For more than 40 years, Giancarlo Morbidelli – a former Grand Prix motorcycle team owner and founder of Morbidelli motorcycles – collected motorcycles.
The bikes – racing and road – were mostly Italian, with a focus on Ducati and Benelli.
The motorcycles were stored at the Morbidelli factory in Pesaro, which eventually transformed into the Morbidelli Motorcycle Museum.
And now, 200 post-World War II road and racing motorcycles from that collection are headed to the block at Bonham’s Spring Stafford sale, which is slated for April 25-26
at the Staffordshire County Showground in Stafford, England.
Bonhams says the collection represents “the passion of the farmer’s son and former woodworking machinist who, while building up a successful engineering firm as his day job, spent his spare time tuning, racing and later building his own motorcycles.”
As Gianni Morbidelli, Giancarlo’s son and motor racing driver, said of his father: “He was a genius with bikes. He did everything by himself, working in a very small room.”
Included in the auction are various Ducatis, Benellis, Mondials and Harley-Davidsons.
Ben Walker, International Department Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles, said “We are very proud to have been entrusted with the sale of this stunning collection, carefully put together over 40 years by Giancarlo Morbidelli, which is a fitting tribute to this master of the motorcycling world.
“Giancarlo’s passion for machines is evident in his Grand Prix involvement. His restorations were exceptional, he was a stickler for detail, and a man of invention. This is very clear when looking at the collection.
“With the majority of this collection being offered at ‘No reserve’, this will be a unique opportunity for motorcycle collectors and enthusiasts from across the globe to bid for some truly special lots and indeed, a piece of history.
“We expect international interest from collectors and enthusiasts who will give the motorcycles a new lease of life in other collections and homes around the world.”
The following will highlight the sale.
1964 Ducati 125cc 4-cylinder Grand Prix Bike (estimate £400,000 – 600,000)
This “mythical” racing machine was created by the firm’s chief engineer, Fabio Taglioni. This motorcycle disappeared for a few years before its engine was found in Russia and its chassis reappeared in Yugoslavia, now Croatia. With the two essential components reunited, Giancarlo rebuilt the fabled motorcycle.
Ex-Ambrosini 1950 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix bike (estimate £120,000 – 180,000)
This world championship motorcycle was piloted to victory by Dario Ambrosini.
Ex-Provini 1964 Benelli 250 Grand Prix racing motorcycle, estimate £80,000 – 120,000
This classic was ridden and signed by two-time world champion Tarquino Provini.
1959 Mondial Paton 250 Gran Premio, estimate £30,000 – 40,000.
This rare Mondial was built by Giuseppe Pattoni, who produced a series of “over the counter” machines with Mondial engines before setting up his own eponymous manufacturer.
Other notable Italian machines to be offered include:
- 1959 Benelli 250 Bialbero GP Mono, estimate £60,000 – 100,000. Apparently used by Silvio Grasseti, this machine was bought from John Surtees, seven-times motorcycling world champion, in the 1980s, then restored by Giancarlo.
- 1954 Mondial 175 Bialbero GP, estimate £40,000 – 60,000. Believed to be a factory machine as used in the Italian Seniores Championship in 1955 and 1956 by the likes of Provini.
Other brands will also be auctioned off, including Harley Davidson, Honda and Matchless.
The collections include bikes in conditions from immaculate restorations to prototypes to barn finds to unfinished projects.
Motorcycling memorabilia also features, including Giancarlo’s own reference library, drawings, trophies, signage, and other artifacts.
Bonhams reports that he Morbidelli family will retain ownership of the majority of the Morbidelli Grand Prix motorcycles, including the world championship-winning “giant killer” 125cc and 250cc examples, raced respectively by Paoli Pileri, Pierpaolo Bianchi and Lego Mario, which saw off competition from international corporations.
For additional information, visit Bonhams.