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22nd April 2013

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British Bike Auction Highlights

Hundreds of classic motorcycles will go under the hammer during the Bonhams sale at the Stafford Show on 28th April. Here are a few old Britbikes which the RC Crew will be watching with interest...

BSA B50SS Gold Star

Beesa's beefy B50 always pulls a crowd. This one is in Street Scrambler style with the bigger 8-inch conical-hub front brake and chubby petrol tank, instead of the Victor's slim tank and smaller brake. This 1972 example was rebuilt back in 2001 or so and might be little less than entirely original - is that an external oil filter we can see? It's not been used since then so the buyer should budget for tyres and fettling.

Who thought that silencer design was a good idea?...

The catalogue estimate is £2000 to £3000; a similar B50MX is up for private sale at £3500.

Triumph Trophy Trail 500

The TR5T is the ideal machine for anyone who admires the styling of the BSA B50 but struggles to start big singles. Triumph's 490cc twin engine forms the core of the Trophy Trail, aka the Adventurer, and is much easier to live with than its stump-pulling single-cylinder stablemate. This particular machine fell foul of the workers' sit-in and so didn't leave Meriden until the autumn of 1974. It's apparently never been restored, was last on the road back in 1992 and has been in dry storage for the last half dozen years. Prior to this sale it's been given a new battery, plugs and an MoT.

Never been out in the rain. Except when this photo was taken...

The catalogue estimate is between £3000 and £4000. A similar machine sold on eBay for £4100 recently and another is up for grabs in France at £4750, so if there's a full sale room then this one could run to £5k.

AJS Model 16

Here's something for an adventurous mechanic to tackle; a bitsa Ajay 350 single which unites a 1950 motor with a 1956 springer frame. The petrol tank looks to have been supplied by an even earlier Matchless; the dual seat came from yet another donor bike and even the air in the tyres looks kinda limp. However, there's probably a nice little bike lurking within this old warrior if you've time and a little expertise to devote to its resurrection.

I'll take this one, please. As it is...

The catalogue estimate is £400 to £600; more than that would be too much indeed.

Royal Enfield Meteor Minor Sports

Enfield's 495cc twins aren't a common sight on the classic market and are developing something of a cult following. Some folk prefer the earlier longer-stroke versions but the Meteor Minor, introduced in 1958, is certainly more sprightly. This 1960 model is in Sports trim with uprated cams, giving around 33bhp. Overall it's an attractive package with decent brakes and predictable handling. After spending the better part of three decades in a museum, this machine was put back on the road in 2008 and has been given 12-Volt electrics, a new silencer, halogen lighting and front tyre. It comes ready to ride with MoT.

For 3k they could have taken a decent photo...

The catalogue estimate is £1800 to £2200. We think it'll easily make 10% on top of that, and the right buyer might pay £3k for it.

Norton Model 50

Three years ago this 1957 pre-featherbed 350 single was sold in big bits. It's since been built into a complete machine with shiny brightwork, fresh paint, an engine overhaul and many new parts. The Model 50 was famous for providing a relaxed gentleman's ride from its docile 350 OHV engine. Later featherbed examples fetch big money, between £4000 and £6000 depending on condition, but this one is probably worth around half that.

That Bonham's fence is getting famous...

The catalogue estimate is £1800 to £2200 with no reserve.

BSA A10 Golden Flash

Genuinely ripe for restoration, this swinging arm Golden Flash last ran back in 1982 and has been awaiting attention ever since. As a result it looks to be decently unmolested (although the bungee should be considered a period accessory rather than original equipment…) If it ends up being fully restored then the purchaser will probably need to spend between £1500 and £3000 on the rebuild.

BSA 650 twins from this period usually sell for around £4000; maybe £5k from a dealer if they're very pretty. So the catalogue estimate of £2000 to £3000 looks about right - unless a bidder values originality more highly than potential profit, of course.

A-series BSAs for auction on .. More eBay old bikes below

You can't beat a bit of patina...

Velocette MAC

Velo's straightforward 350 single is perhaps the easiest introduction to the marque and this 1947 model comes with our favourite combination of rigid rear end and Oleomatic tele forks at the front. The high-cam motor is in its softest state of tune in the MAC, and is normally an easy starter. This particular machine looks to be in the ideal condition to hop on and ride away - it's been in the hands of its current owner for some time and is described as being 'in sound condition.'

I'll take this one too. Nice...

Don't be surprised if it goes for quite a bit more than the catalogue estimate of £1900 to £2500. Four grand is a distinct possibility.

Ariel Square Four

This 4G Mk2 looks to be seriously under-valued at £4000 to £6000. It's a 1955 example of Ariel's famous four-cylinder tourer, one of the final types of Square with alloy head and barrel, modified top end and the extremely desirable four-pipe arrangement. The Square appears to have been professionally rebuilt in recent years with a full record of its restoration and accompanying paperwork, although it's not been used on the road since 1975.

Good photo. Makes all the difference...

If the bidding stops at less than £10k then we'll be amazed.

Triumph TSX

One of the finest final offshoots of the 750 Bonneville, the TSX of the early 1980s should not be confused with the mechanically muddled, 8-valve TSS. A TSS is likely to be nothing but trouble; the TSX is a mellow interpretation of the straightforward trad British twin which seems surprisingly at home in this semi-custom style. This 1982 example was last MoT'd back in 1998 shortly after a complete rebuild. In theory, it should start with a tankful of fresh petrol but the new owner might want to consider a new set of tyres before taking to the tarmac.

And finally, Esther...

The catalogue estimate is £4500 to £5500; to a Meriden enthusiast it's probably worth 20% more.


The Bonhams spring Stafford sale of important pioneer, vintage & collectors' motorcycles and related memorabilia is on Sunday 28th April 2013 at the Stafford Classic Bike Show. For full listing, see:


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