most expensive motorcycles
1907 Harley Davidson Strap Tank Single
. US$$715,000 Mecum MidAmerica placed the highest price estimate of all the bikes in the Cole Collection on this Harley Davidson Strap Tank Single, expecting it would fetch estimated $800,000 to $1,000,000. The strap tank single is the popular name given to Harley Davidsons first motorcycle, a 440cc single cylinder motorcycle with Nickel plated steel straps attaching the oil and main fuel tank to the frame. These bikes are the most sought after of
1910 Winchester 6 HP
. Previously published information on this sale would appear to be incorrect. The bike did NOT sell at auction for the reported $580,000, and has been removed from our listing. One of only two examples of 200 motorcycles built by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company (the gun that won the west) still known to exist, it was belatedly discovered that a 1910 Winchester motorcycle had sold by Worldwide Auctions for US$580,000 on August 31, 2013. The bi
1929 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports
. US$492,973 (sold for GBP
1939 BMW RS255 Kompressor
. US$480,000 Formerly owned by BMW works rider Walter Zeller, this machine was a private project built using many parts sourced directly from the BMW factory using Zellers influence. Though not an original works machine, this recreation of a BMW RS255 Kompressor used a genuine 1939 BMW RS255 Kompressor engine, a 1951 Rennsport plunger frame, plus numerous modifications (twin leading shoe front brake, re creation forks) which make it an authentic re
1922 Brough Superior SS80
. US$463,847 (sold for
1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports
. US$452,234 (sold for
1958 Ariel 650 Cyclone
. US$450,000 This bike is the limited edition 1958 Ariel Cyclone 650 which 1950s musical sensation Buddy Holly bought from Ray Millers Triumph and Ariel dealership in Dallas, Texas on May 13, 1958. The Crickets had just played a gig in Dallas and the three young and newly successful musicians (Holly, Joe Maudlin, and Jerry Allison) decided on a whim to cancel their flights and buy motorcycles for the 350 mile trip home. Bass player Joe Maudlin boug
1939 Brough Superior SS100
. US$425,943 (sold for
1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle
. Weve listed this motorcycle without a ranking because it didnt sell at auction, but would undoubtedly be a top 10 motorcycle if it had reached its reserve
1939 Vincent HRD Series A Rapide
. We correctly predicted inour preview of Bonhams 2015 Stafford auctionthat this 1939 Vincent HRD Series A Rapide was world record material, because pre war Vincent HRD Rapides embody the joint properties of being very advanced technologically for the era, and made in very limited quantities. Opinions vary on how many were made but most agree the final tally was in the high seventies, being just a handful more than the equally sought after Crocker
1934 Brough Superior SS100
. US$394,101 (sold for
1942 Crocker Big Tank
. This 1942 Crocker V Twin was estimated to fetch between $300,000 to $350,000 at the EJ Cole Collection auction in March, 2015. It went above estimate for a total price of $385,000, setting a new record for the marque.
1949 Vincent Black Lightning Supercharged
. US$383,317 (sold for
1932 Brough Superior BS4 3 Wheel Austin engine
. US$375,913 (sold for
1948 Vincent HRD Black Lightning
. US$375,303 (sold for
1957 MV Agusta 500cc Grand Prix Racer
. Auctioneers Estimate:
2010 Ducati GP10 Desmosedici
. EUR 251,500 (US$325,430) In an extraordinary move in 2012, Ducati auctioned two of its Desmosedici MotoGP bikes, with this machine, Casey Stoners 800cc Ducati Desmosedici GP10 CS1 fetching the higher price of the two at auction.
1927 Zenith JAP 8/45hp
. US$319,653 (sold for
2011 Ducati GP11 VR2 Desmosedici
. US$317,862 (sold for EUR245,700) One of two Ducati Desmosedici MotoGP machinesauctioned by Ducati in 2012, this bike was campaigned by the worlds most popular motorcycle racer, Valentino Rossi.
1939 Crocker Big Tank twin
. US$302,500 One of the rarest of all American motorcycles, roughly one hundredCrocker V twinswere produced between 1936 and 1942 when the war effort saw the company turn its attention to making aircraft parts. Conceived as performance cruisers, they significantly outperformed the Harley Davidsons and Indians of the day, and they are now among the most desirable collector machines in the world. A modern dayCrocker Motorcycle Companynow makes parts
1940 Crocker Big Tank twin
. US$302,000 An almost identical bike to the 1939 Big Tank above.
1937 Crocker Small Tank twin
. US$302, 000 In 1936 the first Crocker Twin motorcycle was released to resounding success and much to Albert Crockers astonishment and joy, he found himself with more orders than his small factory could produce. Such was Crockers confidence in the power and speed of his bikes, that he offered a full refund to any Crocker owner who was beaten by a stock Harley Davidson or Indian. No bike was ever returned for refund.
1915 Iver Johnson twin
. US$299,600 One of the most advanced motorcycles of its day, the Iver Johnson motorcycle was the product of a company which primarily produced guns, and the advent of WWI saw the company focus its attention on firearm production resulting in the closure of the motorcycle business. This particular motorcycle was quite remarkably sold in 2012, 97 years after its manufacture, in new, original, and un started condition. It was previously on display at
1940 Brough Superior SS100
. US$295,000 This machine is the last Brough Superior SS100 to leave the Nottingham factory, making it the last specimen of the species (at least in its original form
1911 Harley Davidson 7D Twin
. US$283,400 The 1911 7D twin was the first Harley v twin with mechanically operated intake valves. Harley history records previous v twins created for racing and promotional purposes, but none are recorded as having been sold, and those that did apparently exist had automatic intake valves that opened by engine vacuum and closed under compression and were close to unrideable. Hence the 7D is the first commercial version of the V twin engine now sy
1937 Crocker Hemi Head
. US$276,500 One of only five Hemi Head Crocker V twins manufactured early in 1937, this 1937 Crocker Small tank was restored by Johnny Eagles and on its debut exhibition, took Judges Choice and Best of Show awards at the Del Mar Concours.
1929 Scott Flying Squirrel 600cc
. US$276,000 British inventor Alfred Angas Scott did more for the two stroke motorcycle than any other single individual. His water cooled, two stroke twin cylinder bikes were the first two strokes to be competitive in motorcycle racing, gained the outright Isle of Man lap record in 1911, and in the years leading up to WWI were the fastest on the racetrack.
1938 Brough Superior SS100
. The bike was sold for GBP
1928 Coventry Eagle Flying 8
. US$265,500 One of only a relative handful of overhead valve Flying 8s known to survive worldwide, the model represented Brough Superiors most credible rival in terms of quality, performance and price. The Flying 8 was powered by a 980cc JAP v twin engine and built a fine sporting reputation thanks to its racing achievements, with its name derived from the engines RAC rating of 8 horsepower.
1954 AJS Porcupine
. US$259,551 (sold for GBP
1928 Indian Altoona
. US$247,500 The Altoona Speedway was a 1.25 mile (2 km) board track located in central Pennsylvania which was the home of the American Board Track Championship races during the 1920s. Winning Altoona was so important that a winning machine might adopt the track name as its own, as was the case with many other bikes and cars which won at other famous venues such Daytona, Bonneville, TT and IOM, Le Mans ad infinitum. On July 9, 1926, Curley Frederic
1941 Crocker Big Tank
. US$230,000 January 2007Las Vegas, U.S.
1925 BMW R37
. US$235,400 The R37 is the bike which established BMWs racing heritage in its first year on the racing scene, and it is also one of rarest of the breed. When released in 1925, it was the first motorcycle anywhere to be powered by an engine with aluminium cylinder heads. The light alloy heads and overhead valves helped double the horsepower of BMWs existing twin of the same capacity and it took the BMW to the front of the pack in European racing. B
1912 Henderson Four
. Thisultra rare first year 1912 Henderson 4is believed to be one of six surviving machines. An older restoration, the bike was purchased from Cape Town, South Africa in 1983 and thirty years later, it became one of the 50 most valuable motorcycles ever sold when it fetched $236,500.
1954 BMW RS54
. US$224,078 One of only twenty four production racers manufactured by BMW, originally raced with success by the German rider Alois Huber, and later by Ernst Hiller and Lothar John. When new it was equipped with the 66 x 72 mm long stroke engine producing 48 bhp, however this was replaced during the 1960s by the later, more powerful factory short stroke engine with the 70 x 64 mm bore and stroke.
1909 Curtiss twin
. US$214,000 Not the first Curtiss motorcycle to enter the top 100 most expensive motorcycles and certainly not the last, this 1909 Curtiss twin was aone family since new barn findcreated by one of the most significant American inventors, aviators, engineers and entrepreneurs in history.
1917 Henderson 4
. The Henderson Four was the first production motorcycle capable of 100 mph (161 km/h) and many celebrity owners ensued, amongst them Henry Ford (who bought a 1917 model just like this one) and aviator Charles Lindberg. The most important celebrity owner for motorcycle enthusiasts is of course, Steve McQueen andthis bike (Lot S95 at the EJ Cole Collection auction)was formerly owned by McQueen and purchased at the Steve McQueen estate auction in Las
1911 Flying Merkel
. US$201,250 This time warp 1911 Flying Merkel Twin was sold untouched from now exactly 100 years after it began service as part of the Lee Roy Hartung Collection in 2011. Testimony to the old adage they dont make them like they used to, the big v twins original paint and lettering had hardly faded, and it is believed to be one of the most original examples in existence.
1928 Windhoff 746cc Four
. US$199,292 (Sold for GBP
1924 Montgomery Anzani 8/38hp
. US$194,739 (sold for
1962 Honda CR72 Production Racer
. We considered putting this bike into the listing as it sold for $180,000 plus buyers commission at Las Vegas in 2009, but after a chat with Ron Christensen of Mecum MidAmerica, we found that the bike was passed in at a high bid of $150,000 and the sale was negotiated after the auction.
1973 Harley Davidson 750cc XRTT
. US$187,500 Mid America, which auctioned this bike, is now part of Mecum, and the on line links to the Mid America auction pages no longer work, but fortunately, this bike was auctioned twice. The first time it was auctioned was in March, 2006 byJ. Wood & Company, where the bike fetched US$176,000 at an auction during Daytona Speed Week. It has hence been auctioned twice within the top 100 motorcycle prices of all time and theres a good reason for
1907 Indian Tri car
. One of the true classics in the Cole collection, this 1907 Indian Tri Car With Sedan Chair is for all intents, a chauffeured armchair. It was made in the period where personal transportation was still finding its way, and is possibly the only tri car in the world from this period that retains its original chair and upholstery. Estimated to sell between $155,000 and $175,000, it fetched $181,500
1930 Harley Davidson Factory Hillclimber
. One of Harley Davidsons most successful and important racing machines, the DAH hillclimber is among the very few pre Knucklehead OHV models produced, winning three national hillclimb titles. Only 25 of these specialised racers were produced between 1929 33, and this machine has a documented competition history ridden by Windy Lindstrom, and it was also used by sculptor Jeff Decker as a model for his famous statue The Hillclimber, which sits outsi
1936 Harley Davidson EL
. US$165,000 While the Knucklehead is recognized today as an iconic motorcycle, Harley was not confident of introducing such a radical machine and the EL wasnt listed in the 1936 catalog or advertising. Indeed, the first production year saw significant changes and improvements to the EL, which vexes restorers to this day.
1934 Indian Sport Scout
. This 1934 Indian Sport Scout sold for US$177,500 at aBonhams sale of Steve McQueen Sale of Collectors Motorcycles & Memorabiliain San Francisco in 2006. Another motorcycle in the top 100 with Steve McQueen as part of its provenance, Indian was McQueens favourite marque.
1955 Vincent Victor Series D prototype
. US$176,801 (sold for GBP
1978 Ducati 900 NCR
. US$175,500 Located close to the Ducati factory in the Borgo Panigale district of Bologna, ItalysNCRwas Ducatis original, albeit external, racing department and the machine above is one of the small batch of 25 machines created by NCR for homologation purposes for the Formula 1 class of the 1978 Formula TT World Championships
1954 BMW Rennsport RS54 Sidecar
. US$167,800 This 1954 BMW Rennsport RS54 Sidecar is identical to the machine which won the 1954 World Sidecar Championship with subsequent evolutions of the machine dominating the title for the next six years.
1948 Indian 648 Big Base
. US$165,000 One of only seven factory Big Base Daytona Scouts believed to exist and identical to the bike on which Floyd Emde won the 1948 Daytona 200 at a then record speed of 84.01 miles per hour. The Big Base took its name from its enlarged oil capacity, thanks to a large sump cast in the rear.
1901 Indian F Head Single
. US$165,000 The first Indian prototype was completed on May 24, 1901 and shipped to Springfield to be demonstrated to investors on the famous Cross Street hill. Following a successful fund raising, the first machine was dismantled for evaluation and many of its parts used in the creation of two subsequent prototypes. One machine toured velodrome exhibitions throughout the northeast of the United States, while the third prototype, this machine, was
1915 Militaire Four
. This 1915 Militaire Model 2 is a fascinating and unconventional four cylinder motorcycle with an equally fascinating history as it was developed through several manufacturers. Estimated to fetch between $130,000 and $150,000,it sold for $165,000. Interestingly, the bike resold on the day of the auction for $65,000 more.
1966 URS 498cc Racing Sidecar
. US$164,228 (sold for
1924 BMW 493cc R32
. US$163,438 (sold for EUR109,250) Designed by Chief Engineer Max Friz and launched in 1923, the R32 was the first motorcycle to be sold as a BMW and featured a 493cc, twin cylinder, sidevalve, horizontally opposed twin, a configuration that would forever be associated with the marque.
1926 Coventry Eagle Flying 8
. $162,140 (sold for
1909 Pierce Four
. US$161,000 Americas first four cylinder motorcycle, the Pierce was manufactured by the Pierce Arrow Motor Car Company at its factory in Buffalo, New York. Although inspired by the Belgian FN four, one of which Percy Pierce had brought to the USA in 1908, the Pierce differed in detail design, its engine eschewing the FNs atmospheric inlet valves in favor of mechanical side valves in T head configuration, a arrangement FN themselves would later use
1894/1895 Hildebrand & Wolfm
. US$161,000 Manufactured in Germany, the Hildebrand & Wolfm
1934 Crocker Speedway Bike
. The precursor to the famous Crocker v twin, Albert Crocker built just 31 speedway bikes before turning his hand to the bikes which made him a global name. This is one of them, and not surprisingly, they dont appear at auction very often. MidAmerica sold the last one to appear at auction in Las Vegas in 2011 for $151,200.This 1934 Crocker Speedway Racer (Lot S73)was estimated to fetch between $150,000 and $180,000 and sold for $159,500.
1940 Harley Davidson EL
. US$159,000 As American motorcycle milestones go, it doesnt get much better than a Harley Davidson Knucklehead. Introduced in 1936, the 61 cubic inch (1000cc) V twin with overhead valves and a recirculating oiling system was technologically advanced for its time.
1924 Brough Superior SS80
. US$158,971 (sold for
1931 Indian 402
. US$153,959 (sold for GBP90,000) Indian is best known for its V twins, but in 1927 it purchased Bill Hendersons Ace Motor Company and began producing four cylinder machines based on the Ace. The Henderson bothers had previously produced Henderson motorcycles, then sold out to Excelsior, which was eventually closed down too. In July 1928, Indian introduced the 401 series, before upgrading it to the 402 series in 1929. This bike is a late 402 made i
1974 Ducati 750 SS
. US$152,885 (sold for EUR114,371) The sportiest version of the original 750 Ducati, produced to celebrate the Ducati 1 2 victory of Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari in the 1972 Imola 200 Mile race. Ducati produced just 401 examples of the green framed 72 hp Desmo 750 SS. There are currently two in the top 100 and no doubt there will be more.
1929 Brough Superior Overhead 680
. US$150,155 (sold for
1920 Indian Powerplus Daytona Racer
. Indian was Steve McQueens favourite brand, and this 1920 Indian Powerplus Daytona Racer was one of his favourites. The old adage of win on Sunday, sell on Monday was never more prevalent than in the first decades of the 20th Century, and the competition was a major factor that greatly accelerated technological development. In Indians case, the need to stay ahead of rivals Excelsior and Harley Davidson prompted the introduction of an eight valve v
1969 Honda CB750 Prototype
. The highest priced Japanese bike on the list, this1969 Honda CB750 Prototypesold for US$148,100 on eBay in February, 2014. Its also the highest priced bike sold at an internet only auction.
1915 Indian 8 valve Racer
. US$147,125August, 2010Pebble Beach, U.S.
1946 Indian Chief
. US$143,750 In the bookMcQueens Machines: The Cars and Bikes of a Hollywood IconbyMatt Stone, McQueen biographer William Nolan conveys that in the fall of 1951, McQueen had saved enough money to buy a battered cycle with a sidecar (removed at an unstated time), which he proudly tooled around the (Greenwich) Village. It was my first bike and I loved it, admitted Steve. But I was going with a girl who began to hate the cycle
1972 MV Agusta 750S
. US$143,661 (sold for
F B Mondial 250 Bialbero 250cc Grand Prix Racer
. US$143,000 The winning bike in the1957 World 250cc Motorcycle Championship, this F.B. Mondial 250 Bialbero GP bike is one of three bikes produced the three DOHC single cylinder machines finished in the first three places of the championship withCecil Sandford,Tarquinio ProviniandSammy Milleraboard, before Mondial withdrew from Grand Prix Racing at the end of the year.
1928 Excelsior Big Bertha
. US$143,000 March, 2015Las Vegas, U.S.
1995 Ferrari 900cc
. US$139,066 (sold for
1957 Gilera 500cc GP Racer Re creation
. US$138,667 (sold for GBP
1973 Ducati 750SS
. US$137,000 When Paul Smart and Bruno Spaggiari scored their famous 1 2 victory at the Imola 200 in 1972, Ducatis V twin dynasty began. Just over 400 of the resulting 750SS Green Frame street versions were produced in 1973 74, though how many have survived the ensuing 40 years is unclear. It didnt take long for attrition to thin the numbers as racers utilized the lusty horsepower delivered by the unique desmodromic valvetrain and massive 40mm carb
1959 Benelli 248cc GP Racer
. This bike firstsold at auction in 2006 for GBP
1938 Harley Davidson WLD Sport
. Another bike formerly owned by the late Steve McQueen. Beyond that, the1938 Harley Davidson WLD Sportwas presented at auction in entirely original condition, with the original factory paint, McQueens personal tools found wrapped in a piece of denim in the frame mounted tool box, original bill of sale from the McQueen estate sale, odometer statement from estate sale, original auction catalog from estate sale (lot 535 at the 1984 McQueen estate sal
1955 Vincent Black Prince
. One of 120 made, the legendary Black Prince was launched to great fanfare at the 1954 Earls Court Show. Philip Vincent described the fully enclosed motorcycle as a two wheeled Bentley. This bike was made in the final year of Vincent motorcycles, and wassold for $135,000 at Mecum MidAmericas Las Vegas auction in January, 2014.
1952 Vincent Black Shadow
. Sold new into the United States, this pristine1952 Vincent Black Shadowwas sold with a complete history for $134,800 at a Bonhams Las Vegas sale in January, 2013.
1963 Moto Morini 250cc Bialbero Grand Prix
. $134,594 Perhaps the pinnacle of single cylinder four stroke development prior to the modern era, the Moto Morini 250 single of 1963 was a throwback to a different era, competing against the four cylinder four stroke machinery of Benelli and Honda and the two stroke twins of Yamaha and MZ with Tarquinio Provini winning four of the ten races in the world championship (he only contested eight), ultimately failing to win the title by two points.
1949 Vincent Rapide w Blacknell Bullet Sidecar
. $126,500 This 1949 Touring Rapide with fully matching numbers is a good example of the work performed by Harris Vincent Gallery, restored both mechanically and cosmetically at the shop from boxes of disassembled parts. During the rebuild it was teamed with one of the deluxe Blacknell Bullet sport sidecars which Vincent installed on some bikes
1920 Ace Four
. When the Henderson brothers sold the Henderson motorcycle to Ignatz Schwinn in 1917, both brothers quickly moved onwards, with Thomas traveling to Europe, and Bill deciding to build a new and better four cylinder motorcycle. That bike became the Ace. The Ace 4 retained an F head cylinder, and increased in displacement of 75 cu in. (1220cc), with splash lubrication and a three speed gearbox for an output of 20 hp. This 1920 Ace 4 is an older resto
1923 Indian Big Chief with sidecar
. Thisfully restored first year 1923 Indian Big Chiefwas formerly the property of movie star and passionate motorcyclist Steve McQueen, and was restored by Kenny Howard, aka Von Dutch. It sold for $126,000 at Bonhams Las Vegas sale in January, 2014.
1957 Ducati GP125
. $125,404 (Sold for GBP
1945 NSU Kettenkrad
. $123,483 (Sold for GBP
1967 Seeley URS 500cc Racer
. This is the prototype 1967 Seeley URS 500cc factory racer, raced by John Blanchard and Tony Jefferies, built by Colin Seeley Racing Developments in collaboration with German sidecar racer and engine builder, Helmut Fath. Itsold for GBP
1972 Ducati 750SS Imola
. $121,250 With Bruno Spaggiari aboard, this bike finished second in the 1972 Imola 200 mile race on April 23, 1972, the event which launched Ducati onto the world stage. The bike crossed the line just behind the identical machine of Paul Smart, giving Ducati a 1 2 finish and beating Giacomo Agostinis MV Agusta, plus the best that Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph, BSA, Laverda and Moto Guzzi could offer.
1928 McEvoy JAP 8/45hp
. A regrettably short lived marque, McEvoy produced machines from 1925 to 1929, its most famous creations being the fearsome Anzani and JAP powered v twin racers which achieved numerous successes at Brooklands in both solo and sidecar trim, helping to establish an enviable reputation for the fledgling concern.
1955 NSU Sportmax
. $116,634 (sold for GBP
1939 Indian Four
. An older restoration magneto model 1939 Indian Four with matching numbers, this bike sold as part of the EJ Cole Collection in March, 2015,fetching $115,500.
1929 Grindlay Peerless 498cc Brooklands Hundred Model
. When C W G Bill Lacey became the first man to cover 100 miles in an hour on British soil in August 1928, riding a Grindlay Peerless, the Coventry factory produced a replica of his machine the Brooklands Hundred Model. Only a few were produced and only two survive: the one first owned by Brooklands and Manx Grand Prix competitor J D Potts (sold by Bonhams at Stafford in April 2001 for GBP
1998 Benelli 350cc Beale Replica
. This exacting copy of a 16 valve, seven speed1969 Benelli Four Grand Prix racerbuilt by George Beale sold for GBP