Winter blues got you down? Hop on your hog and hit up Bonhams’ fifth annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction at Bally’s Hotel and Casino on January 8. Imagine the wind in your hair and the roar of the engine beneath you as you browse vintage motorcycles and memorabilia and forget all traces of family holiday strife.
With a low total presale estimate of $5.8 million for the motorcycles on offer, the Bonhams sale is the highest-valued motorcycle auction ever in the U.S., Nick Smith, head of motorcycles at Bonhams, told the Observer. And the auction house’s hopes are high for a big haul at the sale next week.
“The market for classic cars and motorcycles is strong,” said Smith. “When the stock market is doing well, people are taking that money they’re making and buying the toys that they want.”
No matter how much cash you have to work with — or how much actual experience you have on the open road — there’s something at the 334-lot auction that may get your motor running. There’s a “Corky” movie poster from 1972 with a presale estimate of $75-$100 (the movie’s tagline? “Corky’s comin’: Smell the rubber burn. Hear the women scream.”). There’s a weirdly awesome circa-1916 chartreuse Cleveland motorcycle estimated to sell for $14,000-$15,000. And the highest-valued lot is a 1938 Brough Superior SS100 motorcycle on offer for $325,000-$375,000.
If you’ve always fashioned yourself to be an “Easy Rider” type, check out Peter Fonda’s 2006 MV Agusta F4CC. It’s a motorcycle from his personal collection that’s estimated to sell for $60,000-$80,000. Fonda has owned the bike from new — the limited-edition run of 100 motorcycles were originally priced at $120,000 each — and he’s logged more than 2,000 miles on it. Fonda is also selling the Girard-Perregaux watch and leather jacket initially included with each new F4CC. The auction catalog says the watch and jacket are “only lightly worn,” which means interested buyers could have the distinct pleasure of sporting Peter Fonda’s hand-me-downs.
More of a fan of Dennis Hopper, Fonda’s “Easy Rider” co-star and director of the 1969 film? The auction also includes a collection of motorcycles from the late Hopper’s estate, like a 2006 Harley-Davidson V-Rod ($9,000-$12,000) and a 2003 Indian Chief ($10,000-$14,000) complete with fringe-heavy leather saddlebag. Buying one of Hopper’s bikes wins you tangential association with the Guggenheim Motorcycle Club, a group of celebrity motorcycle riders co-founded by Hopper that also included Lauren Hutton, Jeremy Irons and Laurence Fishburne. That’s a provenance sure to get any motorcycle fan revved up.