Bonhams Summer Sale sees hundreds of classics find new homes

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The rescheduled Bonhams Motorcycle Sale took place at Bicester Heritage centre over the weekend, with hundreds of bikes shooting well clear of their estimates to make it Bonham’s best-ever two-wheeled sale.

The auction was originally scheduled to take place at the Spring Stafford show and attracted considerable interest as it featured over 500 lots, including 200 bikes from the late Giancarlo Morbidelli’s motorcycle museum. Of the 526 lots put up, 95% sold - generating over £3.67 million. Here are some of our favourites.

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Right in at the top, our personal highlight was a little bit of British racing history in the form of Percy Tait’s Texaco Heron Suzuki 750cc XR11, as ridden to victories at the North West and the TT. Offered in totally original condition, it sold for £51,750.

Coming in a close second was a 1974 MV Agusta 750S – MV’s development of the 4C, their first road going four cylinder. Unlike the 4C, which was a 600, the 750S made 65bhp and was designed to be a sportsbike.

Entirely hand built and astronomically expensive, very few 750S were ever made, which is why this one owner bike went for an impressive £66,700.

There were some niche sales including a 1963 Honda 250cc CR72 racebike – the height of when Honda were ploughing ahead with four strokes. That went for £89,700, while a spare engine made just over £17,500.

Other big money bikes including an World Champsionship and TT winning 250cc Benelli which went for £138,000 - a record breaking figure, only for it to be broken minutes later by a Spanish GP winning 250cc Benelli. That sold for £149,500.

On the day though it wasn’t to be for what was arguably the star of the show: a 1965 Ducati 125cc four-cylinder GP bike. Designed by Fabio Taglioni, the machine was built to challenge the dominance of MV Agusta but it was so complex and took so long to make, it never hit the race track.

Expected to reach between £400,000 – 600,000 the bidding stalled at £330,000 and didn’t clear the reserve. Still, a win on the lottery and we’re sure they’ll accept an offer…

Amazing bikes under the hammer: Bonhams Summer Sale features everything from classic GP bikes to budget projects

First published on 31 July, 2020 by Jordan Gibbons

125cc four-cylinder Ducati

The Bonhams Summer Sale is nearly upon us and with a bumper auction full of exciting lots, there’s something to suit every budget. Right at the very top of the tree, is a unique Ducati that’s come to auction as part of the Morbidelli Museum collection.

The 1965 125cc four-cylinder GP bike is famous because it was so complex and took so long to make, and was obsolete before it even hit the track.

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Designed by Fabio Taglioni, whose desmodromic valve action remains on Ducatis to this day, the 125cc four was meant to challenge the dominance of MV Agusta and the emerging threat from Japanese manufacturers.

The bike was originally designed in 1958 but after Ducati withdrew from racing due to financial pressure, it wasn’t resurrected until their return in 1964. Unfortunately for Ducati, less then 12 months later Honda unveiled their five-cylinder 125 and condemned Ducati’s four-potter to the history books in the process. As you might imagine of a bike with such history, there’s a price tag to match with estimates between £400,000 – £600,000.

Heron Suzuki XR11

If that’s a bit rich, then aim a little lower by a factor of 10, you might fancy yourself a little bit of British racing history. Also in the sale is an ex-Texaco Heron Suzuki 750cc XR11 as ridden to victories by Percy Tait at the North West and John Williams at the TT. 

Offered in original and unmolested condition, albeit needing restoration if it’s to take to the track again, the estimate is a much more reasonable £42,000 - £48,000. However, if you’re anything like us, that’s probably still a lot more than you’ve squirreled away in lockdown.


Perhaps then, you might fancy this Triton, built from a Norton Featherbed frame and a 1956 650cc Triumph Thunderbird motor. Last on the road over 25 years ago, it’s not had much love of late but everything is there for a decent restoration. Estimate is £2000 – £4000 although it’s offered with no reserve, so you could pinch yourself a bargain.

For more info on all the lots, or to register for the auction, head to the Bonhams website.

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Jordan Gibbons

By Jordan Gibbons

News Editor, owns some old bikes. Should know better.