Auction Preview – Bonhams Las Vegas 2019

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On January 24, Bonhams is auctioning off 128 lots in their annual Las Vegas auction. Here’s seven of my favorites!

1. I’ve featured a few Ariel Leaders over the years, but I had never heard of the similar Velocette Vogue until earlier this month, when commenter cyclemikey brought it up as a candidate for Ugliest Bike of All Time. Well, now I’ve got one I can share with you. In a way, the Vogue was an evolution of the LE – bikes designed to be easy transportation with excellent weather protection and easy maintenance. Just 381 were built, and this example has benefitted from a restoration. Estimated sale price is between $11,000-$15,000.

2. In the 1940s, Gilera introduced a very capable (and very expensive) sportbike called the Saturno – Motorcycle Classics said they sold for the approximate price of a small Italian apartment in the day. Fast forward to the 1980s, and Gilera’s Japanese importer commissioned them to build a modern sportbike with the 500cc 4-stroke single that was utilized in the Dakota off-roader. The Saturno name was brought back for a lovely rare Italian. This example is even more rare as it is a “GBM” model, which was built to celebrate the Isle of Man. This example was originally sold in Japan and was then brought to New Zealand. No service records are included but it sure looks great!

3. One interesting collection is this set of 6 bikes. They represent the “complete range of 1971 Honda SL Motosport models” (70, 90, 100, 125, 175, and a 350). The 90 is a cool find as it’s a Japanese model that was never officially sold in the US. The Bonhams listing does a good job telling the story of the seller, a Bike-urious reader and pal of mine, Randy Marble. It’s an interesting play – what’s it worth compared to breaking out each bike individually? Bonhams estimates the lot will go between $40,000-$45,000, or approximately $7k per bike.

That collection is obviously going to someone who, like Randy, is a little nutty about Hondas. But Mr. Marble has a few other bikes in the auction that should be worth investigating: Kawasaki F8 Bison, Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts, Yamaha RD200, and a Kawasaki Z1-B.

4. Another Bike-urious reader (Don Stockett of Vintage Motorcycle Rescue) is letting go of a few interesting Hondas. There’s an ex-Gary Davis Trackmaster racer, a one-owner Candy Gold CB350 K3, a 1970 Honda CB750 that won the Superbike class at the 2013 Quail Motorcycle Gathering, and my favorite, a 1972 Honda CL350 with the “Flying Dragon” bodywork.

The Flying Dragon is a little known tidbit of Honda history: is in ’72 and ’73, you could order an incredible set of alternate bodywork for CL350 or CL450 models – an idea that came from Honda’s paint department because they figured these crazy Americans were obsessed with tie dye, and some would want a similar scheme on their motorcycles. Estimated to sell between $10,000-$15,000.

5. Lots 39 and 40 are a couple of beautiful Guzzi-powered Magni specials. First we’ve got a Sfida, which is Italian for “challenge” and reflects the classic Italian racer styling. Power was supplied by a Guzzi V-Twin, while suspension duties were assigned to Ceriani for the forks and WP for the rear shock. For more information, check out this “Quick Ride” from Cycle World’s time with a prototype. This example was initially ordered by someone in New Zealand and it’s said to be in “excellent original condition”. Estimated to sell between $15,000-$20,000, offered without reserve.

5. a. There’s also an Arturo that was ordered by the same New Zealander. It’s also got retro styling, but it looks more like a MV Agusta. Estimated to sell between $12,000-$15,000, offered without reserve.

6. Another bike that earned a vote in the Ugliest Bike of All Time competition was this 1974 Munch Mammoth. I can see why some people would detest the styling, but I think it fits the insanity of what some consider to be the world’s first superbike. It was aptly named, with a 996cc four-cylinder car engine from NSU that helped contribute to a weight of 480 pounds. Early models produced 55 horsepower but by ’68 Munch was able to get a 1177cc motor from NSU that put out 87 horsepower. This was powerful enough to cause issues for the rear wheel, so Munch created the distinctive cast magnesium rear wheel that’s reminiscent of a turbine. Just 478 were built, and RideApart estimates that 320 are still around. This bike has three owners and it’s been ridden for just 15,000 miles. It’s got an optional 9 gallon fuel tank(!) and the current owner is John Landstrom of Blue Moon Cycle. Estimated to sell between $115,000-$135,000.

7. Lastly, we’ve got a Parilla 250 Gran Sport that I’m featuring almost entirely for the dustbin fairing. This bike is said to have “little provenance”, though it’s got that beautiful aluminum fairing that I can’t stop talking about. It’s a lovely piece of kit, the kind of thing I would just leave in my living room if I was a wealthy man. Estimated to sell between $30,000-$35,000.

– As a fun bonus, check out this duo of Cushman powered vehicles. The car started as a carousel ride that now has a Cushman motor stuffed in the trunk, and it’s towing a Cushman Model 53A scooter. Estimated sale price is between $5,000-$6,000, though the package is being offered with no reserve.

To view all the lots, head on over to the Bonhams site. What tickles your fancy?

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