Monday, February 04, 2013


Its just killing me.  I'm not going to be in Paris for Rétromobile, or the Bonhams auction at the Grand Palais, the most spectacular auction venue in the world.  Instead, I'll be in SoCal, for Conrad Leachs' show, the Rin Tanaka's Inspiration show at the Queen Mary, and to do some riding with Jérome and Dimitri Coste, and Conrad.  A fair trade?   Would that all the above were in Paris!
What a machine!  The road-going, ex-racer 1968 Egli Vincent, for sale at Bonhams Grand Palais...
But, if you haven't checked over the Bonhams Grand Palais sale list, it's worth a linger, as there's some really tasty machinery.  Top of the list, perhaps not historically, but in terms of sheer sex appeal, is this original 1968 Egli Vincent, which I commented on for Megadeluxe, and was then picked up by BikeExif.  Just about the fastest and best handling road bike of the late 1960s; truly the King of the Road.  And, not a recent build, but an original, built by sidecar racer Pete Gerrish, using a frame and wheels bought directly from Fritz Egli in 1968.  It won first time out on the race track, and its no wonder - there was nothing out there to touch it for sheer speed in '68.  One can dream... but one will buy.
Still the 24-Hour record-holder, since 1963!  The amazing Garelli Sport 50
Garellis aren't that well known in the US, but every young rider of a certain age (late 60s thru 70s) in Europe lusted after their hotrod lightweights, which were also racking up track success, and knocking back World Records for lightweight machines.  The above machine set a 24-hour World Record for 50cc bikes, at 67.59mph in 1963, which still stands today!  How many opportunities to buy a World Record holder have you been offered recently?  This machine has the perfect combination of a cobby, handbuilt feel, and a complete absence of a 'restorer's' ruinous touch.  It is simply remarkable, regardless of capacity.  A 23-machine Garelli collection of GP racers and record-breakers are going under the hammer...all of them are worth a look.
Lots of exhaust and carburetor for a 350cc!  The 1926 Garelli GP racer
My favorite machine in the sale is this 1926 Garelli 350cc split-single two stroke GP racer, the ultimate version of a long line of split-singles from the marque, which were very successful racers and record-breakers, typically bagging records in all capacities up to 1000cc!  This machine speaks to the Romantic era of motorcycle racing in Italy in the 1920s, when Tazio Nuvolari and Achille Varzi were racing Sunbeams, Bianchis, and Garellis, before taking up four-wheel racing, and like John Surtees, becoming champions on two and four wheels.  Read more on the era here...

If you make it to Paris, send me photos!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sweet locking R 12 in "civy" livery. My personal preference is the Zündapp KS 750. Back then, BMW had diversified as a result of German rearmament, continuing a legacy of aviation engine manufacture that stretched back to WWI.

Interesting how in the current era, the Japanese have been able to maintain numerous marques, while Germany and the United States only maintains one large size marque, apiece. Outside of Asia, particularly in the domestic markets, small size bikes don't have much of a market, which makes up a sizable import/export share of the Japanese marque business.

Also, for 2013 BMW will begin motorcycle component manufacture in China, transmissions for the new, updated water-cooled GS models being made there.

Good times,