Aged like fine wine, some vintage motorcycles have become collector’s items because of their glorious history. People are desperate to spend a ridiculous amount of money for the rare machinery on two wheels even if they will never be ridden again.
We have mentioned the top ten vintage motorcycles ever sold at auction on our list. We have excluded some entries of motorcycle models which have lot of repetitive sales at the auction market.
1942 Crocker V-Twin Big Tank ($385,000)
California based company, Crocker only produced 72 V-Twin motorcycles and the 1942 Big Tank is one of them. Crocker decided not to continue with their motorcycles line after the war which leaded the valuation of its existing motorcycles to become pretty ambitious. This particular model sold for $385,000 at the EJ Cole Collection sale in 2015 which is the highest price a Crocker motorcycle has ever commanded.
1911 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer ($423,000)
This particular 1911 Flying Merkel was a Board Track Racer that raced in the years before World War I and was owned by the Suttle family. The motorcycle was stored for 70 years after the onset of war. It was eventually retrieved and was still in running condition. The 1911 Flying Merkel was auctioned at the Mecum Auctions in 2015 where it sold for a staggering $423,000.
1951 Vincent White Shadow ($434,000)
The 1951 White Shadow is a very rare model with only 15 units ever manufactured between 1949 and 1952. The motorcycle has a bare metal engine cases and its body is finished in Chinese red color. This magnificent and rare piece of machinery was sold for $434,000.
1958 Ariel Cyclone 650 ($450,000)
Ariel Cyclone 650 is a rare limited edition with only 172 being manufactured ever. This particular one was once owned by American musician, Buddy Holly. The motorcycle eventually fell into the hands of country music legend, Waylon Jennings after Holly lost his life in a plane crash. The bike was later sold for $450,000 at the Guernsey Auction in 2014.
1926 Brough Superior SS100 ($452,234)
This particular 1926 Brough Superior had some modifications made in the past. Specialists had to restore those modifications on the bike back to their original state. The motorcycle was in pristine condition with the correct engine and frame numbers, a record card from the factory and a full well-documented ownership history when it was auctioned. No wonder, it was sold for a staggering amount of $452,234.
1922 Brough Superior SS80 ($463,847)
This particular 1922 Brough Superior was nicknamed ‘Old Bill’ and was ridden by the George Brough himself. George Brough managed to win over 50 races with Old Bill. Old Bill was later sold to Titch Allen, who was a journalist and also the president of Vintage Motorcycles Club. The motorcycle had a glorious history and was eventually sold at auction in Duxford, England for $463,847.
1939 BMW RS255 Kompressor ($480,000)
This particular 1939 BMW RS255 Kompressor is not the original model and is customized taking inspirations from a wide range of models. The motorcycle was technically assembled in the 1980s using an original 1939 BMW RS255 engine with 1952 plunger style frame and a host of other minor modifications. It was sold for $480,000 when Bonhams put it up at auction in 2013.
1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank ($715,000)
The 1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank is the 94th motorcycle made by the company. This 440cc machine has not been restored at all unlike many vintage motorcycles put at auction since all of its parts are original and in fantastic condition. The motorcycle was sold for $715,000 at the Mecum Auctions in 2015 making it the most expensive Harley-Davidson ever sold.
1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer ($852,500)
The 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer is very rare as only 12 of them are believed to exist. This particular Cyclone was once owned by Steve McQueen and in fantastic condition when auctioned. The amazing V-Twin motorcycle was sold at the Mecum Auctions for an incredible $852,500.
1951 Vincent Black Lightning ($929,000)
This particular 1951 Vincent Black Lightning was in its original form, completely unrestored and in healthy running condition. It’s said that this motorcycle was actually imported to Australia by Tony McAlpine and raced against another well-known Vincent called “Gunga Din”. The motorcycle somehow managed to turn up on auction at Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas where a telephone bidder from Australia bought it for an exaggerating $929,000 making it the most expensive motorcycle ever sold officially at auction.