Viva Vegas Auction



Just back from the Mecum auction in Las Vegas, the annual celebration of classic and vintage motorbikes and collectibles.  This is our third year at this event and the emerging trends are always fascinating to watch. The must-have machine for the past couple of years has been anything bearing the vaunted Vincent label, with prices last year nearing or topping the six-figure mark. This year, that alarming trend seems to be dissipating a bit, as was predicted in our special report, “The Vanishing Vincents” in CRM issue #42 (Dec./Jan., 2016) At the time, the nation’s leading Vincent expert Sommer Hooker told us that, like Model T Fords a few years back, the relatively small market for these British-made singles and V-twins would eventually dry up as most of the folks lusting after them were already in possession of their dream bikes. Most restored Vincents ended up not being enjoyed on the roads where they excel, but stored in private collections, which is a real shame in our opinion. This has left few for would-be collectors., until, that is, those collector’s bikes slowly began to re-emerge into circulation. That appears to be the case at Mecum last weekend as a nice, 1,000cc Rapide sold for just $36,000– and that’s a good 50% less than such a bike would have sold for a year ago. Some other 1950s and ‘60s classics continue to draw top-dollars, such as BSA’s Gold Star singles  ($30,00) and a 1978 Harley-Davidson XLCR cafe Racer topping $23,000. It’s odd to see such prices for what, back in my high school days, was an unpopular bike that sat unsold on showroom floors for years. This may be the time to invest in a 1970s BSA twin as these machines have blossomed from $3,000-$4,000 sellers to bikes worth twice that these days. Custom cafe racers were thin on the ground for whatever reason, with a very nice Ducati ST3 sport-tourer that had been re-born into a sweet cafe custom, failing to garner the owner’s $10,000 or so reserve price (see image above.) If you’ve never attended one of these rolling showcases of vintage two-wheelers, they’re quite worth checking out with the next Mecum event slated for June 1-3 at the South Point Casino. Bring your checkbook- you will be tempted.

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