On January 10th, 2013, Bonhams will be holding the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. We took a look through the lots and picked our favorites, which you see below:
A Nebraska Highway 7 sign, c.1930
heavy gauge pressed steel sign, black graphic on white base, in good order, 15x15in.
Estimate: US$ 200 – 300
An Adler V-twin motorcycle engine
complete with carburetor, motor is in good cosmetic condition.
Estimate: US$ 200 – 300
c.1956 Eysink Renata 50cc Model B Tandem Moped Frame no. 75928 Engine no. 858762
Founded at Amersfoort in the Netherlands in the late 1890s, Eysink made bicycles, cars and motorcycles until 1920 – concentrating on only motorcycles thereafter. The firm used proprietary engines for its machines, sourced from major British and Continental producers, as well as power units of its own design and manufacture. In pre-war days Eysink offered a comprehensive range of machines including large-capacity v-twins and racing models, while after WW2 most of its products were powered by Villiers engines. Throughout the late 1940s, the firm was active on the racetrack, the highlights of its competition record being 1st place finishes in the 125cc class of the Dutch TT in 1946 and 1948. Tandem mopeds featured in the range from 1952, marketed as ‘Renata’ at first and later under the ‘Eysink’ name. Three versions were offered: Model A with Berini engine mounted over the front wheel, Velosolex-style; Model B with JLO engine in the normal position; and a Deluxe version of the latter.
A type of motorcycle rarely encountered in the USA, this Renata tandem has been part of a European collection for many years.
Estimate: US$ 300 – 500
Mike Hailwood’s 1978 Isle of Man TT comeback ride is the stuff of legend. Out of top-flight bike racing for seven years and away from the Island for eleven, he took on and beat the might of the Honda works team to win the Formula One TT at record speed. Entered by Steve Wynne’s Manchester-based Ducati dealership, Sports Motorcycles, Hailwood’s TT-winner was one of a small batch of around 20-25 such round-case machines built by the legendary Bologna-based NCR race shop for TT Formula One and FIM Coupe d’Endurance racing.
In 1979, the new square case engine began to be used in these hand-built production racers. This allowed the Ducatis to run in both the more restrictive production-based events as well as in the TT F1 class.
The offered lot spent many years in a private Italian collection before passing to its present ownership. The vendor believes the motorcycle was prepared as a spare bike for Mike Hailwood for the 1979 Isle of Man TT but not used in that event. Unfortunately, this claim is unsubstantiated. Regardless, this lovely example displays the handcrafted race engineering typical of the Italian scuderia: 920cc big bore engine, Brembo brakes, Marzocchi suspension, Veglia competition tachometer, modified Dellorto 40mm pumper carburetors and Campagnolo magnesium race wheels shod with Dunlop slicks among the many desirable custom components.
Estimate: US$ 55,000 – 70,000
1928 Ace Four “Hemi head” Prototype Sport Solo
William Henderson was one of the greatest, possibly the greatest, motorcycle engineer in America’s early era of motorcycle innovation. He was the country’s supreme enthusiast for the in-line ‘Four’, and his contribution to the genre exceeded the best made by any comparable European makers during what became the ‘Age of the Fours’. Subsequent significant designs came from Honda in the 1960s.
Henderson was successful but low on capital, so the company interests were bought by Ignaz Schwinn , William Henderson later leaving Excelsior to found the ACE Motor Corporation in 1919, re-engineering his original design following recent advances in engine technology. To boost sales, Ace embarked on a series of record-breaking exploits, with the company claiming an astonishing speed at129 mph in 1923. The ‘Ace’ became every collector’s dream.
Following Henderson’s early death, the Ace company was later sold, the last ‘factory’Ace made in 1929, though not before this machine, ‘X-1 28′, was likely made for owner Paul Du Pont as a prototype. Unusually, much of this machine was constructed of the light-gauge aluminum then new for aircraft use and surviving components, including the tank (replicated for safety reasons), fenders, ‘bars, rims, and other parts, some of which are stamped with this number.
The unique machine, purchased directly by an earlier collector from the Du Pont estate, has now been re-united, expensively, with its presumed unique and original engine, both fitting together exactly as when new with no adjustment needed. The 100ci unit represents the largest-capacity Ace made, with Ricardo ‘hemi’cylinders teamed with high-lift cams and large valves. Marque experts have authenticated the rebuild to the original specification – no lights were ever fitted – and this fabulously restored, startlingly ‘modern’ machine, in its original Duesenberg Blue, is the result. Unique.
Estimate: US$ 200,000 – 250,000
c.1929 Harley Davidson 30ci Peashooter Engine no. 30CA 505
The Harley Davidson ‘Peashooter’ was HD’s entry into the burgeoning world of Dirt Track racing which exploded in popularity in middle 1920s. American riders had always raced on unpaved tracks, or on board tracks, but the sport of Dirt Track, or Speedway racing as it became known, evolved a specialized breed of racing machine which was light, low, and stripped down for maximum acceleration and agility while navigating the minimal traction of a loose dirt racing surface. The sport grew specialized in Australia, and crowds found the sight of open-piped, broadsliding racing motorcycles which kicked up rooster tails of cinders, by far the most exciting sport ever, and crowded in their tens of thousands to race meetings. The large crowds meant huge ticket sales for race promoters, and within a short two years, Dirt Track racing had spread to England and America. Initially dominated by Douglas flat-twin racers with fast overhead-valve engines, by 1929 the Rudge chassis and single-cylinder OHV motor proved more agile and dominated the sport. Harley Davidson, always keen in the early part of the 20th Century to enter competition to advertise their products, soon intoroduced the ‘Peashooter’ single-cylinder OHV racer, with a chassis closely based on the Rudge design.
This machine is a rare 30 cubic inch or nominal 500cc model (most Peashooters were 21cu”, or 350cc) from 1929, in remarkably original condition. The history of this very rare Harley-Davidson is remarkable. This 1929 30CA, Engine # 30CA 505, is thought to have originally been the example purchased by racer Frank Duckett of San Francisco, who, in common with many Speedway racers, traveled the globe with his machine to fill a year’s calendar of racing. In the winter of 1929 he joined an American ‘Star Speedway Tour’, and both Ducket and his Peashooter traveled to Adelaide, Australia, where the Speedway scene was well established, and good riders could make an excellent income in the ‘winter’ months. Duckett did well in Australia, racing the machine in the 1929 and 1930 seasons, and winning the Australian Dirt Track Championship with this very machine in 1930. In 1931, it appears the Peashooter was badly crashed, and the petrol tank was damaged, then replaced. The original short exhaust pipes were replaced with the longer pipes as shown.
Multiple photos exist of Duckett aboard his machine racing in Australia, as it was the fastest Speedway motorcycle on the tracks in 1930 and attracted much attention, including that of the vendor’s father, who also raced on the Adelaide tracks in 1929. It made such an impression that 15 years later he was able to track down the machine and purchase it, and it was kept in the family garage for over 55 years. This Model 30CA Peashooter is extremely rare for the combination of its capacity (500cc), its originality, and although no documentation exists conclusively proving this is Frank Duckett’s bike, it has always been known as such and was the only Peashooter around at the time. Its globe-spanning story is full of appeal, and the unmolested ‘as last raced’ condition is rapidly becoming the gold standard for collectible competition motorcycles.
Estimate: US$ 75,000 – 100,000
1973 Seeley-Suzuki 500cc Street Legal Racer
Colin Seeley is one of the racing world’s great chassis designer/producers. He went on to construct a prolific number of fine handling frames for street and trail, and was unfazed whether engines were 2-stroke or four, or if sourced from England, Japan, or Germany. Having cut-his-teeth on successful frames for AJS/Matchless ‘singles’ he was perfectly placed for the new breed of speedy, poor handling Japanese ‘strokers’, which by the late 1960s, were out-running all the British ‘cammy’ 4-strokes. Barry Sheene famously turned to Seeley in 1971 when he was seeking the best chassis in which to house his recently acquired TR500 Suzuki engine. Thus mounted, Barry secured his first British Championship. He later claimed “…it was the best handling bike I ever rode!”
Constructed of Reynolds 531 tubing the machine’s functional frame has the plus point of an authentic paint finish. Supplied in April 1972 to New Hampshire’s Ross Seeley Racing Co, the iconic racer is still owned by the original first customer! Un-raced, and with barely 100 highway miles under its wheels, this wholly original machine was dry-stored from 1975 (at which point all fluids were drained) until 2011. Referring now to those all too few exciting miles in the saddle the vendor recalls “…it was a rocket-ship; unbelievable!” He also confirms the stock ‘triangular’ Dunlops were changed at the time of purchase, since when a rotted front tire has been replaced. Offered with some original technical literature this pedigree racer demands a close inspection.
Estimate: US$ 16,000 – 20,000
1970 BSA Lightning Dirt Tracker
In the 1950s, BSA was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world, and they provided a wide range of machines for all needs. The 500cc A50 and the 650cc A65 were BSA’s entry into the performance bike, vertical twin category from 1962 to 1968. Almost 60,000 were made in various trim and tuning levels. These unit construction twins were well received in the motorcycling press for their smooth power, sure-footed handling and, in later years, exceptional braking. The higher-performance models also made their mark in production racing, and an earlier BSA twin had won the Daytona 200.
However, it takes a determined privateer to reconfigure a BSA Lightning for flat track use. The modifications to the motorcycle on offer are substantial from brakes to suspension to frame. And, as reported by the vendor, it runs as good as it looks.
Estimate: US$ 5,000 – 7,000
Dutch hand powered tricycle
high quality front drive system, hand brake, and canvas seat cover.
Estimate: US$ 200 – 300