One of the most coveted classic Ducatis, a rare 1974 ‘round case’ Ducati 750SS which had been kept for most of its cosseted life in private collections, found a new custodian this weekend, selling for £172,500 and topping the Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale which realised a total of £3.66 million, with 96% of all lots sold.
The success of the superbike at Stafford came in the 50th anniversary year of the late Paul Smart’s victory in the 1972 Imola 200 endurance race on its racing equivalent.
In the Ducati’s slipstream was a pre-war American speedway sensation, 1934 Crocker Speedway 500cc OHV which achieved £126,500. This hand-built dirt tracker, known as the ‘Red’ Rice Crocker after its original rider, was considered one of the most original known examples.
The Crocker was offered from the sensational Forshaw Collection of 31 Speedway motorcycles representing six decades of the sport’s glory years, put together as a ‘labour of love’ by the late enthusiast, engineer and former speedway rider Richard Forshaw.
Displayed at the prestigious Haynes Motor Museum for the past 25 years, the collection was 100% sold.
Other single-owner collections achieving ‘white glove’ sales at Stafford included the David Atkinson Collection. The selection of mainly British motorcycles gathered by the late enthusiast who was an ever-present figure at the Bonhams Stafford sales, was led by a 1938 Brough-Superior SS80 which sold above estimate for £67,850.
A 100% sale rate was also attained by the Warwick Blackwell Collection, a treasure trove of racing motorcycle projects and associated spares amassed over several decades and recently unearthed by Bonhams.
Other highlights of the Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale included:
1956 Jawa 500cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle, which raced past its top estimate of £18,000 to achieve £88,550. This machine was one of only four built in 1956, and one of the very last 500cc DOHC grand prix machines to be produced by the erstwhile Czech manufacturer.
1947 Harley-Davidson 1,2000cc EL ‘Knucklehead’, sold for £74,750, exceeding its top estimate of £45,000. A beautifully restored example of the all-American early performance motorcycle.
1929 Grindlay-Peerless 498cc Brooklands ‘Hundred Model’ (Lacey Replica), made £74,750. One of only two surviving replicas of the world-record breaker ridden by Bill Lacey, which itself earned a Brooklands Gold Star, ridden by H J ‘Boy’ Tubb.
1935 Brough-Superior, 1096cc 11-50hp, which doubled estimate to achieve £72,450. A ‘deluxe’ model of motor cycling’s golden age superbike, which was offered from more than 50 years’ one-family ownership.
The two-day Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale also offered a wealth of motorcycle spares and motorcycling memorabilia, always popular with the Stafford crowd. Of note was the Barry Sheene Collection of trophies and racing helmets offered direct from the late World Champion’s family, with several lots roaring past their estimates, including The MotorCycle Star rider trophy awarded to both Barry Sheene and Mike Hailwood, which made £4,805, against its top estimate of £800.
The results of this sale close another successful year for Bonhams Motorcycles, with a total of £6.9 million and average sell-through rate of 97% realised in 2022.