The 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller is an example of the World’s first production motorcycle. Not surprisingly, this rare piece of machinery attracted a lot of buyers from all over the world who assembled at the saleroom of Bonhams auction at The International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford on Sunday 25th April. The highest bidder took it for GBP86,200.
The Hildebrand & Wolfmüller enjoys a special place in history for being the first powered two-wheeler to enter series production and get the appellation ‘motorcycle’. Manufactured in Germany, the ‘barn find’ example offered for sale, found itself being shifted to the USA where it has been in the possession of the vendor’s family since the early 1930s. Thanks to a private collector, it will now go back to its homeland in its original, restored condition.
Original and unrestored machines seem to be in demand, considering the number of buyers and prices some of these machines fetched. The 1935 AJS 500cc Model 10 sold for GBP16,675, while the strange yet rare 1921 Wooler 2¾hp Model B – known as the ‘Flying Banana’ owing to its fuel tank’s shape and colour, was sold to The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum for an above-estimate GBP14,950. The 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 v-twin fetched GBP157,700 and the 1913 Zenith-JAP 6hp part of the Basil Keys Collection – garnered the best result among the Veterans, selling for GBP20,125.
The smaller, one- owner collections also saw many bidders. The 1982 Suzuki GS1000G was sold for GBP3,220. Venom Thruxton 500cc Production Racing Motorcycle emerged as the top seller among the Velos at GBP21,850. The 1947 350cc KSS MkII also did pretty decently by fetching GBP10,350. The Italian machines also did really well. The 1938 Moto Guzzi 500cc GTC/L Condor fetched an above-estimate GBP41,100 while the 1974 Laverda 750SFC was sold for GBP27,025. the major buys from the memorabilia collection were, late Marjorie Cottle, Britain’s most famous lady motorcyclist’s trophy collection and Britain’s famous motorcycle racer, Mike Hailwood’s two silver-plated trophies for GBP1,380 and GBP1,495 respectively.