BMW Racing Machines in Las Vegas
John Surtees remains the only man ever to attain World Champion status on both two and four wheels; so, when he notes that the headline lot of Bonhams’ auction “rightly deserves a place as being one of the all-time greats of motorcycle Grand Prix racing”, we’re inclined to believe him. The subject he talks of has a 1939 RS 255 Kompressor (supercharged) engine, which is mounted in an authentic 1951 frame – a common practice with factory racing machines of a similar era, Bonhams assures us. Surtees describes the power delivery (he owns one of the same model year) as “very deceptive... this is a real racing machine.”
The motorcycle is accompanied by a trio of 1950s descendants: two 1954 RS 254s (one with a sidecar), and a 1956 RS 256. Significant interest is expected and, indeed, it was Bonhams which sold a very rare, factory prepared 1939 BMW RS R51 for $130,200 in 2010.