Record-breaking Vincent Black Shadow tops Bonhams motorcycle auction

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2015-06-26 10:45:32

Record-breaking Vincent Black Shadow tops Bonhams motorcycle auction

The sale of a record-breaking bike helped Bonhams to a result of more than £1.4 million at their latest motorcycle auction.

The sale was held as part of the International Classic Motorcycle Show at the Staffordshire County Showground, and featured over 400 lots comprising automobilia and classic motorcycles.

It was topped by a fully-restored 1952 ex-works Vincent Black Shadow with an important history. The bike – the fastest production model in the world at the time – was used as part of a factory-backed record attempt, as the company endeavoured to achieve an average speed of 100mph for 24 hours.

Technical failures meant the attempt, made in Montlhéry, France in 1952, was unsuccessful – but the team, headed by company founder John Vincent himself, still managed to break eight new speed records along the way. After remaining in the hands of a private collector for almost 45 years, the fully-restored bike was sold for an impressive price of £113,500.

The auction also saw the sale of a 1931 Brough Superior SS80, originally won as a raffle prize in 1972 for the cost of a five pence ticket.

The motorcycle had started out as a vehicle for the Ipswich Police force, but was later stripped of its side-car and raffled to raise funds at the Brough Superior Club. It sold for £57,500 – more than one million times the price of the original ticket.

More than 30 vehicles from the collection of the late Clifford Jones were also offered at the sale. Ranging from modern bikes to vintage cafe racers, the collection attracted a great deal of attention from bidders and sold for a combined total of over £175,000.

Other notable lots included a 1914 Indian Model F Board-Track Racing bike formerly owned by actor Steve McQueen, which sold for £32,000 to a European collector; a 1929 Montgomery-JAP 1,000cc V-Twin, one of the “most famous British 'superbikes' of the 1920s”, which sold for £48,300; and a 1982 Yamaha TZ500J Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle, previously owned by World Champion racer Walter Villa, which sold for £36,650.

“Record-breaking machines like the 1952 Vincent Black Shadow and the movie star charisma of Steve McQueen were among the draws for the crowd, and there was fierce competition for the Ducatis in the collection of the late Clifford Jones,” said Ben Walker, Head of the Bonhams Motorcycle Department.

“Once again our auction at the ‘International’ Classic proved to be exactly that, with interest from bidders from across the globe.”

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