Barber Bonhams Auction 2018 Highlighted by Two Historical Motorcycles

For classic and vintage motorcycle enthusiasts in the USA, October’s Barber Vintage Festival is a must do.

Besides AHRMA motorcycle racing and the ongoing festivities where the event is hosted at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, the other highlight is the Bonhams auction, which is set for Saturday, October 6.

This year’s Barber Bonhams auction will be highlighted by two highly sought-after motorcycles:

  • 1949 Vincent Black Lightning
  • 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross ridden by Steve McQueen in “On Any Sunday”
1949 Vincent Black Lightning that heads to Bonhams Barber Auction
1949 Vincent Black Shadow

The Vincent Black Lightning, sometimes called the “Ferrari GTO of two wheels,” is regarded by many as the holy grail of motorcycles. Possessing the golden combination of rarity (only around 30 were ever built), evocative design, forward-thinking engineering and racing success, the British-made bike is simply unmatched in the collector world.

And like a GTO, these coveted machines rarely, if ever, come up for sale. Bonhams has the honor of once again representing one of these magnificent motorcycles – the 1949 example ordered new for Swiss racer and NSU factory team racer Hans Stärkle.

Astonishingly, it is the second example built, has full ownership history from new, and is the earliest most original example in existence. With a Vincent Black Lightning currently holding the world record for the most valuable motorcycle ever sold at auction – a feat realized by Bonhams in Las Vegas earlier this year when the Australian Speed Record bike sold for nearly $1-million, this rarity is sure to command global interest.

In the archives of popular culture, few motorcycles have had more wow factor than the Husqvarna model the King of Cool rode shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated and in the film On Any Sunday.

Now, the auction house most closely associated with Steve McQueen will be offering the Hollywood legend’s very own 1970 “Husky” 400 Cross ridden in the film.

1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross used in "On Any Sunday"
1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross used in “On Any Sunday”

Offered with extensive documentation, including the ownership card from the California Department of Motor Vehicles naming Solar Productions (McQueen’s production company), McQueen’s entry form for the 1970 Saddleback 500 Senior Race, and a lucky penny – an uncirculated 1960 1¢ coin (1960 being the birth year of son Chad) – that was found inside a clear plastic case tucked away in the cavity of the motorcycle between the engine and frame.

“The significance of these two motorcycles can’t be underscored enough,” says Ben Walker, Bonhams Head of Motorcycles. “One is truly a legend in every regard and the other is monumentally iconic. We’ve offered a multitude of important motorcycles at Bonhams over the years but these are real standouts.”

Bonhams’ sale will be hosted in conjunction with the famous Barber Vintage Festival on Saturday, October 6th at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. With limited availability remaining for special consignments, interested owners should contact motorcycles.us@bonhams.com.

Details about the auction can be found at Bonhams.com/Barber.