Top 10 Most Valuable Motorcycles

The London-based agency has spent endless hours working with Bonhams Auction House to deliver a report that recognizes the top 30 most treasured motorcycles in the world.

Included in that group are the top 10 most valuable motorcycles in 2018, and the top 10 bikes with the largest appreciation value.

When the research was complete, a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning took honors as the world’s most expensive motorcycle.

Top 10 Most Valuable Motorcycles: 1951 Vincent Black Lightning Tops List
1951 Vincent Black Lightning

During the Las Vegas Bonhams motorcycle sale on January 25, this Black Lightning set an auction record for the highest price ever paid for a single motorcycle. The price? In unrestored condition, $929,000.

Verve says the historically significant 1951 Black Lightning race bike is one of only 30 similar models built by Vincent in Stevenage, England. After leaving the factory, the special-order Vincent was exported to Australia. While there, and under the ownership of racer Jack Ehret, the bike set Australia’s land speed record.

This Black Lightning was nearly double the price of the runner up, a 1932 Brough Superior BS4 Project. Following is the list of the top 10 by value and appreciation, and some information about the top 30 most treasured motorcycles.

Top 10 Most Valuable Motorcycles (2018):

  1. 1951 Vincent Black Lightning – $929,000
  2. The ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project – $458,197
  3. 1929 Brough Superior 968cc SS100 – $434,866
  4. Rare ‘one-of-one’ Black Shadow variant in Chinese Red – 1951 Vincent White Shadow – $421,351
  5. 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-A Rapide – $380,888
  6. 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project – $373,157
  7. 1927 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – $357,695
  8. The ex-George Brough, London-Edinburgh Trial – 1939 Brough Superior 990cc SS100 – $349,964
  9. The ex-Murray Motorcycle Museum, 1934 Brough Superior 996cc SS100 – $334,502
  10. 1926 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – $326,771

Top 10 Motorcycles by Value Appreciation (inflation adjusted appreciation value, 2018):

  1. 1951 Vincent Black Lightning – 4475.23%
  2. 1929 Brough Superior 968cc SS100 – 3023.07%
  3. Rare ‘one-of-one’ Black Shadow variant in Chinese Red – 1951 Vincent White Shadow – 2789.63%
  4. The ex-George Brough, London-Edinburgh Trial – 1939 Brough Superior 990cc SS100 – 2735.30%
  5. The ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project – 2666.55%
  6. 1927 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – 2585.46%
  7. 1926 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – 2422.67%
  8. The ex-Murray Motorcycle Museum, 1934 Brough Superior 996cc SS100 – 2164.34%
  9. 1937 Matchless 1,000cc Model X – 1008.66%
  10. 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-A Rapide – 981.17%

Discussing the list of the top 30 treasured motorcycles, Ben Walker, international director for Bonhams collectors’ motorcycle department, said: “When choosing which motorcycles to feature we’ve tried to select machines from across the collecting spectrum – from the early Pioneer period with the 1908 Triumph 3½hp Combination through the post-classic 1990 Honda VFR750R Type RC30.

“These are machines that will appeal to all areas of enthusiasm – not just because of their value but also because of the nostalgia that they evoke.”

Honda RC 30 Top Treasured Motorcycle
Honda RC30

In regards to appreciation, Walker said: “It is fascinating to see how the values have increased since the machines were new. Knowing what we know now – the percentage increase in value and how difficult it is to acquire these machines – it would be great to step back in time and buy them when new….”

For more, including prices and descriptions of each bike, visit Top 30 Treasured Motorcycles.