Two world auction records for a Sunbeam and Norton F1 motorcycle were set over the weekend at the successful Bonhams Motorcycles Winter Sale at Bicester Heritage, which realised more than $5 Million and had an impressive sell-through rate of 91 per cent.

Offered from the National Motorcycle Museum Collection, 1928 Sunbeam 493cc T.T. Model 90 Racing Motorcycle

A 1928 Sunbeam 493cc TT Model 90 Racing Motorcycle, which had raced at Pendine Sands, powered through its top estimate of $42,000 selling for just over $73,000, while a 21,188-mile 1990 Norton F1, the roadster inspired by the sporting partnership with John Player Special, made just over $71,000, both setting new world auction records.

MNA Cube

However, the name dominating the sale was a Brough Superior, with no fewer than five examples featuring in the sale’s top ten, led by a highly original 1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS100, bearing the earliest engine number in a production model, which sold for $489,000.

National Motorcycle Museum Collection,1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS100

All three machines were offered direct from the National Motorcycle Museum’s Reserve Collection, an exclusive selection of 52 British motorcycles – and motorcycle-related cars – presented on the first day of the two-day sale.

Kawasaki Retro Revival

A brace of 1937 Brough Superiors offered from The Connoisseur Collection – comprising blue-chip examples from the estate of a late motorcycle enthusiast – also featured in the sale. A 982cc SS80 and a 1,096cc 11-50hp both exceeded their top pre-sale estimates, selling for just over $130,000 and $126,000 respectively.

A 1937 Brough Superior SS80 brought in big money.

The Connoisseur Collection also offered an example of one of the most desirable pre-war American motorcycles, a 1924 Henderson De Luxe Four, which made £48,300, rising above its estimate, despite requiring re-commissioning.

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Another 1937 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp, a project motorcycle offered for restoration rounded out the sale on a high note, trouncing its pre-sale estimate, selling for $102,000.

1937 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 & Petrol-Tube Sidecar

More modern metal also fared well at the Bicester auction, with three MV Agusta motorcycles achieving a combined total of more than $330,000, including a 1973 500cc Grand Prix Replica Racing Motorcycle which made $146,000, comfortably within its estimate, and a 1978 832cc Monza which pipped its top estimate, selling for just over $85,000.


There was also success for the motorcycle memorabilia sale which offered two special collections from the families of two late motorcycling greats: Barry Sheene MBE and Percy Tait.

Sheene memorabilia proved popular too.

Ben Walker, International Department Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles,“We are more than pleased with the sale which has been the subject of much interest from collectors around the world and competitive bidding.


“We were also honoured to have been entrusted with the premium collection from the National Motorcycle Museum, one of the most prestigious names in the motorcycling world, and well as the collections from the families of two of motorcycling’s national treasures, Barry Sheene and Percy Tait.”

A 1978 MV Agusta 832cc Monza was also on the list of great sellers.

The Motorcycle department is already looking ahead to next year and is currently consigning collectors’ motorcycles and collections to The Spring Sale on 24 and 25 April, when Bonhams returns to the Stafford Showground for The International Classic Motorcycle Show.

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