Headlining the motorcycles consigned to Bonhams
first sale at the Grand Palais, Paris is a rare, radial-engined Megola. Powered by a 640cc five-cylinder engine built into the front wheel, the Megola was described by motorcycling historian Erwin Tragatsch as probably the most unorthodox motorcycle ever made on a commercial basis. Only some 2,000-or-so were produced in Germany between 1921 and 1925, and today the few survivors are highly prized by collectors. The example on offer was restored circa 1990, has been tested by La Vie de la Moto magazine and shown at the Salon Moto Légende. It is estimated to sell for 145,000-200,000.
Demand for the legendary Vincent marque continues unabated and this sale contains three fine examples from the same UK-based private collection: a 1949 Rapide Series B (26,000 30,000), 1950 Comet Series C (7,500 9,000) and 1954 Black Knight Series D with fully enclosed bodywork (33,000 37,000).
Another iconic British make, Brough Superior is presented by the recently rebuilt 1936 SS80 on offer. First introduced in 1922, the SS80 - so-called because of its guaranteed 80mph (129km/h) top speed in road trim - achieved instant fame when a stripped-for-racing version ridden by George Brough became the first sidevalve machine to lap Brooklands at over 100mph (161km/h). Estimate 38,000 45,000.
Early BMWs are among the most collectible of pre-war European motorcycles and the two in this sale a circa 1928 R62 sidecar outfit barn find (32,000 35,000) and a fully restored 1928 R42 solo (20,000 30,000) - represent opposite ends of the condition spectrum.
Rendered increasingly rare by the passage of time, barn finds have become more and more sought after in recent years and the circa 1923 Wanderer v-twin in the sale is a particularly charming example. Estimate 17,000 20,000.
Ben Walker, Head of Motorcycles at Bonhams comments, It is wonderful to be offering such a fine selection of motorcycles at Paris premier venue. It will be particularly interesting to see what price the rare Megola fetches.