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Beaulieu Bonhams: Pre-War British Motorcycles

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2011 Bonhams Motorcycle Auction

Three distinct British motorcycles from pre-war days headline the entry for Bonhams sale at the National Motor Museum’s Beaulieu Autojumble held on the 10th September.

The oldest motorcycle, estimated at £22,000 – 28,000, is a 498cc NUT v-twin, which is believed to be one of only five produced in 1919 for that year’s Isle of Man TT. The other two motorcycles, a 499cc Rudge Special and 982cc Brough Superior SS80, date from the late 1930s.

Estimated to sell for £6,000 – 8,000, the 1937 499cc Rudge Special was bought in 1955 by one of the members of the despatch riders display team that was formed by the City of London Signals (a Territorial Army unit). The team was formed in 1935 and members rode their own machines, before Rudge became sponsors of the team.

In the 1980s the original team reformed and together with its owner, the 499cc Rudge Special offered by Bonhams took part in the 1987 Royal Tournament. In 1989 the surviving members appeared on the BBC television programme ‘Record Breakers’ as the world’s oldest despatch riders display team. The team is also recorded in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’. When the team performed at the BMF Rally in 1994, the members’ average age was 78.

Further highlights include an un-restored 1937 Brough Superior SS80, which retains matching frame and engine numbers. It has been in the current ownership for 38 years, covering 40,000 miles by the vendor estimated at £32,000 – 38,000.

A 1950 Vincent 998cc Series C Black Shadow, a motorcycle synonymous with design innovation, engineering excellence and high performance is estimated to sell for £30,000 – 35,000.

bonhams.com/motorcycles

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