This week is a motorcycle enthusiast’s dream come roaring to life as Las Vegas hosts three major auctions featuring historic and celebrity-owned motorcycles from the 19th and 20th centuries. Two events run Jan. 12 – 14 and feature the auction of motorcycles owned by actor Steve McQueen. A third auction will be held just on Jan. 12.
At the South Point Hotel & Casino on Las Vegas Strip, MidAmerica Auctions will hold the 21st Annual Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction featuring guest of honor Barbara McQueen. Barbara will be signing copies of her book “Steve McQueen: The Last Mile.” Joining her will be McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill, who will sign copies of his 2010 book, “Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool.”
For those looking to purchase a more lasting souvenir than just a book, there are three motorcycles owned by McQueen up for auction at the South Point. They are:
- A 1938 Triumph Speed Twin. This 1938 Triumph Speed Twin was restored for Steve McQueen by his longtime friend and racing buddy Bud Ekins at Ekin’s shop in North Hollywood, California. Ekin’s shop sticker is still displayed on the motorcycle.
- A 1940 Indian Four Cylinder. This Indian Four was purchased at the November 1984 Steve McQueen estate auction at the Imperial Palace.
- A 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross. Steve McQueen rode this motorcycle for a cover photo of the Aug. 23, 1971 issue of Sports Illustrated.
In addition to the three motorcycles, there is also a 1970 Bell helmet that was owned by McQueen and personal effects including furniture, trophies and more that will be up for auction.
While the three McQueen motorcycles may be the star attraction, there are more than 500 motorcycles and cars being auctioned at the event. Other highlights include:
- 1939 Brough Superior SS80. This motorcycle is from the last year of production and is 1 of 460 built. Only approximately 300 survive.
- 1938 Brough Superior SS100 previously owned by Bill Gibbard, author of “Maintaining Your Brough Superior.” This Brough motorcycle is featured on the cover of his book with Gibbard standing beside it.
- There are six Vincent motorcycles up for auction including a 1948 Vincent Series B Rapide with restoration by Herb Harris. This is a rare Series B Vincent Rapide with matching numbers. It only has eight miles on it since full professional restoration by Herb Harris of the Harris Vincent Gallery.
- 1915 Iver Johnson Twin Cylinder that was previously been on display at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa. The motorcycle is new, original and unstarted.
- 1910 Pierce Four Cylinder ridden by Dale Walksler of the Wheels Through Time Museum and deemed to be “like new.”
The schedule for the 21st Annual Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction includes:
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 5 p.m.: Children’s Hospital Benefit Dinner Auction featuring Barbara McQueen as guest of honor.
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 6 to 10 p.m.: Auction of 75 premium vintage and collectible motorcycles.
- Friday, Jan. 13, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Auction of 200 vintage and collectible motorcycles.
- Friday, Jan. 13, 7 p.m.: Champion Indoor Short Flat Track Series.
- Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Auction of 225 vintage and collectible motorcycles.
- Saturday, Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m. Championship Indoor Short Track Flat Track Series.
The South Point isn’t the only hotel hosting a major motorcycle auction this weekend. Just 8.5 miles away at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, Auctions America by RM will be holding the Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction, also Jan. 12 – 14.
“The collection of vintage bikes on our docket represents some of the best-maintained examples we’ve ever had the privilege of offering at auction,” said Glenn Bator, who heads Auctions America by RM’s motorcycle division.
Featured lots among the 450 vehicles will be two vehicles owned by Steve McQueen:
- A liquid-cooled two-cylinder 1929 Scott Squirrel restored in the 1970s by custom paint guru Kenny Howard (aka “Von Dutch”).
- A 1938 Harley-Davidson WLD. This is an all-original Solo model with only 21,100 miles on the odometer that the estate sold after McQueen’s death.
The auction will also feature selections from eight motorcycle collections (Tony Parella Collection, Cary Stanley collection, David Karas Consultants, Art Littlejohn Collection, Chris Solan Collection, Christiansen Collection and more) among its 450 lots. Noted motorcycles include:
- A 1894 Roper Steam Motorcycle, one of the world’s oldest motorcycles. This motorcycle may set a world record for a motorcycle sold at auction.
- A historic 1902 Whitley “The Whitley of Coventry” motorcycle built by Whitley of Cow Lane, Coventry, West Midlands, England. Boasting its original paint, this motorcycle is believed to be the only one of its kind in existence today.
- A 1926 Cleveland Fowler. One of 100 motorcycles built in the 600cc four-cylinder, four-stroke engine format designed by F.E. Fowler, this Cleveland is believed to be the sole complete example remaining today. It was owned by late racer and stuntman Bud Ekins – who performed the famed motorcycle jump sequence for Steve McQueen in the film “The Great Escape.” The motorcycle was later a part of the esteemed Otis Chandler Collection in California before going to a private collector.
- 1899 De Dion-Bouton Three-Wheeler brought to the U.S. in the 1920s by Vincent Bendix, who was interested in studying its innovative front brake.
“Our goal is to spark an international celebration of the motorcycle hobby in Las Vegas,” said Donnie Gould, Auctions America by RM president. “Over the years, Arizona and Monterey have become the focal points for collector and classic cars with track exhibitions, rallies and auctions. We envision Las Vegas evolving along the same lines with motorcyclists enjoying the nearby tracks, taking tours of area attractions and attending auctions. By adding our sale to the motorcycle activities already in Las Vegas, we hope to kick start that new growth.”
Schedule of events at the Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction include:
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.: Preview.
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 6 p.m.: Dinner
- Thursday, Jan. 12, 6 – 9 p.m.: Auction.
- Friday, Jan. 13, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.: Preview.
- Friday, Jan. 13, 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.: Auction.
- Saturday, Jan. 14, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.: Preview.
- Saturday, Jan. 14, 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.: Display and auction.
A third motorcycle auction – The Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale – run by Bonhams is being held at the Imperial Palace on Jan. 12.
This is the second year for the Bonhams Motorcycle auction to be held in Las Vegas. Last year, the auction generated $2.5 million in sales.
Featured selections from the Bonhams auction of more than 150 motorcycles (including 50 from the du Pont family collection) include:
- 1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F Twin in original condition. It is considered the best original condition motorcycle of this model in the world.
- Two Benelli racing motorcycles – 1958 250cc Grand Prix Factory Racer and a 1998 Four 350cc Racer.
- 1937 Brough Superior SS100.
- Agusta F4 previously owned by Peter Fonda.
- 1965 Rickman Triumph Metisse painted by Von Dutch.
- A 1906 Indian Camelback with all original parts. The 105 year-old motorcycle is one of only 1698 Indian Camelbacks produced in 1906, and its original condition. It was previously owned by Paul du Pont and part of the du Pont motorcycle collection.
All events are open to the public, but two have ticketed admission. For complete details of the events including detailed lists of auction lots with photos follow the links below:
21st Annual Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction
South Point Hotel and Casino
Tickets on sale at the door
Single day pass: $15
3-day pass: $30
Dinner event tickets sold separately.
Las Vegas Premier Motorcycle Auction
Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino
Tickets are on sale at the door.
Single day pass: $20
Full event pass: $50
Dinner event tickets sold separately.
More details: http://www.auctionsamerica.com/
The Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale
Imperial Palace Hotel
More details: http://www.bonhams.com/usa/carsusalasvegas/