Saturday, July 12, 2008


Never let anyone tell you that selling a motorcycle for half a million dollars isn't fun. I was corralled into giving 'color commentary' at the MidAmerica auction, which means I was the fellow charged with describing each of 93 motorcycles as they were wheeled onto the revolving stage for sale. Apparently I have more gab in me than I thought, although I didn't kiss the Blarney Stone at the castle in Cork, as I'd heard the locals relieve themselves on it.... the auction went well if not exactly quickly - 6 hours total. Plus, I had the pleasure of selling a Cyclone for $520,000 on the hammer (plus 6% for MidAmerica and CA sales tax = $590,000), which is certainly a record price for a motorcycle sold in the US, the most ever for an American motorcycle, and may be a world record for a motorcycle price at auction as well (I think the works Honda 6 at Bonham's last year failed to sell).

I wasn't able to take many pix during the event, but can give a little perspective from the auctioneer's podium. The seats were about 3/4 full with a few dozen milling around the bikes, which wasn't a huge worry as several interested parties made themselves known for the high-dollar machines. It was a bit make-or-break concerning the Cyclone - Ron Christensen was excited to offer the machine, but knew that if the bike failed to sell it would cast his auction in an unflattering light. He was confident that it WOULD sell though, as the very fellow who had offered $450,000 for the Cyclone at the Legends was present and ready to buy. I was happy to describe the machine and its history, and watch in awe as the bidding began at $250,000, the barometer rising quickly in $50,000 increments, and hovered for a few minutes at $480,000 - would it make the reserve of $500,000? - until the dam burst and a new record was established. Whew.

If you weren't in the market for a Cyclone, or if you already own TWO, there were certainly bargains to be found, and the Chantland family took home 8 bikes, ranging from a 49-miles from new Triumph Speed Twin (1948), to a 1925 Neracar.
It took a minute to spur Sid Chantland's memory that I had sold him a 0 miles '66 Honda Super Hawk waaay back in 1985, from my mother's garage!

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