‘Old Bill’ Becomes the Most Expensive Motorcycle Ever Sold by Public Auction at H&H’s Duxford Sale

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Grossing nearly $6,445,000 (£4 million) between them, H&H’s two auctions at IWM Duxford this year have seen the firm establish several world record prices. However, the most important of these is undoubtedly the $469,162 achieved by a 1922 Brough Superior SS80 on October 23rd 2012. Known the world over as ‘Old Bill’, the motorcycle in question was owned and raced by marque founder George Brough. Appearing on the open market for the first time in over fifty years, it drew the interest of potential buyers from three continents. Keenly contested both in the room and on the telephone, ‘Old Bill’ is now the centrepiece of a significant overseas collection. The other two Brough Superiors consigned to the auction – a 1928 SS100 and 1937 11/50 – had less illustrious histories than ‘Old Bill’ but still commanded $162,402 and $45,111 respectively. Other strong performers among the motorcycles included a 1915 Harley Davidson F Combination ($54,134), 1977 Harley Davidson XR750 ($28,871) and 1922 Humber 4.5hp ($25,262).

Reputedly the last of thirteen examples made, the 1962 Marcos GT Gullwing that opened the motorcar section prompted a flurry of bidding. A ‘barn find’ with the potential, once restored, to compete at the likes of the Goodwood Revival, the wooden wonder doubled its pre-sale estimate to make $19,127. Highest priced four-wheeler of the day was a 1961 Bentley S2 Continental H.J. Mulliner Two-Door Saloon at $309,337. One of just 71 RHD chassis bodied to design number 7514 and retaining its original livery of Tudor Grey with Tan leather upholstery, the gentleman’s express had been sparingly used since undergoing a thorough mechanical overhaul at the hands of P&A Wood during the late 1970s. Nicely patinated, the Continental was eagerly contested and sold into a European collection.

The two Jaguar E-type V12 Roadsters on offer both found new homes. The one owner from new 1972 Auto made $57,743, while the 27,000 miles from new 1974 Manual commanded $71,157. Interest in Mercedes-Benz’s gorgeous 190SL model remains high as proven by the 1960 car that went under the hammer. An older restoration but rare in right-hand drive, the two-seater swept past its pre-sale estimate to fetch $79,396. The combined sale gross across the automobilia, registration numbers, motorcycles and motorcars was some $2,4 million.

The next H&H sale will be held at Pavilion Gardens, Buxton on 31st October and boasts nigh on 100 Motor Car entries.