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2nd February 2009

Classic Auction Preview
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Classic bikes don't often go under the hammer in Ireland so there could be bargains to bag this coming weekend in Belfast...

There was an impressive response to last year's initial sale of classic motorcycles and memorabilia at Ross's Auction House, Montgomery Street in Belfast, so the organisers decided to hold a second sale - and it takes place this coming weekend, on Saturday February 7th 2009. The general feeling at the first event was that it offered a valuable service to old bike enthusiasts in the Emerald Isle, who often get ignored by the mainstream on the mainland. That explains why some 450 people turned up to bid, inspect the bikes, have a natter and so on, and the organisers hope that a similar number will be tempted to brave winter's chill for this second sale.


From a time when sidecars were boats... Swallow sidecar

There are certainly some tempting motorcycles on offer, ranging from 'exceptional' through to 'workaday'. 40 or so machines will go under the hammer, spanning 50 years and more from the 1930s through to the 1980s. Prices are estimated to range from 200 all the way to 20,000 - so there should be something to suit almost every budget!

...and bikes were fridges. Ariel Leader
Classic projects on eBay

Several of the lots on offer caught out attention, like the ready-to-ride, 1955-spec tele/plunger Velo MAC which is expected to fetch between 2500 and 3500. It's currently registered in the Republic of Ireland so would need to have its original UK number reclaimed if it crossed the border. An ideal first classic - perfect for gentle club runs, we reckon.

Pictures are small because Belfast is far away... Random Velocette (left) and 1936 Ariel Red Hunter

If you're more familiar with old Brits then your head might very well be turned by the 1936 Ariel Red Hunter, an extremely handsome wee beast with rigid rear end and girder forks which so neatly exemplifies the delights of 1930s motorcycling. This one comes with a full year's MoT, and a price tag of between 5k and 6k.

Too rich for your blood? Then you'll get many comfortable miles for a third of the cost with an AJS 650 twin, up for grabs at around 1500 to 2000. This Model 31 De Luxe is in non-standard condition (which is why its estimate is lower than the 3k or so you'd expect for an unmodified example) but it's described as being 'in good useable condition'.

...And it's still illegal to photograph bikes from the lefthand side in Nor'n Ireland. Model 31 De Luxe AJS 650 (left) and 1957 BSA B31

Another worthy old warrior is the BSA 350cc single, a 1957 B31 which was given a comprehensive overhaul last year including work on the engine, gearbox and clutch with a rebore and new big end. It's ready to go with tax and MoT, and has just completed running-in after travelling 900 or so miles after the rebuild. The bidding on the Beesa should start at around 2500.

If your interests lean more towards Japanese and Italian classics than old Britbikes, then you'd best keep your bidding arm firmly under control. Several Honda racers feature in the sale, including a CB77 and a CB72, either of which could happily take to the track for this summer's season. Our roadgoing favourite is the 1976 CB750F1, recently fettled with new wheels, chain and sprockets, brakes overhauled, electronic ignition and coils fitted. It's not original but is MoT'd until April and 'in lovely condition' and could be yours for 2000

Shhh! Don't tell the police. 1978 Ducati 500 (left) and 1976 Honda CB750F1

Or you could pay slightly more for a 1978 Ducati 500 which has been in a private collection for several years. The twin has been given a cosmetic once-over and is expected to sell for 2250 to 2750. Slightly scarily, that's also the estimated value of an Ariel Leader - similar to the one which we're rebuilding in the magazine. We'll be watching the results carefully to see what the Leader might actually be worth!

If you fancy any of the bikes we've mentioned but can't get over to Belfast for the auction on February 7th, then you can place bids by telephone - speak to Will Corry on 07974 566659 for details.

Details of the other lots and more information can be found at www.classicbikesandcars.com

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