• Bonhams created history with the most expensive sale of a motorcycle in its auction

The 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning was sold for $929,000

The highest amount paid for a motorcycle at an auction until now was for a 1915 Cyclone board racer owned by Steve McQueen, which was sold last year by Mid-America auctions for $825,500 in 2015. Shattering this figure is the sale of yet another piece of history that broke speed records then, and now, by being the most expensive bike sold at auction.

Auction house Bonhams put up the sale of their acquired 1951 Vincent 998cc Black Lightning. It is not just any Vincent, but the one which broke the Australian Land Speed Record piloted by Jack Ehret. And it was sold for a whopping $929,000.

Bonhams created history with the most expensive sale of a motorcycle in its auction Exterior
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Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world’s largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. This year, Bonhams sold 1,750 bikes in a 5-day sale, and the most exquisite of them was the land-speed record-breaking machine that was owned by Jack Ehret for 47 years (1952 to 1999).

Introduced in 1948, the Vincent Black Shadow was without question the first true Superbike of the modern era. At that age, it cost a hefty £400 price tag and £108 purchase tax. That is $1,670 in those days. In 1953, Ehret achieved an average speed of 141.5mph and went on to claim numerous race victories throughout Australia on a bike that featured high-performance racing components that gave the bike 70 hp.

Bonhams created history with the most expensive sale of a motorcycle in its auction Exterior
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Ehret’s bike- number 7305- is one of the 29 bikes ever built by the famous English factory, Stevenage. This one was specially ordered and imported into Australia by Tony McAlpine. Available only by special order, the standard Black Lightning was supplied in racing trim with a tachometer, Elektron magnesium alloy brake plates, racing tires on alloy rims, rear-set foot controls, a solo seat and aluminum mudguards.

Today, there are only 19 or so such Lightning bikes tucked into garages across the globe. This makes Ehret’s bike a rare slice of history that also comes with a cosmetically unrestored example, with its glorious racing heritage. With the original condition bike has accumulated, over the 50 years, 5,000 miles of pure racing until its last race in 1993, the Black Lightning is perhaps the most coveted production motorcycle ever built.

Bonhams created history with the most expensive sale of a motorcycle in its auction Exterior
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The $929,000 sale does not even include buyer’s or seller’s fees. Adding that will take the total price of this buy well over $1 million. Now that is something. And we have no clue who the buyer is.

Ignored for quite some time now, classic motorcycles are regaining their glory back nowadays with enthusiasts chasing vintage and important machines on two-wheels. The classic motorcycle collector scene has been developing by the day, and these sales are indicative of just that.

Bonhams created history with the most expensive sale of a motorcycle in its auction Exterior
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