NMM machines at Bonhams

More than 50 British motorcycles – and motorcycle-related cars –from the National Motorcycle Museum will be offered by Bonhams Motorcycle Department at the Winter Saleon the weekend of December 5/6 at Bicester Heritage.

The sale will be conducted online, though viewing will be available at Bicester.

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Highlights include some fabulous vintage ware, including two Bullnose Sunbeam Model 90s – one of which was the machine we featured in our January 2018 issue – and a 1929 Model 18 Norton, purchased from Bonhams and restored in the museum’s workshops.

Rarities from the 1930s include a pair of 600cc Ariel Square fours – the earlier being a 1935 ohc example – and a single-cylinder OEC with the firm’s own special front end. Also from the 1930s comes a Python-engined Vincent-HRD.

Vincent-HRD Python (estimate £20,000-25,000) and Velocette Mk.VIII KTT (£30,000-40,000) to the fore, of some of the machines to be offered.

Triumphs are well represented too, with an early version of both Thunderbird and Bonnevilles up for offer, plus a pair of triples.

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A particularly interesting machine, a 1951 TRW in ‘time warp’ condition is as new, having covered just 14 miles.

Triumph’s postwar machine, based on the Trophy model but with a new side-valve engine, was developed for the British forces, with many seeing service overseas.

This example was originally sent to Canada and was purchased by the museum in its original Triumph crates.

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Ex-works 250cc Excelsior Manxman dates to 1936. (£16,000-20,000)

Later Nortons include a pair of Dominators, a 1968 P11A and a 1974 John Player cafe racer, the one-year-only fully faired machine, based on the Commando. There’s also a 1990 F1.

There are a few racers in the sale too; a 1936 ex-works Excelsior Manxman among them, as well as a Velcoette 1948 Mk.VIII KTT (the engine originally supplied to Eric Oliver, though now housed in another 1948 frame, supplied to Archers of Aldershot) and a 1954 AJS 7R.

The collection also includes a quartet of cars or cycle cars produced by motorcycle manufacturers, including the believed sole surviving 1921 Douglas 10hp car, one of only six built.

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Unusual OEC, with a 600cc side-valve JAP engine. (£6000-10,000)

Formerly the property of the late Lt Col ‘Tiny’ Ayers, it is offered in a good restored condition, with an odometer reading of 3834 miles. Other cars come from Morgan, BSA and a 9hp AJS.

The National Motorcycle Museum is recognised as the largest exhibitor of British motorcycles, with 1000 machines fully-restored to their original specification, representing 170 different marques spanning 120 years of motorcycle manufacturing in the British Isles.

James Hewing, director of the National Motorcycle Museum, said: “We are pleased to be offering enthusiasts and collectors the opportunity to acquire motorcycles from our reserve collection, with those that have been restored in our own workshop having a solid silver plaque fitted to them confirming the provenance.

This TRW Triumph has just 14 miles from new showing on the clock. Estimate is £4000-6000)

“This year’s events have given us the time to assess our reserve and duplicate inventory, and we can now look forward to reopening having freed up some desperately needed storage space.”

Ben Walker, International Department Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles said: “We are delighted to have been entrusted with this premium patriotic collection from such a prestigious name in the motorcycle world.”

The National Motorcycle Museum will line up with a trio of other important one-owner collections, synonymous with Bonhams motorcycle sales, representing a diverse range of classic and vintage motorcycle marques and models.

Cammy Ariel Square Four from 1935. (£16,000-22,000)
Nicely presented Venom dates to 1961. (£8000-12,000)

The Connoisseur Collection, led by a brace of Brough Superiors, (a 1937 Brough Superior 11-50HP and 1937 Brough Superior SS80, offers numerous blue-chip examples from the estate of a late motorcycle connoisseur.

The Competition Collection of trials bikes is headlined by ex-works, ex-Ron Langston 1958 Ariel HT5, a class-leading heavyweight trials iron and a gold medal winner at the 1958 ISDT.

The final collection consigned so far comes direct from Carole Nash, a stalwart of the motorcycle community and founder of the namesake and industry leading motorcycle insurer, which includes a 1914 BSA 4¼hp Model H Motorcycle Combination), offered in barn-find condition.

Is there anything much better looking than an earlier Thunderbird? (£8000-12,000)

The Winter Sale will be a live and online auction, with an auctioneer at the rostrum, with bids accepted online, by telephone or by absentee bids.

The sale will be on view in the 50,000sq ft former RAF Bomber Station hangar at Bicester Heritage, with pre-sale viewing December 3-5, 9am to 5pm, by appointment only.

Series C Vincent Comet is a late example, being 1954. (£18,000-24,000)

Read more News and Features at www.classicmotorcyle.co.uk and in the December 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!

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