Thursday, April 25, 2024
HomeNEWSfreddie frith velo and john surtees ducati to be sold

freddie frith velo and john surtees ducati to be sold

On 23 April, Bonhams Motorcycle Department will once again fill the auction hall of the Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show for its Spring Stafford Sale. Headliners include a world championship winning machine, barn finds and crated 1990s superbikes, together with “a plethora of affordable classics for every taste and budget”.

Velocettes with a significant race history rarely come to market, let alone a world championship, Isle of Man TT and Grand Prix-winning example, yet the sale’s leading lot is just such a machine. The 1948 Velocette 348cc KTT MkVIII Works Special racing motorcycle (£120,000 – 150,000) was raced by Freddie Frith in 1949 to win the 350cc class of the FIM World Championship in the competition’s debut year. As is often the case with racing machines, the works Velocettes were dismantled and sold on, but thankfully the engine and frame from the ex-Frith 350 were reunited and rebuilt using genuine works parts. With its purposeful appearance, it is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful racing motorcycles ever made, and is offered ready to either race or parade.

At a time when the average family saloon was barely capable of reaching 70mph, the Vincent Black Shadow was capable of tearing along at 120mph, faster than any production vehicle of the time. Unmatched by any other vehicle on the road, the Black Shadow was fast and furious. As Vincent enthusiasts will know, not every Shadow-specification machine left the factory with the distinctive black-finished engine casings, the few that did not being known as White Shadows. Last ridden in 1976, this machine was put into storage in a family shed and promptly forgotten. Upon its recent rediscovery by the family, it was mistaken for the slightly more common (although still highly desirable) Black Shadow.

However, closer inspection revealed that this was one of the rarest models and one of only 15 ever created – a 1949 Vincent 998cc White Shadow Series C Project (£50,000 – 60,000). ‘Barn find’ Vincents of any kind seldom come to light and when they do are highly sought after, and this White Shadow – one of the rarest of post-war Vincents – has to be one of the most desirable.

If unused condition is more your style, then the never-before ridden 1998 MV Agusta 750cc F4 Serie Oro (£28,000 – 36,000), number eight of 300 may fit the bill. It represents a seriously rare opportunity to be the first rider of a bike built nearly two decades ago. We are advised that this is the first F4 Oro to be sold to a member of the public, as the first machines were sold exclusively to MV Agusta executives and royalty. Designed by Ducati 916 creator Massimo Tamburini and introduced at the 1998 Milan Show, the F4 has become part of MV legend. In a publicity masterstroke, the factory announced that production would commence with a limited edition of 300 very special F4s: the ‘Serie Oro’ (Gold Series). The price was set at around double that of the standard F4 Strada, yet every single one had been sold prior to delivery, such was the demand. That stratospheric price tag was explained by the exotic materials employed in further reducing weight.

Believed to be one of two machines constructed around the ex-Works Ducati 250 DOHC engines incorporating a special Reynolds frame, this c.1960 Ducati 250GP Racing Motorcycle (£80,000 – 100,000) can count Mike Hailwood and John Surtees among its former owners.



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