'52 Vincent Black Shadow tops classics sold at Bonham's auction

Publish Date: 
Apr 30, 2013

STAFFORSHIRE, England – A 1952 Vincent Black Shadow brought the top price of £113,500 (US$176,650) in the April 28 Bonhams auction at the International Classic MotorCycle Show at the Staffordshire County Showground.

The fully-restored, ex-works machine formed part of the factory’s bid to set a new 24-hour speed record at Montlhéry in France in May 1952. Although mechanical failures prevented the bid from being successful, the British team returned home with eight new records, including six hours at over 100mph.

Total bids topped £1.4 million (US$2.4 million). Among other highlights was a 1931 Brough Superior SS80 motorcycle won in a raffle more than 40 years ago (£57,500/US$89,495), and a 1914 Indian Model F once owned by actor Steve McQueen (£32,200/US$50,116).

An eclectic selection of 30 machines owned by the late Clifford Jones proved popular with bidders, selling for a total of more than £175,000. The collection featured a number of 1950s ‘cafe racers’, as well as much modern-day racing and superbike machinery.

Meanwhile in the automobilia section, two Akai Yamaha race helmets worn by the legendary Barry Sheene in the 1980s fetched a combined total of £10,000, selling for £6,875 (Lot 105) and £3,125 (Lot 104) respectively.

“Once again our auction at the ‘International’ Classic proved to be exactly that, with interest from bidders from across the globe,” said Ben Walker, head of the Bonhams motorcycle department. “Record-breaking machines like the 1952 Vincent Black Shadow and the movie star charisma of Steve McQueen were among the draws for the crowd, and there was fierce competition for the Ducatis in the collection of the late Clifford Jones.”

Posted by Holly Wagner