Unseasonal weather no obstacle to Bonhams storming success

Sales of one-owner collections never fail to excite the serious motorcycle collector, and that of the Peter McManus Collection proved no exception. Bonhams’ sale was held in the historic setting of the vendor’s Derbyshire farm, where the fine Victorian architecture attracted almost as much attention as the Vintage and Classic-era machines on display.

Pre-sale interest had been running at an unprecedented level, with enquiries approaching Stafford numbers, and hundreds of eager enthusiasts braved the often inclement weather on viewing and sale days. Comprised almost entirely of ‘barn find’ restoration projects and sold entirely without reserve, the Collection of 170-plus machines realised £162,000 including premium. A limited selection of private entries was offered in addition to the McManus Collection, contributing a further £58,000 to the sale total of £220,000.

The Collection’s best result was achieved by the restored 1938 Nimbus 750cc Four with Bender sidecar, which sold for a premium-inclusive £6,670 against a top estimate of £4,000, followed closely by the 1926 BSA 986cc Model F V-Twin, which realised £6,325 against an identical estimate.

Star performer among the Collection’s Vintage-era machines was the 1928 Omega 350cc which fetched £3,680, while other notable ‘flat tankers’ included the 1922 Campion-JAP 488cc, which sold for £2,990 and the 1923 Dot-Bradshaw 350cc racing motorcycle which found a new home for £2,760.

Noteworthy results among the post-Vintage classics included the stylish circa 1952 Triumph 499cc Trophy, which made £4,600, the 1938 Triumph 350cc 3H which sold for £3,565 and the circa 1968 Royal Enfield 250cc Continental GT which went for £2,415.

Japanese machines form an increasingly important sector of the collectible motorcycles market with early examples particularly sought after, and this trend was emphatically demonstrated by the performance of the Collection’s 1969 Yamaha 97cc YL1 – a low-mileage, totally original example – which sold for £3,450, believed to be a World Record for this model.

Scooters, many of them great rarities, were very well represented within the Collection, the most keenly fought over being the 1963 Lambretta TV175 Series 3, which sold for £2,415 against a top estimate of £900, while the circa 1956 Maico Mobil, one of the largest scooters ever made, was snapped up by a German collector for £2,185.

Among the private entries, the 1955 Vincent 998cc Rapide Series D was the top achiever, selling for £23,000, while the 1912 Royal Enfield 6hp v-twin offered in ‘barn find’ condition fetched £8,050, demonstrating the continuing healthy demand for ‘Pioneer’ restoration projects.

The 225 lots of spares on offer, many of them ‘new old stock’, attracted fierce competition among bidders, some of whom brought transport of removal van dimensions to carry away their purchases.

Other highlights of the sale included:

1930 Matchless 245cc Model R/4 – sold for £2,530
circa 1957 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin – sold for £2,760
1934 BSA 249cc B34-2 – sold for £2,875
1957 Douglas Dragonfly – sold for £3,105
1949 Douglas MkIII Sports – sold for £3,105
1957 BMW Isetta – sold for £4,140
1965 Triumph 650cc T120 Bonneville – sold for £3,565
1923 ABC 348cc – sold for £4,600
1937 Rudge Ulster 499cc Racing Motorcycle – sold for £4,945
Head of Bonhams’ Motorcycle Department, Ben Walker, commented: ‘We are delighted to have secured such an outstanding result for the McManus family. The success of this sale confirms the continuing strength of the market, as well as demonstrating the value of effective pre-sale marketing. It also reaffirms Bonhams’ market leadership in the sale of collectible motorcycles, whether they be offered as entire collections or individual machines.