A pre-production (one of four built and two extant) Honda CB750 built for promotional purposes in 1968 fetched £161,000 (US$263,725) to become the most expensive Japanese motorcycle ever sold at auction, while a 1969 HondaZ50A "Monkeybike" used by music legend John Lennon sold for £57,500 (US$94,187) to become one of the 10 most expensive Japanese motorcycles ever sold at auction.
The pre-production Honda CB750 was estimated by H&H Classics to sell for £35,000 to £40,000 (US$57,000 to $65,000) prior to the sale but a prolonged bidding contest saw the price soar to £161,000 (US$263,725), well beyond the previous world record for a Japanese motorcycle of $180,000, paid for a 1962 Honda CR72 Production Racer at a MidAmerica (now Mecum) auction in Las Vegas in January, 2009.
The previous record price for a Honda CB750 was set by another Honda CB750 Prototype (pictured above) at $148,100 on eBay in February, 2014.
The bike (frame number and engine # CB750-2110) sold by H&H (detail images above) was sent to Honda Great Britain in 1969, and was used in the UK launch of the then new CB750 model. The bike was first shown publicly in Europe at the Brighton Motorcycle show on April 5, 1969, also appearing on the cover of the May, 1969 issue of Motorcycle Mechanics. The auction house claims that this bike does not share a single part with the production model and has been in the same private collection for the past 35 years. It was undergoing a restoration when the owner passed away.
The ex-Lennon Honda Monkey/Trail Bike XUC 91H was acquired by John Harington from Henry Graham, of Hook Hampshire, who at the time was owner of a business in Farnborough Hampshire - Motor Cycle City in around 1971. Henry Graham had bought the motorbike from John Lennon, who was living at Tittenhurst Park in Sunningdale, near Ascot Berkshire, at the time.
John Harington, the current seller, had kept the bike for the past 47 years, since buying it from Mr Graham, and had displayed it at various events and shows throughout that time.
Astonishingly, Lennon's Monkey bike now becomes one of the most expensive Japanese motorcycles ever sold, behind only the two CB750 prototypes, the Honda CR72 250cc production racer and a 1975 Bimota HB1 (pictured above) that was sold by Bonhams for £57,500 (US$96,614) in April, 2014.
The tiny monkey bike just surpassed this 1992 Honda RC45 NR750 that fetched £57,500 (US$92,952) at a Bonhams Staffordshire auction in October, 2013.
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