c.1908 Zenette 3½hp Forecar. Engine no. 5873. Motorcycles. Sold for £13,800 (US$ 21,297) inc. premium. Image courtesy of Bonhams
LONDON– The recent Bonhams motorcycles sale featured some of the most unusual collection to have come to auction in recent times. While some of the motorcycles look like scraps, others look like machines configured by engineers and hobbyists intent on creating unique motorcycles for themselves. Whatever they looked like, one common feature of all the motorcycles is that they are very expensive. Some cost as much as a house.
For many who do not know the value of these machines, paying almost $30,000 for what looks like scrap or strange gizmo may be ridiculous. Those who love and collect antique motorcycles, however, know the value of these machines. Evidently, that is why they paid thousands for some of the ones auctioned at the Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale. The sale realized £2.2 million.
One of the motorcycles in the Bonham auction was a C.1908 Zenette 3½hp Forecar with Engine no. 5873. This is unusual machine dates as far back as 1904 and was perhaps used on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. A 1995 catalogue description stated that the Zenette had previously formed part of the Lips Collection in Holland. It sold for £13,800 (US$ 21,297) inc. premium.
Another of the motorcycles came in bits and pieces. The 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Project with Registration no. TV 8947 is one of the most sought-after machines of the twentieth century. Peharps this is why an ardent collector paid £52,900 (US$ 81,639) inc. premium. With most of its original equipment including engine and gearbox still present, the auctioneer noted that the “sheet-metal will require skilled repair, as will the engine and gearbox.”
Although some of the motorcycles fall in the category of conventional, others are unique. Perhaps this is why Bonhams categorized them as machines. While we cannot present all the machines that many will consider unusual, we have put together some of the rare ones. Included are the amazing auction prices paid for the motorcycles and machines. All images are by Bonhams.