Zero-mile Paul Smart Ducati among stars at Vegas Bonhams auction
It’s that time of year when Bonhams put on their Las Vegas auction, arguably the biggest classic bike sale of the year.
Taking place at Caesar’s Entertainment Studios on Thursday, 23 January, among the star lots is a 2006 Ducati Paul Smart 1000 LE that’s still in the original delivery crate.
The limited edition flagship of Ducati’s pioneering 2006 Sport Classic family was inspired by the bike Smart rode to victory at the 1972 Imola 200 and this zero-mile example is estimated to fetch £19-£25,000. But as we’ve seen road-going models fetching £20,000, with two keen bidders it could easily cruise straight past that.
But the real star of the auction is the 1940 Crocker ‘Big Tank’. Al Crocker made speedway racing bikes in the 1930s on America’s West Coast before turning to road-going V-twins. When this Big Tank was built, it was not only the largest capacity motorcycle in production but also one of the most powerful, producing a claimed 60bhp in an era when rival Indians and Harleys were making half that.
Production ceased in 1942 due to WWII with only 100 Crockers having been made and this is one of just 30 Big Tanks ever built.
Lovingly restored with only genuine parts, this wartime relic is as rare as hen’s teeth and is in full running order, which is probably why its pre-sale estimate is £340,000- £410,000. We’ll take two.
There’s also some other incredibly special machines on offer, including a 1980 Kawasaki Mystery Ship. It was designed and produced by American designer, Craig Vetter, who was most famous for earlier designing the Triumph X-75 Hurricane and his pioneering ‘Windjammer’ accessory fairings that became hugely popular in the late 1970s.
Based on the Kawasaki Z1000, 200 Mystery Ships were planned but just 10 built with this, No.6, bike even more desirable by being one of just two built with an RC Engineering turbocharger as well as spun aluminium wheels, both of which having barely turned as it’s on two push miles only. The estimate is £19-£25,000 but we could see it exceeding that quite easily.