The coolest bikes from Bonhams’ Paris sale

Artcurial looks set to steal the limelight during this year's round of Rétromobile auctions with the Baillon collection - but while most are marvelling at the ‘barn find of the century’, motorcycle fans can quietly immerse themselves in the preview of Bonhams’ 47-lot motorcycle sale…

Miniature memories

There are machines in there that any motorcyclist of a certain age would dearly love to have in his (or her) collection. The one I’m particularly coveting is the simply stunning Moto Guzzi V7 Sport in a classic ‘lime’and red paint scheme. This is a motorcycle that I have longed to own since the age of seven, when I was given not one, but two tiny models of it by different people.

I still have them, but have never managed to acquire the real thing - and probably won't be doing so now, either, since this genuine, unrestored, low-owner example is likely to top €20,000.

Kawasaki's legendary Mach III

Another ’70s classic that’s making me all nostalgic is a mint-condition example of Kawasaki’s legendary Mach III, 500cc, two-stroke triple. I once bought one from a man who lived on the fifth floor of a tower block and kept it in his sitting room. We did a deal at the time-honoured rate of ‘one pound per cc’, and then had to remove the entire front end in order to get it into the tiny elevator.

Back on the ground floor, I bolted it back together, fired it up and enjoyed a crazy, smoky, 200-mile ride home without a hitch, revelling in the discovery that the Mach III’s acceleration was every bit as aggressive as legend suggested. The one on offer at Bonhams is tipped to fetch €14,000.

BMWs and Benellis

A little less should buy an original and low-mileage example of BMW’s first, true, road-going sports bike in the form of a 1977 R90S, complete with period ‘smoked orange’ paint scheme, while a 1972 Benelli 750 Sei – the six-pot superbike that preceded Honda’s CBX by several years – could realise up to €38,000.

The high estimate is accounted for by the fact that this is one of three prototypes created before the then-radical machine entered production in 1974. It is also the actual bike that was displayed at the Guggenheim Museum’s celebrated ‘Art of the Motorcycle’ exhibition between 1999 and 2002.

A horde of Huskies

The sale also offers an impressive selection of small-capacity MV Agusta sports bikes and racers from the ’50s and ’70s, together with a Husqvarna scrambler raced by the renowned Swedish rider Bengt Aberg at Saddleback Park, California, during the 1970s Inter-Am series. It’s estimated at €15,000 - 18,000.

Vincent

Vincent fans, meanwhile, can choose from a well-restored and ready-to-ride series C Black Shadow at €50,000 - 70,000 and another, more patinated example at €80,000 - 95,000. 

See them all at Le Grand Palais, Paris, on Wednesday, 4 February from 9am - 5:30pm, prior to the sale the following day at 12:30.

Photos: Bonhams

All lots from Bonhams' Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais sale can be found in the Classic Driver Market.