this period was due to the ownership of the marque by the DuPont family.

Official Auction Description

$75,000 | 1913 Flying Merkel V-Twin

Estimate: $100,000 to $150,000

Few motorcycles in history are as distinctive as the orange Flying Merkel and this spectacular 1913 Flying Merkel is a perfect specimen. The 60 mph 1000cc V-Twin was at the forefront of technological advancement with a monoshock rear end and the first self-starter on a motorcycle. Fully restored and fresh from a long stint at Australia's National Motor Museum.

Official Auction Description

$81,400 | 1914 Henderson Model C Four

Estimate: $150,000 to $250,000

Official Auction Description

$115,500 | 1906 Indian Single

Estimate: $85,000 to $100,000

This 1906 Indian Camelback features the original paint and was once part of the collection of E. Paul DuPont, the owner of Indian Motorcycles from 1930 to 1945.

Official Auction Description

$84,700 | 1916 Indian 4 Valve Single

Estimate: $75,000 to $90,000

This rare and restored 4-valve "small base" 500cc single-cylinder Indian racer from 101 years ago sold for $84,700 against an estimate of $75,000 to $90,000.

Official Auction Description

$79,200 | 1916 Excelsior Model 16-3

Estimate: $50,000 to $70,000

Another bike from the Allen Smith Collection, this 1916 Excelsior Model 16-3 was treated to a long-term restoration by expert Brad Wilmarth and is meticulous in every respect.

Official Auction Description

$55,000 | 1966 BMW R60/2 With Sidecar

Estimate: $35,000 to $55,000

This 600cc BMW has been the recipient of a complete restoration, comes with an equally restored Steib sidecar and is believed to have traveled only 50,000 miles since new.

Official Auction Description

$41,800 | 1910 Thor Single

Estimate: $50,000 to $60,000

Formerly from the EJ Cole Collection, where it sold for $30,800 against an estimate of $40,000 to $55,000.

Official Auction Description

$33,000 | 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead With Sidecar

Estimate: $50,000 to $60,000

This 1947 Harley-Davidson FL "Knucklehead" is fitted with a 1946 Harley-Davidson sidecar and has just 1,000 miles on the odometer since a cosmetic and mechanical restoration.

Official Auction Description

$27,500 | 1971 Ducati 750 GT Sandcast

Estimate: $30,000 to $40,000

This bike is one of the original 400 sandcast Ducati 750cc v-twins, which included the famous Imola race bikes which catapulted the model and the marque to international prominence.

Official Auction Description

$13,200 | 1919 Cleveland "Strap Tank" Single

Estimate: $30,000 to $50,000

This 13.5ci (221cc) single-cylinder two-stroke Cleveland is not the model for which Cleveland is best remembered (it would later produced a powerful four-cylinder), but it is one very interesting and eccentric motorcycle. With the crankshaft in line with the frame, it would have been a sensible arrangement for a shaft-driven motorcycle, but Cleveland chose chain drive so the bike needed a worm gear to turn the drive through 90 degrees. Even more surprising is that one of these bikes sold for $93,600 in 2007 at a Bonhams auction, becoming one of the most expensive motorcycles sold until that time.

Official Auction Description

$26,400 | 1921 Cleveland Single

Estimate: $30,000 to $50,000

A slightly later example of the celebrated Cleveland two-stroke than the previously listed Cleveland above.

Official Auction Description

$28,600 | 1965 Ducati 250 Mach 1

Estimate: $20,000 to $30,000

Official Auction Description

$30,800 | 1990 Norton F1 Rotary

Estimate: $30,000 to $35,000

Norton built just 130 rotary-engined bikes during this model run, so the combination of novelty and the famous marque make for a collectible and very fast motorcycle.

Official Auction Description

$40,800 | 1959 AJS 7R

Estimate: $40,000 to $45,000

One of the most celebrated production racing motorcycles of history, the AJS 7R is deeply loved by thousands of racers over the last 75 years. This 1959 model is a pristine example of the iconic AJS 7R "Boy Racer", and went for a surprisingly reasonable $40,800 against an estimate of $40,000 to $45,000.

Official Auction Description

$41,250 | 1922 Harley-Davidson SCA Single

Estimate: $40,000 to $50,000

Harley-Davidson began making this model when the larger 1000cc v-twin models were banned from board track racing in the 1920s when the officials began taking measures to curb the speeds and the death toll. Only a small number of these rare racers were built before board track racing finished altogether, but this 1922 SCA Single is the very first specimen ever produced, wearing engine number #1.

Official Auction Description

$17,600 | 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II

Estimate: $30,000 to $40,000

Built during the first year of Ariel's new 997 cc "Four Pipe" engine, this 1954 Ariel Square Four Mk II was restored by marque expert Chuck Walton.

Official Auction Description

$38,500 | 1904 Rambler Single

Estimate: $35,000 to $45,000

Originally part of the famous E.J. Cole collection, this Thor-engined 1904 Rambler single sold for $33,000 at the Las Vegas sale of that collection and may fetch more this time around without the vast number of competing motorcycles.

Official Auction Description

$46,200 | 1926 Indian OHV Prince Racer

Estimate: $50,000 to $60,000

A rare, original-paint 1926 Indian Prince OHV factory race bike.

Official Auction Description

$52,800 | 1911 Indian Single

Estimate: $50,000 to $60,000

Quite an astonishing machine in that this 1911 2.75 HP single-cylinder, single-speed, chain-drive Indian is original and unrestored in every respect.

Official Auction Description

$19,250 | 1985 Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica

Estimate: $20,000 to $25,000

The last iteration of the Mike Hailwood Replica offered a 1000cc engine and this bike is one of the 1,100 produced. Though it is 32 years old, it still has just 2,000 km on the odometer.

Official Auction Description

$33,000 | 1906 Thor Single Board Track Racer

Estimate: $30,000 to $50,000

A fully restored 1906 Thor board track racer expected to sell for between $30,000 and $50,000, ultimately fetching $33,000.

Official Auction Description

No Sale | 1912 Indian Twin

Estimate: $50,000 to $60,000 High Bid: $25,000

An original-paint 1000cc v-twin privateer race bike from 105 years ago, but so much more than that because it is one of the replica machines offered by Indian to commemorate its 1-2-3 victory in the Isle of Man Senior TT of 1911. Traveling across the world to motorcycling's "Mecca," the results achieved by Indian in the world's most important motorcycle race have never been repeated.

Official Auction Description

$84,700 | 1907 Indian Single

Estimate: $80,000 to $90,000

This bike was restored by none other than E. Paul DuPont who was a motorcycle enthusiast long before his family purchased Indian motorcycles. This is one of several Indians he personally restored for display at the Indian factory during his 15 year ownership.

Official Auction Description

$46,200 | 1956 Norton Manx 350

Estimate: $40,000 to $45,000

A fully-restored 1956 Norton 350cc Manx with a long in-period racing history at the Isle of Man TT. The Manx's engine has been tuned and rebuilt by noted tuner Ray Petty, and comes with an aluminum dustbin fairing.

Official Auction Description

No Sale | 1939 Nimbus Model C With Sidecar

Estimate: $90,000 to $125,000 High Bid : $65,000

This 1939 Nimbus Type C and sidecar was once owned by Steve McQueen. It features a 746cc SOHC inline 4-cylinder engine and was highly regarded for its reliability and speed of around 75 mph. Only 12,000 were ever produced, and it is testimony to the high regard of its ownership base that 4,000 of the machines are still registered in its native Denmark.

Official Auction Description

$16,500 | 1983 Benelli 900 SEI

Estimate: $9,000 to $13,000

Readers may recall the J. Geils Band of the 1970s and 80s. Lead guitarist John Geils was a car and motorcycle enthusiast and at the time of his death in April 2017, he had amassed quite a collection. This bike was his favorite.

Official Auction Description

$40,150 | 1977 Ducati 900 SS Imola

Estimate: $40,000 to $45,000

From the later Imola Replica batch made with 900cc engines.

Official Auction Description

No sale | 1977 MV Agusta 850SS

Estimate: $65,000 to $85,000 High Bid : $52,000

From the Virgil Elings Solvang Museum, this bike is both rare and beautiful and involves a complete Magni racing conversion.

Official Auction Description

No sale | 1929 BMW R62

Estimate: $50,000 to $58,000 High Bid: $42,000

The first BMW 750cc model in just the sixth year of production for Bayerische Motoren Werke Motorrad. Beautifully restored.

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