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21st July 2005


Classic Collection Goes Under The Hammer

A collection comprising 35 veteran, vintage and classic bikes will be offered for sale at auction as part of the autumn autojumble at Beaulieu in September. Will it tempt you to attend?

The autumn Beaulieu autojumble always used to be a 'must see' on the classic motorcyclist's calendar. Increasing admission prices plus a shift towards a four-wheeled focus meant that it fell out of favour over recent years, but the organisers must be hoping to attract some of us riders back with this special sale of the Eric Houseley collection. The auction is being presented by Bonhams at the National Motor Museum, as part of the Beaulieu Autumn Autojumble on September 10th 2005.

This unusual and important motorcycle collection was assembled by Isle of Man TT-winner, the late Eric Houseley. Offered for sale by Eric Houseley's widow Jean, the collection comprises some 35 machines ranging from veterans, via early vintage flat-tankers and 1930's thoroughbreds to post-war classics, many of which are in outstandingly original condition.

Must be a right pain if you need to move all of these everytime you want to get the lawnmower out....

Born in Clay Cross, Derbyshire, in 1929, Eric Houseley served an apprenticeship at Kenning's Motor Works before going to work for well-known grass-track racer Alf Briggs in 1950. That same year he entered the Isle of Man TT for the first time, finishing 17th in the Clubman's Junior Race on a BSA Gold Star. Eric Houseley also contested the Manx Grand Prix in 1951 and 1952, but his greatest IoM achievement came at the TT in '52, when he won the Clubman's Junior Race riding the Goldie.

Eric's TT career finished in 1954 with a creditable eighth place in the Lightweight Race, and in 1957 he opened a motorcycle shop in Clay Cross, specialising in repairs and secondhand machines before taking on a DOT agency. He began building up his private collection of collectible motorcycles in the early 1960s. In later years Eric's ill health forced him to stand down from the motorcycle business, by then trading as Clay Cross Kawasaki, and he died in February 2001.

There's plenty in the Houseley collection to turn a head or two, and undoubtedly much of the audience's attention will be lavished on the Series B Vincent Rapide which was displayed at Beaulieu during Motorcycle World. The Vin looks just about ready to ride away, although we'll be amazed if it sells for as little as the catalogue estimate suggests. It's valued at between £9000 and £11,000, and so long as the engine turns over freely our best bet is that it will sell for double the lower amount - maybe more if the bidding is brisk.

The other star of the collection is a late 50's AJS 7R (estimate £6000 to £8000), but RealClassic riders will probably be more interested in the other 30 or so workaday bikes which seem to be up for sensible money. £300 for a barn-fresh 1928 350cc Beesa seems very reasonable, as does £2500 for a 1954 Triumph Thunderbird. And will RealClassic writer Russ be able to resist the MV Agusta 125cc Turismo Rapido if it really sells for just a grand…?

Random Vincent Stuff on eBay.co.uk

MVs are always cool. Green seats are never cool. Just remember these two simple rules.

If you do feel tempted to join the bidding, then remember that there's a buyer's premium to pay on top of the hammer price. Entry to the Bonhams sale is by catalogue only, which adds to the £11.50 you'll pay for admission to the autojumble itself. However, you can save on the fees by booking an advance ticket (www.beaulieu.co.uk/tickets), and catalogues are available from www.bonhams.com.

On Sale At Auction: the Eric Houseley Collection

Model and Estimates

  • c.1914 Triumph TT Model £3,500 - 4,000
  • c.1919 Campion 2.25hp Lightweight £2,500 - 3,000
  • c.1920 Campion-JAP £3,000 - 3,500
  • c.1922 Lea-Francis £5,000 - 7,000
  • 1924 Scott 498cc Super Squirrel £5,000 - 6,000
  • 1925 Triumph Model P Motorcycle Combination £4,000 - 6,000
  • 1925 Excelsior 3.5hp Motorcycle Combination £4,000 - 6,000
  • c.1925 Sun-Blackburne Lightweight £1,500 - 2,000
  • c.1926 BSA Model B 'Round Tank' £1,800 - 2,200
  • 1926 Douglas EW Sports Model £2,400 - 2,800
  • 1927 Raleigh 350cc £2,000 - 2,500
  • c.1928 BSA 350cc Model L 'barn find' £300 - 400
  • 1928 Matchless 250cc Model R £1,500 - 2,000
  • 1928 Raleigh 250cc £1,500 - 2,000
  • c.1933 Ariel 350cc Red Hunter £1,700 - 2,000
  • c.1933 Panther Model 90 Redwing £1,800 - 2,200
  • c.1934 BSA 250cc Blue Star £1,500 - 1,800
  • c.1938 Velocette KSS £2,800 - 3,200
  • c.1939 Ariel NG 350cc Motorcycle Combination £2,000 - 3,000
  • c.1946 Norton Big Four £2,000 - 2,500
  • 1948 Vincent Rapide Series B £9,000 - 11,000
  • c.1949 Velocette KSS £2,800 - 3,200
  • c.1953 BMW R25/2 £1,500 - 2,000
  • c.1953 Vincent Comet £3,000 - 3,500
  • 1954 Triumph Thunderbird £2,500 - 3,000
  • 1955 James 147cc Cadet £300 - 400
  • c.1956 MV Agusta 125cc Turismo Rapido £1,000 - 1,400
  • c.1959 Francis-Barnett Model 81 Falcon £500 - 700
  • c.1959 AJS 7R Racing Motorcycle £6,000 - 8,000
  • c.1959 BMW R50 £2,500 - 3,000
  • 1964 Francis-Barnett 250cc Cruiser £700 - 800
  • 1967 BSA Bantam £200 - 400
  • 1969 Triumph Trident Café Racer £2,000 - 2,500
  • c.1980 Yamaha Trial 80 £500 - 700
  • c.1985 Garelli Mini Prix £100 - 200

    Auctions. Interested?


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