1954 BMW RS54 sidecar roars to $168,000 at Bonhams auction


2015-06-26 13:07:39


1954 BMW RS54 sidecar roars to $168,000 at Bonhams auction

Bonhams' Las Vegas auction saw the championship-winning 1954 BMW RS54 sidecar lead

Bonhams' third annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale has been highlighted by a championship-winning 1954 BMW Rennsport RS54 Sidecar, which beat its competitors to secure top spot.

1954 BMW RS54 SidecarThe bike initiated a period in which BMW would dominate for nearly two decades

The world champion racer roared to a final realisation of $167,800. It led a quartet of BMW bikes with racing prestige, with Bonhams' Nick Smith commenting:

"Competition BMWs, particularly those from before and just after WWII, are increasingly gaining interest from discerning collectors. They were highly advanced, extremely well-made and successful, and this combination of attributes makes them tremendously desirable."

The 1954 BMW is renowned as the machine that propelled the German marque to 19 World Sidecar Championship titles in a "nearly unbroken stretch" that ran all the way to 1974. Until that point, English Norton racer Eric Oliver had dominated the sport, with four side car championships to his name. Meanwhile, BMW had been continually developing its sidecar racers.

Oliver had won the first three Grand Prix races of the 1954 season, until a serious crash at the Solitude track near Stuttgart knocked him out of the competition. The crash is often cited as giving BMW the opening they required, but in actuality, the team held a four second lead in the race before Oliver was eliminated, proving that they had finally perfected their racing outfit.

1940 Indian Four auctionThe Indian Four combines both the beautiful and mechanical to excellent effect

Also featuring was a magnificent 1940 Indian Four, which sold for $44,850 against a $40,000-50,000 estimate. Also from Indian was a 1947 Chief, bringing $27,600 and reaching the top end of its $22,000-28,000 valuation. Both motorcycles were consigned from the Lawrence Lattin collection.

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