When a motorcycle becomes art. Steve Mcqueen had a great eye.

With thanks to Bonhams for the photograph and apologies for posting this “post auction”. I don’t do many commercial plugs but when they include such well produce photographs of such beautiful motorcycles I don’t really don’t mind.

They used to abuse the hell out of these bikes “back in the day” and it’s interesting to see them transcend into what are now essentially works of at.

The ex-Steve McQueen1914 Indian Model F Board-Track Racing Motorcycle


The 1914 Indian Model F will join machines from three collections as part of a 240-strong offering of Pioneer, Vintage and Collectors’ motorcycles at the Bonhams sale at the International Classic MotorCycle Show

An early racing motorcycle once owned by legendary Hollywood actor Steve McQueen is to be offered for sale by Bonhams at the International Classic MotorCycle Show in Stafford, UK, on Sunday 28th April.

The 1914 Indian Model F, estimated to realise between £22,000 and £28,000, is an example of a board-track racing motorcycle. These early purpose-built motorcycles lacked a clutch, throttle and brakes, and were push-started and run flat-out – often reaching speeds of up to 100mph – until the end of the race, when the rider would short the magneto to stall the engine.

Restored by a marque specialist, the 4hp machine was purchased by its current owner at a Bonhams auction in Carmel, California, USA, in May 2010, and has since been housed in his private collection.

Ben Walker, Head of the Bonhams Motorcycle Department, said: “The men who raced these early board-track motorcycles were not only pioneers and champions of early motor racing but must also have been incredibly brave. In this age of health and safety the idea of riding at up to 100mph with no helmet or protective clothing, knowing you have no way of stopping in a hurry, is a terrifying thought – but this is what they did.”

The Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale will offer a total of 242 motorcycles, with many coming from private collections.

An eclectic selection of 31 machines owned by the late Clifford Jones features a number of 1950s ‘cafe racers’, as well as much modern-day racing and superbike machinery including several Ducati 916 Sennas and 999 Desmosedici Casey Stoner Replicas.

Some 28 motorcycles from another single-owner collection include 15 Triumphs, from a 1953 Speed Twin to a 1982 TSX, with estimates ranging between £2,000 and £8,000.

Among other sale highlights is a trio of Broughs – including a 1926 Brough Superior SS80/100 (estimate £160,000 – £200,000) and a 1931 SS80 (estimate £50,000 – £70,000) from the same vendor – and an early Brough, a 1921 Model G estimated at £20,000 – £30,000.
Meanwhile the fully-restored ex-works Vincent Black Shadow which formed part of the factory’s bid to set a new 24-hour speed record at Montlhéry in France in May 1952 is estimated to realise between £110,000 and £130,000.

Among an array of Pioneer machines on offer is a largely-untouched 1913 Excelsior 61ci Model 7C Twin from a significant private collection (estimate £35,000 – £45,000), a fully-restored 1913 Rex 896cc V-twin (estimate £18,000 – £22,000), and a restored 1905 Peugeot 3½hp V-twin (estimate £18,000 – £22,000).

Ben Walker continued: “Our annual spring sale at the International Classic MotorCycle Show – our first on the UK auction season calendar – has traditionally been a very successful sale for us.

“We are delighted to return to Stafford with another wide and eclectic offering of important motorcycles, ‘barn-find’ restoration projects and affordable classics.”

A classic 50 cc Garelli 2 stroke racer and a beautifully restored Indian! Today’s rather eclectic post brought to you by the fine folks at Bonhams Auction House!

It’s a nice mail list to be be included in. They document the bikes that they sell better than most full blown magazine articles and produce some fantastic photographs.

For immediate release (Images available on request)
27th November 2012


The entire Garelli Grand Prix Collection is offered at No Reserve at the Bonhams sale at the Grand Palais in Paris

A second collection for the 6th to 7th February sale features some 55 machines from the early Vintage era to the modern day

Two single-owner collections will headline the motorcycle section of the Bonhams sale at the Grand Palais in Paris, France, in early February 2013.

The Garelli Grand Prix Collection comprises some two-dozen historic racing motorcycles from the celebrated Italian manufacturer, many from the factory’s 1980s heyday, and a selection from its pre-war days. All the machines, which were housed by their current owner in a private chapel, will be sold at no reserve.

Highlights include the 1963 Garelli 50cc Monza world-record-breaker (estimate €50,000 – €70,000); the ex-Eugenio Lazzarini 1983 50cc racer that helped Garelli to the manufacturers’ World Championship that year (estimate €12,000 – €17,000); and a 1987 example of the 125cc twin that won six riders’ World Championships and four manufacturers’ titles during the 1980s (estimate €7,000 – €12,000).

Also forming part of the collection are two important non-Garelli racing motorcycles: the ex-Fred Merkel Honda RC30 ridden by the American World Superbike champion during the 1989/90 season (estimate €20,000 – €30,000), and the 1989 Yamaha TZ250W used by French star Jean-François Baldé during his final season of Grand Prix racing (estimate €3,500 – €5,500).

Garelli Motorcycles was founded in 1919. Many famous Italian racers – including Ernesto Gnesa, Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi – began their racing careers on Garelli bikes, and in the early 1980s the factory dominated the 125 class in Grand Prix motorcycle racing, winning six consecutive world championships between 1982 and 1987.

Lining up alongside the Garellis is an important French private collection assembled by garage-owning enthusiast owner, the late Claude Lesellier. The eclectic mix of some 55 machines includes French, British, German and American motorcycles dating from the early Vintage era to the modern day.

Highlights include:

1935 Magnat Debon 750cc VMA v-twin (estimate €8,000 – €12,000)
1950 Terrot 500cc RGST (estimate €4,500 – €6,500)
1945 Terrot 350cc JSS (estimate €3,000 – €4,000)
1929 Rhonyx 500cc GX (estimate €6,000 – €10,000)
1930 Dollar 500cc S3 (estimate €5,000 – €6,000)
1927 Automoto 500cc AL11 Supersport (estimate €10,000 – €15,000)
c.1921 Magnat Debon 250cc (estimate €6,500 – €8,500)
1918 Harley-Davidson Model 18F Combination (estimate €16,000 – €20,000)
1916 Indian 1,000cc Powerplus (estimate €20,000 – €25,000)
1930 Stylson 350cc RH (estimate €4,000 – €5,000)
1931 Arbinet 350cc BSSC (estimate €5,000 – €7,000)

Following the spectacular success of its 2011 sale at the historic automotive venue, Bonhams is delighted to be returning to the Grand Palais in Paris in 2013, where the Motor Car, Motorcycle and Automobilia departments will combine with the 20th Century Decorative Arts department to conduct a series of sales.

Among other lots already consigned for the auctions is the 1929 American Moth Corporation De Havilland 60GMW Gipsy Moth biplane that featured in the 1985 Oscar-winning film ‘Out of Africa’ (starring Meryl Streep and Robert Redford), and the ex-works Bugatti Type 54 that raced at Monza on 6th September 1931 in the hands of Achille Varzi (estimate €2.5 million – €3.5 million).

Highlights among the objets d’art on offer include:

Raoul Larche, a Gilt-Bronze Figural Lamp modelled as the actress Loie Fuller, c.1920 (estimate €50,000 – €75,000)
Jean Dunand, a Dinanderie vase from the first year of production, 1913 (estimate €12,000 – €17,000)
Demetre Chiparus ‘Dourga’. A large size chryselephantine model, c.1925 (estimate €15,000 – €22,000)

Final entries for the auction are being accepted. For further information call +33 1 42 61 10 11 or email:

For further press information and images please contact Helen Buckingham by calling 0207 468 5870 or 07436 266394, or email or


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to Prior to sale there are several days of viewing which collectors and the general public are welcome to attend.

Makes me want to go barn hunting… A completely untouched, original condition circa 1903 Indian Camelback expected to fetch $60,000++ at Bonhams.

Be sure of what you REALLY have out in that shed… This is the sort of bike that might be casually tossed into the trash. And what a shame that would be. Up for sale in January. Se Here for what a proper restoration looks like.


The 50-motorcycle strong family trove to be featured at Bonhams Las Vegas Sale in January.

San Francisco – Bonhams is extremely pleased to announce that it has been entrusted to represent what is regarded as one of the most important collections of motorcycles to come to market in years. From the prominent American family Du Pont, a name synonymous with a chemical empire, a luxury automobile manufacturer, and Indian motorcycle – America’s first motorcycle company, is a private museum collection three generations in the making.

Offered for the very first time, the collection of nearly 50 vintage motorcycles spanning 70 years of history contains many important and impressive machines, a good number of them Indian.

As an investor of the Indian Motocycle (sic) Company since 1923, Eleuthere Paul du Pont took over the ailing company in 1929 and helped usher in one of the most successful eras – financially, competitively, technologically and stylistically – in Indian’s history. As a result of this, the Du Pont family collection contains numerous Indian models – many of which were restored at Indian’s Springfield, Mass. factory – such as Camelback, Singles, Twins, Board Track Racer, Prince, Scout, Chief and Four, not to mention the following noteworthy individuals:

A completely untouched, original condition circa 1903 Indian Camelback
1908 Indian Camelback with an early restoration by the Indian factory
1908 Indian Twin restored by the factory and displayed at the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia
An extremely rare original paint 1909 Pope Single
Circa 1915 Indian Twin Board Track Racer acquired in the 1950s
What is believed to be the last Indian Chief supplied to a dealer

Additionally, some notable British motorcycles are included such as a 1951 Vincent Black Shadow with just 3,000-odd miles from new and a believed ex-Francis Beart 1959 Norton Manx, as well as numerous Triumph models. In all, the Du Pont family collection includes the following marques from America, Europe and Japan: BSA, Ducati, Gilera, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian, Merkel, Ner-A-Car, Norton, Peugeot, Pope, Scott, Simplex, Stephens, Suzuki, Triumph, Vincent and Yamaha.

The Du Pont Museum Collection will be offered at the second annual Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale on January 12th, inside the famous Auto Collections museum at the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino on The Strip.

An (almost) half million mile Beemer, a stunning Indian a Triumphs (for scale) and a nice ride report from our old friend Chuck Lathe.

First of all sorry for the delay Chuck. Your e-mail got tangled up in the usual laundry somehow and I just found it after doing some inbox cleanup. Not sure what happened. Anyway Chuck sends in a ride report from a recent trip along with some interesting shots.

Hey Steve,

I’m attaching a few shots of a couple of bikes we saw on the Blue Ridge Parkway — Virginia — on Tuesday morning.

I continue to check your site daily — except when I’m out riding around looking for photo ops.

I didn’t get the name of the fellow with the Indian. There was a Honda Rebel parked next to it and the Rebel had been crashed. It turns out it was the wife who crashed. She is going to be alright, but if she is as old as he is, she’ll be sore. His father owned an Indian dealership and he has his Dad’s old bike, but it isn’t this one. He has several other Indians. The one in the truck belongs to a friend and was going back to Ohio for some work. I don’t know what it needed since it looked pretty good to me. The Triumph is my Bearshark. I put him in the picture to show how small some of those old bikes were. I’ve been on three or four stock Knuckleheads in the past year and I’m always surprised how small they are. The V-Twin Indian is a 1941 Sport Scout. I don’t remember which model the Indian vertical twin is.

The BMW is kind of special for me. I bought a 1974 R90/6 in 1983 when my ’68 Shovelhead was stolen — I rode the bejeebers out of that Shovel for seven years and when it went, I said, “I’m gonna to try a BMW.” My R90 had the same Vetter fairing and it was also black. I called him Fritz. He had some funky teardrop shaped saddlebags and a flatter seat. My T100 shares a lot of the same riding characteristics except I popped lots of wheelies on the Beemer by dropping the clutch in second and I don’t do that on the Triumph. The R90 in the photo is owned by the guy standing with it. His name is, Steve. He bought the bike used in 1982 and it has 451,000 miles on the clock. He totaled it on the Interstate and bought it back from the insurance company for $250. He had to replace one head and a few other things, but he says the cylinders and pistons are original. He did put new rings in after the crash.

Bearshark took Nina and me into West Virginia last weekend — I had Monday and Tuesday off. We found some great roads, a cool little town with a bed and breakfast, and we watched a bunch of people parachute off the New River Gorge bridge — 800+ foot drop. They were supposed to hit a mark next to the river, but it was very windy and most of them landed in the river — shiver — and were picked up by boats. It was weird to watch people free-fall from above and then see their chutes open. I’m not interested: 80 miles and hour on a motorcycle is enough thrill for me anymore.

Regards, Chuck Lathe, North Carolina

Hell of a nice trip Chuck. I’ve got to get back to the mountains this spring and get in on some of this. I’m way overdue.


That looks great for the equivalent of almost 20 times around the planet and a bad wreck!



The thing that gets me the most about this picture is that the Triumph isn’t exactly a large bike either.


If I’m not mistaken I believe that this is the rebadged Royal Enfield?  Can someone correct me on that?