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Rare Coventry-Eagle fetches £190k at Stafford Sale

Published: 30 April 2019

Updated: 30 April 2019

A 1925 Coventry-Eagle 981cc Flying-8 with a rare overhead valve engine sold for £190,000, almost twice the estimated price of £100,000-£120,000.

Coventry-Eagle started out life as a bicycle manufacturer in the Victorian era but by the 20s had hained a reputation for making big, fast motorcycles. This Flying-8 was no exception, one journalist at the time remarked, "On the open road, as one would expect, it is possible to annihilate space on the merest whiff of gas."

Brough Superior SS100 Alpine

Hot on the heels of the Coventry-Eagle was a stunning Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports that was expected to be the headline attraction of the sale. The ultimate vintage motorcycle, which was the superbike of its day in the 20s, sold for £180,000.

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Several long-term owners used the bike before its seller took possession in 1986 and restored it.

The bike that stunt rider Bud Ekins rode to an International Six Day Trial win while he was filming The Great Escape sold for £85,000, far exceeding the £20,000-30,000 estimate.

Bud Ekins' ISDT-winning Triumph

The machine is a 649cc 1962 Triumph TR6SS Trophy – a rare bike in itself as it was one of the last pre-unit bikes (where the engine and gearbox were separate items) to roll off the production line, and was originally on sale for less than a year.

As a good off-road racer and occasional stuntman, while Ekins was in Germany filming The Great Escape with good friend Steve McQueen he decided to enter the ISDT which was being held nearby.

Ekins asked Triumph to ship the bike, which he rode to a Gold Medal win and overall victory in the Unlimited Capacity Class. After the race, Ekins shipped the bike back to California, where he kept it for 27 years before selling it to Bob Gardiner.

Ekins doubled for Steve McQueen in 'The Great Escape'

The bike was offered totally original and unrestored, even coming with the cup awarded to Ekins for his win.

Three Honda CB750s ranging in age and price were also sold, a 1975 CB750F sold for the bargain price of £2700, a rare 1969 ‘Sandcast’ model fetched £22,000, while a 1975 K6 went for £6,800.

'Sandcast' Honda CB750

V-twins lead the charge at Bonhams Spring Stafford sale 2019

Elsewhere, a 1924 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 fetched £110,000, while a 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp and Cruiser Sidecar, which featured in TV shows Dad’s Army and George and Mildred went for £62,000.

1924 Brough Superior SS80

Before TV stardom beckoned, the Brough competed as a works entry in the 1934 International Six Days Trial (ISDT). Following this sporting start in life, the bike changed hands a few times before being sold in 1965 to Stan Gilks Ltd for a rather modest £40.

The 1924 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 was delivered new to a customer in Germany and, despite being nearly 100 years old, still has matching numbers. The bike received upgrades including an SS100 gearbox upon returning to the UK after just one year in Germany.

Other V-twin highlights included the charming 1922 Chater Lea 885cc 8hp Combination (£23,000) complete with a luxuriously upholstered, enclosed sidecar, and the ex-Kaye Done, 1914 Zenith-JAP ‘Gradua’ Twin (£24,500).

Chater Lea Combination

For more information on any of the lots, to register to bid or to arrange a complimentary valuation, please contact the motorcycle department on motorcycles@bonhams.com or call +44 20 8963 2817.

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Bonhams Spring Stafford sale 2018: Stunning MV sells for £100k

The Bonham’s Spring Stafford sale saw over 400 bikes go under the hammer last weekend with many early estimates being blown away as the bidding got aggressive.

There was a wide variety of bikes on offer. Lots included everything from a six-figure Brough Superiors to restoration project Laverdas. But it was a 1973 MV Agusta 750S that stole our hearts.

When the 750S launched, it arguably started the modern take on sports touring with a maintenance-free shaft drive paired to the 65bhp 743cc inline four. Handmade in limited numbers, the 750S was so expensive that it was out of reach of the ordinary biker.

MV Agusta 750S

This particular example was first registered in Spain and had documentation (including a current MoT) that’s bang up to date. It sold for £96,700, far exceeding the estimate of £70,000-£90,000.

Other lots in the sale included a handful of 750cc Triumph TR7s as used by the Army’s White Helmets display team. The stunt team’s 1999 Ride Bike, a stripped-down roadster that performed in all 28 outings of the team’s final year, generated the most interest and fetched £6325.

The lot that really drove bidders wild, nearly doubling its lower estimate, was item number 430: Bruce Anstey’s Ulster GP-winning GSX-R1000. The Dyson Suzuki won many Superstock races across the 2003 season, recording a whopping 181mph through the speedtrap at the Ulster. It sold for £9200.


Bonhams Spring Stafford sale 2017: 1949 White Shadow project fetches £163,900

Vincent White Shadow

An incredibly rare 'barn find' Vincent White Shadow fetched £163,900 at the Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale.

Vincent White Shadows are identified by a '1A' engine number prefix and left the Stevenage factory without the Black Shadow’s distinctive black engine casings.

Only a handful of White Shadows exist and the Vincent Owners Club only listed 16 in 2017, making it one of the rarest post-war Vincent models.


Bonhams Spring Stafford sale 2016: £970,000-worth of Brough motorcycles sold

Brough Superior Model BS4

The Brough models alone sold at the 2016 Bonhams Spring Stafford sale represented over £970,000-worth of the sale total.

The most expensive bike sold was an ex-Hubert Chantrey 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 project From the estate of the late Frank Vague, which fetched an astonishing £331,900, despite being completely unrestored.

The Brough features an odd, twin rear wheel set-up, a result of using a 749cc four-cylinder Austin Seven engine. When traditional drive chain components were added the bike was too long for George Brough’s liking so he opted to use the Austin’s shaft drive.

Vincent-HRD Rapide

A close second place in the auction was a 1939 Vincent-HRD Rapide, which fetched a princely £270,300 (enough to seal top listing in most motorbike auctions).

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