Aussie bike tops world valuable lists

Jack Ehret's Vincent Black Lightning collection valuable

A 1951 Vincent Black Lightning on which Jack Ehret set an Australian speed record has topped lists as the world’s most valuable motorcycle and the biggest increase in value.

The bike is now returning to Australia after being bought on Australia Day 2018 at the Bonham’s annual Las Vegas motorcycle auction for a record $US929,000 ($A1,155,000, €748,500) by an unknown collector.

Bonhams say the bike increased 4475.23% in value because of its racing history, rarity and unrestored condition.

The Aussie Vincent tops two lists that the company has put together of the 10 most valuable motorbikes and those that have appreciated the most in value.

Top 10 most valuable motorbikes

Tony Ehret's 1951 Vincent Black Lightning valuable
Tony Ehret’s 1951 Vincent Black Lightning
  1. 1951 Vincent Black Lightning – £ 657,652 
  2. The ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project – £ 331,900
  3. 1929 Brough Superior 968cc SS100 – £ 315,000
  4. Rare ‘one-of-one’ Black Shadow variant in Chinese Red – 1951 Vincent White Shadow – £ 305,210
  5. 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-A Rapide – £ 275,900
  6. 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project – £ 270,300
  7. 1927 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – £ 259,100
  8. The ex-George Brough, London-Edinburgh Trial – 1939 Brough Superior 990cc SS100 – £ 253,500
  9. The ex-Murray Motorcycle Museum, 1934 Brough Superior 996cc SS100 – £ 242,300
  10. 1926 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – £ 236,700

Top 10 by value appreciation 

Brough superior valuable
George Brough’s Brough Superior SS100

(inflation adjusted appreciation value)

  1. 1951 Vincent Black Lightning – 4475.23%
  2. 1929 Brough Superior 968cc SS100 – 3023.07%
  3. Rare ‘one-of-one’ Black Shadow variant in Chinese Red – 1951 Vincent White Shadow – 2789.63%
  4. The ex-George Brough, London-Edinburgh Trial – 1939 Brough Superior 990cc SS100 – 2735.30%
  5. The ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project – 2666.55%
  6. 1927 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – 2585.46%
  7. 1926 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – 2422.67%
  8. The ex-Murray Motorcycle Museum, 1934 Brough Superior 996cc SS100 – 2164.34%
  9. 1937 Matchless 1,000cc Model X – 1008.66%
  10. 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Series-A Rapide – 981.17%

Lists flawed

The lists are dominated by British bikes, particularly the Brough Superior.

However, the lists are flawed because they do not recognise bikes sold by other auction companies.

For example, there is no mention of the previous record holder, a yellow 1915 Cyclone owned by Steve McQueen and sold at a Mecum auction for almost $A1 million in 2015.

Steve McQueen's Cyclone valuable
Steve McQueen’s Cyclone

There is also no mention of a pre-production 1968 Honda CB750 motorcycles that recently became the most expensive Japanese motorcycle after fetching £161,000 ($A285,650, $US263,725) at a H&H Auction.

That’s a 17,540% increase in value.

Valuable Pre-production Honda CB750
Pre-production Honda CB750

Nor is there mention of a Honda XUC 91H “monkey bike once” owned by John Lennon that sold through H&H Classics at the National Motorbikes Museum for £56,250 (about $A100,300, €63,150 $US77,900).

John Lennon on his Honda monkey bike valuable
Lennon on his monkey bike

That’s about a 15,000% increase in value.

There is now some doubt over the Lennon monkey bike’s authenticity after another bike with the same number plate was sold in 2008. The owner claimed it was given to him by Ringo Starr.

However, H&H says their bike has the log book and matching frame and engine numbers for the plate.

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