Monday, January 26, 2015


The enormous, sweeping volumes of the Grand Palais, with its original Art Nouveau ironwork, is something to behold
Bonhams is hosting its February 5th Paris auction to coincide with the giant Rétromobile festival, an excellent reason to visit the City of Light in the winter (and it's a lovely place to be if it snows). The Grand Palais is perhaps the world's most spectacular venue for an auction, an Art Nouveau engineering masterpiece, which the city of Paris has recently put back into circulation to host regular exhibitions and events.
1958 Borgward Rennsport, an achingly lovely miniature of the Jaguar D-Type
As always, Bonhams kills it with their automobilia selection of sculptural radiator caps, original illustrations, and posters, and also as per the script, there's a fine selection of motorcycles for sale before the four-wheelers dominate the podium.  Even then, it's worth sticking around, as European auctions turn up stuff we never see a late-'50s Borgward 1500 Sports Racer with an aluminum body. Want!
One of many European racing posters for sale...
Other drool-worthy machines are a Norton-Velocette with dustbin fairing, and an endurance-racer Bimota HB-1, which is about the sexiest 1970s motorcycle of all.  While Triumph had their Hurricane, and MV made their heavy 4s, Bimota truly captured the sideburn-and-flares era with bikes that scream 'sex!' and 'speed!' with equal volume.  They're still reasonably priced (depending on your point of view), but I can't imagine these remaining in the low-to-mid 5-figures for much longer...
Cafe racer with a twist - a Velocette in a Norton featherbed frame, with a full dustbin fairing.  Cool!
Sadly, no Paris for me this year.  I'm busy building a photography studio, back in San Francisco.  If you go, kiss the grande dame for me, eh?
The only '70s Honda that matters...the 1974 Bimota HB-1 CM3. 

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