The British rare car and motorcycle auction season kicks off this week with H&H Classic Auctions' Imperial War Museum sale where several key lots are expected to provide a litmus test for the elite classic motorcycle market. Some choice vehicles on sale include a 1959 Daimler Ferret armored reconnaissance vehicle (US$15,000–19,000), a matching numbers 1952 Vincent Black Shadow (£55,000–60,000, $80,000–88,000), a rare Linto 500 GP racer (£90,000–110,000, $130,000–160,000), a Ducati 750 Sport with NCR 750SS Desmo heads (£24,000–26,000, $35,000–38,000) plus a plethora of vintage racing bikes.
It seems the world auction record for a motorcycle is expected to fall later this year when a 1954 AJS E95 Porcupine grand prix racer will go under the hammer. The only thing I can’t work out is “why all the fuss?” The 1949 E90 AJS Porcupine narrowly won the inaugural World 500cc championship, but by 1954 the design was obsolete and the subsequent unreliable E95 never won a race at world championship level in three seasons of trying. That’s not stopping Bonhams from talking it up (its claim that the bike is “arguably the most beautiful, graceful and innovative racing motorcycle ever built” is just plain ridiculous) and it is expecting a sale price in excess of US$750,000 which would put it on top of the list of the most expensive motorcycles sold at auction
The convergence of the car and the motorcycle we forecast last year
looks set to continue with the first public showing today at EICMA 2010 in Milan of a range of three and four wheeled scooters by Italian start-up Quadro. The start-up is particularly exciting because the company is to be run by Luciano Marabese, the man who designed both the Piaggio MP3 three-wheeled scooter and the Yamaha Tesseract four-wheeled motorcycle shown in 2007. The new machines will use an hydraulic tilting system patented by Marabese. In 2011 we’ll see the 350cc three-wheeled Quadro and later in the year, a 500cc four-wheeler. The four-wheeled motorcycle will evolve into a full family of supersports, hybrid, electric and off-road models, offering better braking, faster cornering and more safety and stability than a motorcycle.
Estonia is not a country known for motorcycles, but the reemergence of a pre-WW2 motorcycle brandname could change all that. Tallinn-based Renard Motorcycles will begin production of its GT next year. The bike's carbon-fiber and Kevlar monocoque chassis weighs just 11 kg and incorporates the airbox and fuel tank while the metal components other than the Moto Guzzi 1200cc Quattrovalvole v-twin engine are all CNC milled from a solid aircraft quality aluminium. The carbon parallelogram front suspension and design are reminiscent of a Confederate Wraith, as is the limited edition, stellar price (EUR75,000), craftsmanship and beauty.