Bonhams offering up a lineup of ‘Holy Grail’ motorcycles at their Stafford sale October 12-13

Bonhams offering up a lineup of ‘Holy Grail’ motorcycles at their Stafford sale October 12-13

1928 Brough Superior 1,134cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport

Bonhams Motorcycles

Every enthusiast and collector dreams of unearthing a hidden gem in a barn or garage, and Bonhams recent discovery is among the most thrilling: a 1928 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport (estimate £140,000-180,000). Bonhams has long been renowned for its sale of significant Brough Superior motorcycles, having achieved over £12 million in sales of this exclusive marque in the UK alone, including the legendary Broughs of Bodmin Moor which captivated the motorcycling world in 2016. This latest find, hidden away by its secretive owner, has remained untouched for decades until recently being brought to light. Once air was pumped into its tires, it effortlessly rolled out of its garage, and now awaits a new owner to cherish, enjoy and ride it as its maker intended. What sets this particular example apart is its status as a matching-numbers model of one of the most coveted motorcycles in existence, complemented by a rich and varied history.

George Brough supplied the machine to Shell Mex Ltd, the registered keeper being one Malcolm Vincent Amble, Chief Motor Engineer at Shell Marketing Ltd., likely using it as a company vehicle or for promotional purposes. In 1931, it was sold to P Platts in Manchester, possibly Percy Platt of Oldham. Notably, Clem Beckett, an Oldham-based speedway rider, trade unionist, and Communist Party member, also owned this machine (registration YV 5550). Beckett, a wall of death rider and renowned speedway champion, founded the Dirt Track Riders’ Association and later fought in the Spanish Civil War for the International Brigade, where he died giving covering fire for his comrades during the Battle of Jarama in 1937.

Another notable owner (referenced in a 1955 Motor Cycle article) was Harold L Biggs, the noted pre-war mechanic who worked on, amongst other vehicles, Sir Henry Segrave’s supercharged 2-litre Sunbeam. During Harry Muckalt’s ownership in the 1950s, he rebuilt and modified the engine, fitting KTOR cylinders and enhancing its capacity to 1,134cc. Subsequently, the motorcycle passed to BS Club members John Lemon and Peter Robinson before the late owner acquired it in 1982 for £2,400, keeping it mostly hidden until it was exhumed from its resting place earlier this year.

Now offered fresh to the market, this enigmatic Brough Superior SS100 presents a unique opportunity for discerning enthusiasts and collectors to acquire perhaps the ultimate Vintage collector’s motorcycle.

1936 Olympia Motorcycle Show, Factory display machine, 1936 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A

Bonhams Motorcycles

Another stellar entry for the auction is the 1936 Olympia Motorcycle Show factory display machine, 1936 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A. Whilst 100s of Brough Superior SS100s were built, a mere 78 Series-A Rapides were built before war broke out, making this an ultra-rare motorcycle. But not only is this one of the most collectable motorcycles extant, it is also the second example built and the oldest surviving complete example too. Exhibited on Stand 64, the machine caused a sensation – and was actually sold on the stand at Olympia, by Philip Vincent to its first owner, Pat Goffey, with the proviso that it first had to go to Kings of Oxford, to whom it was promised for promotional purposes. Following the Show, the bike was registered by Vincent on the 10th December 1936, before being sent to Kings in January 1937, going to Pat Goffey a short time later. The bike featured in a number of publicity photos during the period before World War II. 

Copyright: Mortons Archive

Bonhams Motorcycles

Following the war the Vincent passed through series of owners, all carefully recorded, before being purchased by the current owner in 1999. He undertook a painstakingly accurate restoration over an 18 year period. The task was finally completed in 2017 and that same year it was awarded ‘Best Machine of Technical Interest’ at the International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford, in April 2017. The machine has been kept in pride of place in the owner’s living room ever since. Seldom does the possibility arise of obtaining a Series-A Rapide. Even rarer still, is the opportunity to purchase one with such historical significance, having been the flagship machine for the company which produced arguably the most significant V-twins of the Twentieth Century. An oft-photographed publicity vehicle for one of the most iconic British motorcycle marques, its very existence interwoven with the fabric of the company, signalling the beginning of the Vincent mythology which still continues today. There can be few Vincent-HRDs which create so much excitement and interest among the true cognoscenti.

1913 Wilkinson TMC 830cc

Bonhams Motorcycles

Yet another stand-out machine already confirmed for Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale is the 1913 Wilkinson 830cc TMC Four. Wilkinson, renowned for its razor blades, also produced one of the world’s finest motorcycles. The ‘Touring Auto Cycle’ (TAC), launched in 1909, featured a 679cc inline four-cylinder engine, shaft drive, and leaf-sprung suspension. By 1912, it was succeeded by the ‘Touring Motor Cycle’ (TMC), boasting an 830cc water-cooled engine and bevel gear drive. Only 125-150 Wilkinsons were made in total before production ceased in 1914. This particular TMC, registered in 1914, has a rich history, including ownership by the Great War dispatch rider Roland Beckett and a meticulous restoration by Richard Mummery in the 1980s. Over the last 40 years it has participated in numerous historic motorcycle events, including the Pioneer and Banbury Runs in the UK and the Oude Klepper Glorie in Belgium. It remains in excellent condition and is accompanied by extensive and fascinating historical documentation, charting it’s ownership over the last 111 years. With so few made and only a tiny handful surviving, this magnificent Wilkinson Four represents what is almost certainly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for collectors.

The Autumn Stafford Sale
The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, UK
October 12-13, 2024


Visit to:
Motorcycle Enquiries
+44 (0) 20 8963 2817 

ABOUT BONHAMS MOTORCYCLES  – Bonhams is the auction house of choice for the sale of important collectors’ motorcycles and single-owner collections and we are renowned for achieving world record prices across the board. Our dedicated team of international specialists strive to ensure you realise the best price for your motorcycle(s) and our sales consistently achieve the highest percentage sold rates in the industry.

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