The recent trend of skyrocketing motorcycle auction prices for basketcases (unassembled, unrestored or partially restored motorcycles) has culminated in a 1930 Brough Superior SS100 basketcase setting a new world auction record of $561,556 (£425,500) for the revered marque at H&H Classics National Motorcycle Museum Sale in the United Kingdom on March 2, 2019.
The new record of $561,556 (£425,500) eclipses the previous auction record of $417,223 (£315,100), which was fetched by a 1929 Brough Superior SS100 at Bonhams' Bond Street Sale in 2014.
This particular motorcycle's history is deeply entwined with the history of the marque, as it was the bike of F.P. "Gentleman" Dickson, who rode alongside George Brough in the Brough Team, winning gold medals at two International Six Days Trials (ISDT) – now the International Six Day Enduro.
Dickson rode this bike at the 1929 ISDT in Switzerland along with George Brough and Eddy Meyer as the Brough team, but crashed heavily on the first day, breaking his leg, and was taken to hospital in Geneva by car.
His teammates decided to retire from the event and follow him to the hospital. On the way, George Brough was hit head on by a car being driven on the wrong side of the road. He also sustained a broken leg and later sued the driver for substantial damages.
Dickson convalesced in hospital, but pneumonia set in as a result of failing to have his foot amputated, and he died in mid February 1931 aged just 42. He was buried in Geneva and his friend George Brough attended the funeral. George Brough never really fully recovered from his accident and had to use a walking stick for the rest of his life.
The bike had been estimated to sell for £160,000 to £200,000, but more than doubled its high estimate and eventually fell to an American bidder.
Mark Bryan, Head of Sales for Bikes at H&H Classics, said: "I can't say this result came as a huge surprise, given the steady rise in values of Brough motorcycles. But given this bike's race history and its complete condition, it was always going to do well at sale."
Several other notable sales occurred at the H&H Classic National Motorcycle Museum Sale, with a 1993 Ducati Supermono fetching £73,125 (US$96,507).
Just a few weeks ago in Las Vegas, another one of the 67 Ducati super-singles produced purely for racing, sold for $115,000, so it looks safe to assume that Ducati's modern Manx is now a $100,000 motorcycle.
This bike in particular is one of great provenance, having been owned by globally-recognized journalist/racer Alan Cathcart, who won one of the single cylinder championships the bike was created for. It also has the added bonus of being converted for road usage.
Accordingly, this bike is one of the fastest roadgoing single cylinder motorcycles in the world, producing around 65 hp at 10,000 rpm and with a dry weight around 120 to 125 kg (depending upon the weight of the lights, blinkers, heavier mufflers, etc.).
Another interesting result at the auction was a brand new 1999 Yamaha YZF-R7 that sold for £28,687.50 ($37,861), mainly because it was a homologation special built by Yamaha for the 1999 World Superbike Championship.
A limited run of just 500 bikes were made, and bikes from this particular batch were also known as the OW-02, and came with Öhlins race suspension and running gear, magnesium valves, titanium conrods and valves, and an equally exotic price tag of $32,000. The race kit that turned the rather docile 106 hp base model into a fire-breathing 162 hp racetrack weapon, cost an additional $12,000. These bikes rarely come up for auction, and a decade ago, they rarely sold for even half this figure. Another OW-02 sold for $39,600 at a Mecum auction last year, so the OW-02 has now exceeded its original price and can be considered an excellent investment from here on, rather than the bargain they were.
The OW-02 was sold with full documentation and a subsequent warranty-recall crankshaft still in the box, but it was the bike's exotic limited-edition homologation status combined with its unused condition that brought the price.
Source: H&H Classics
Want a cleaner, faster loading and ad free reading experience?
Try New Atlas Plus. Learn more