Sunday, July 29, 2012

BONHAMS' QUAIL EXTRAVAGANZA

The Motosacoche v-twin formerly owned by Bud Ekins, and restored by 'Von Dutch' (Kenny Howard) while he worked for Ekins.  Part of the 'Eddie Rickenbacker' collection at the Bonhams Quail Lodge sale, August 16th
Pebble Beach Week is a financial powerhouse for US collector car auctions, as 4 big sales tease the wallets of well-heeled visitors from around the globe, each racking up mega-millions of dollars.  The inclusion of motorcycles is a recent phenomenon at this week-long party, where the very very rich mingle with impecunious gearheads, oohing and aahing over impossible arrays of glittering vehicles, on the grassy golf courses of the Quail Motorsports Gathering (Friday) and Pebble Beach (Sunday), the tarmac of the Monterey Jet Center (Wed night), or the race track at Laguna Seca (all week).  Smaller shows crop up all over the Carmel area for Italian cars, Lemons, one-make clubs, etc...plus invite-only events at the sumptuous part-time homes of a few 'local' billionaires, which have aspirational climbers greasing elbows and cozying up to the right people at cocktail parties, hoping for an invite.
One of THREE Crocker v-twins for sale at the Bonhams Quail Lodge sale...
Motorcycles have always been part of Gordon McCall's Jet Center Party and Quail Motorsports Gathering, and were accepted on the lawn at Pebble Beach just 3 years ago.  Bonhams began adding a few bikes to their car sale at Quail Lodge, while MidAmerica has pitched a tent of motorcycles at the Pebble automobilia garden since bikes have been allowed on 17-Mile Drive (for the week only, mind you; the rest of the year they're verboten).  Mecum had what looked like a disastrous sale of motorcycles last year, but are back at it with the 71-MV Agusta collection of Gary Kohs, being sold as a single lot.
A genuine ex-works 'Rob North' framed factory BSA racer, one of 11 built, confirmed by Mr North himself
This year Bonhams is laying out an incredible spread of machines at the Quail Lodge on August 16th, worthy of, or even better than their top sale at Stafford, which has kept Bonhams at the #1 spot for many years. After recently announcing they'd secured the long-coveted 'Eddie Rickenbacker' collection of early machines, it became clear the Quail sale would be more than 'merely' a 3-Crocker affair.
How about a 1945 Kettenkrad?  Using a 1500cc Opel engine, they're simple to drive, with a 50mph top speed, capacity to climb 25degree hills with ease... and with rubber tracks, they are street legal in the USA! The possibilities are intriguing.  This example is in apparently original-paint condition, and in excellent mechanical shape.
To the Crockers and 'Rickenbackers', Bonhams has added plenty of other significant motorcycles, like a genuine ex-Works 'Rob North' BSA triple racer, a '37 Brough Superior SS100, 1952 Vincent Black Shadow, a 1928 Windhoff 4-cylinder, an ex-Otis Chandler 1920 'White Mars' A20, a barn-find 1910 Pierce 4 in incredible condition, even a 1945 Kettenkrad...all of which are expected to drift into 6-figure territory.  It will be an exciting sale to watch...check out the catalog here.
The 1920 Mars A20 was a sophisticated and expensive big twin, with a 956cc flat-twin engine made by Maybach.  


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

‎3 Crockers!!! :O

Ted S.

The Vintagent said...

‎No less than 3 Big Tank Crockers, with estimates as low as $275k, which makes me wonder if the 'Crocker Boys' will snag them to prop up the values of their own machines. Happens all the time in the art world. Strategically, putting 3 Crockers on the market at once might be 'flooding' the market, but then again, plenty of people would love a Crocker...

Anonymous said...

My father does the same with beer collectables... On a smaller scale but he has the market on unused cardboard boxes from 50 years ago.

Ted S.

Anonymous said...

Of the 3 Crockers, I do believe 2 are actually small tank models, not big tanks as described. The size and the year of those pre-40 bikes would support this, yes?

Either way, incredible machines and very much worth the $300K+ estimates.

Secondly, if there were 3 Brough SS100s being sold in one sale (which are much more numerous than Crockers), I bet you would've dedicated reams of pages to them. So why the bias? Just curious.

Mitch Jackson said...

So glad we had a chance to meet on Spreecast. Love the blog and can't wait to get out of the office and go for a ride!

The Vintagent said...

@Anon; I've owned 4 Broughs, so can write reams about them from memory. I've never owned a Crocker, and need to do research before writing, as I'm not interested in repeating press releases or folklore.
I'll post more about the 3 Crockers coming up for sale, within a story about Al Crocker.
Mr. Schacht has offered a road test of his prototype, but no vintage Crocker owners have offered, yet...

The Vintagent said...

Just got the print catalog: sure looks like the two '37s are 'Small Tanks' to me...I'll let Bonhams know.