From January 22-27, Mecum will be auctioning off 1,750 motorcycles for the 28th “Vintage & Antique Motorcycle Auction” in Las Vegas, Nevada. Will I see you there? Either way, let’s look at ten of my favorite bikes that will be going up on the block.
1. 1967 Lito X-Cam Cross Prototype – estimated to sell between $70,000-$90,000. Lito has made some beautiful off-roaders, though I’ve never this one before. It’s claimed to be one of two prototypes of a “X-Cam” motor in a “X-Frame”. X-Cam described a aystem in which “eccentric timing gear with two rods connected to rocker arms that rubbed on a second set of rockers controlling the valves”.
2. 1978 Kawasaki KZ1000 Spirit of America. In 1978, Kawasaki was the only Japanese manufacturer with a facility in the US. Kawi’s president (Dave Mehney) and Marketing Vice President (Dick Terrell) decided to highlight that with an “All-American Ride-away” – a program where Kawi customized 200 of their KZ1000s with an American paint job and then had dealers fly in to ride the bikes between the Kawi plant in Lincoln, Nebraska to St. Louis, Missouri. Then they got to take the bikes back to their respective dealerships. This is example #21 of 200.
3. 1915 Iver Johnson with Aerothrust Motor – Aerothrust was a small manufacturer of motors with
blades of death propellers attached. They existed between 1913 and 1919 and typically sold motors that ended up in boats, though they had a 225cc two-stroke single that occasionally, as in this case, got slapped onto bicycles. The Mecum listing states that Aerothrust claimed a top speed of 60 miles per hour.
I couldn’t find any video of the single at work, but here’s a twin that would have likely been on a boat at some point in the past:
4. 1939 Velocette Roarer Replica – I’m obsessed with the details on this bike. This is a recreation of the Roarer (Mecum says only one of the originals is still known to exist), and it’s powered by a supercharged 498cc parallel twin 2-stroke motor. The builder (Dan Smith) “had to cast up his own crankcases, cylinders, heads, supercharger case, gearbox and final drive cases, and then build the parts to fill them. He also had to build a replica of the Roarer’s peculiar frame, featuring Velocette’s pioneering swingarm rear suspension and hydraulically damped girder front forks, as well as the wheel hubs and brakes. Very few individuals on earth have built a complete, functioning motorcycle totally from scratch, let alone a supercharged, twin-crankshaft Grand Prix legend.”
5. 1894 Hildebrand and Wolfmuller Replica – estimated to sell between $100,000 – $130,000. Many people consider the 1885 Daimler-Maybach to be the first motorcycle, though there are other designs that could stake a claim. But the first production motorcycle does not have much controversy, and it’s the Hildebrand and Wolfmuller from 1894. This was the first vehicle to actually be called a “motorcycle”, though it was actually referred to as “Motorrad” because the company was German. The motor is a 1,488cc water-cooled twin that was able to propel the contraption up to 30 miles per hour. A “few hundred” examples were built (Mecum says between 800-2,000), and they’re just about impossible to find for sale now. This is a replica, “one of a very small batch built to exacting standards.” If the replica is expected to fetch six figures, I wonder what an original would go for…
6. 1925 Moto Guzzi CV2 Racer – estimated to sell between $45,000 – $60,000. The CV2 was Guzzi’s first production racer, and it replaced the Normale in 1923. Per Mecum, it was also Guzzi’s first use of red! This example has been restored but it still has a “long history of success in speed events”.
7. 2015 BMW K1600GT – this isn’t the usual type of bike I feature, but this K1600GT stands out because it holds multiple world records. It’s the steed of Carl Reese, and on this bike he has set the fastest time from Los Angeles to New York City (38 hours, 49 minutes) and broken the Guinness World Record for furthest distance traveled on a motorcycle in 24 hours (2,119 miles). It’s being offered with no reserve, and 20% of the proceeds will be donated to The Motorcycle Relief Project. To help with the long distance run, this bike has BST carbon fiber wheels, Clearwater auxiliary lights, an 8.5 gallon extra fuel tank, Russell Day-Long seat, V-stream windshield, and some tools to screw with radar detection.
8. 1936 AJS Vee 4 – In 1935, AJS revealed a prototype of a road bike powered by a V4 at the Olympia Show, and they suggested that a supercharger would be optional. The road bike never came to fruition, though it did lead to a racer the next year with a Zoller supercharger that ran at half of the engine speed. Very few were made, and not many people know about them. Nearly 70 years later, a Canadian bike enthusiast named Dan Smith built a recreation of the 1936 machine simply off of a cutaway sketch and a photograph. Check out this story on Canadian Biker Magazine for more information. Dan’s bike has covered over 10,000 miles, but now it’s going to a new owner.
9. 1954 BMW RS54 Rennsport – estimated to sell between $150,000 – $200,000. Quite possibly the most signficant racer in BMW’s history, the Rennsport was offered to privateer racers who wanted something impressively close to what the factory racers got to ride. This bike was originally sold to a privateer named Karl Ibscher, and it was restored by a later owner from 1985-1992. It was again rebuilt in 2007, and then made its way to a Swedish museum in 2009.
10. 1934 Husqvarna 500 Racer Replica – estimated to sell between $50,000 – $65,000. This might be the prettiest thing I’ve seen with a Husqvarna logo on the tank. Like several of the above bikes, this is a replica (#12 of 12 created by Gösta Svensson, a race mechanic with strong ties to the factory). Per Mecum, the original bikes were stunning: “By 1934, Husqvarna’s V-twin racer had been honed into a world-class Grand Prix racer, weighing only 291 pounds and producing 44 HP at 7,300 RPM, making them good for more than 120 MPH on the track; they were the lightest and fastest 500cc GP racer in the world.”
Obviously, there’s plenty more lots to look at, so make sure you’ve got some free time before you click here! Which bikes would you want to take home?