The 10 Most Valuable Vintage Motorcycles
Clint Lawrence, founder of Motorcycle Shippers. Helping give riders more freedom to enjoy the bikes they love. [email protected]
A 1951 investment of $710 nets $929,000 at auction
Upward trending gas prices might be one of the reasons you choose a motorcycle over a car, but let’s face it, the biggest draw of a motorcycle is still the incredible feeling of the ride.
The freedom of the open road isn’t just a phrase; it’s a whole lot of obsession, and the obsession doesn’t appear to be diminishing anytime soon. But this obsession comes with a price tag—especially if you’re into vintage.
Vintage retains its crown
There’s a new trend in collecting bikes. While motorcycle sales are still recovering after the 2008 recession, some brands have been doing better than others. And though Millennials seemed to be killing off motorcycling as we’ve known it, the demographics and interests have simply been shifting—and motorcycle companies are taking notice. Today, there’s a growing interest in vintage motorcycles, and some companies, like Honda, are recreating classics to meet buyers where they’re at.
Even so, there’s just something about real, hardcore vintage bikes that we (and we’re sure you) love. While collectible car prices have been starting to dip, rare, classic bike prices are climbing.
Recently, at an event hosted by Mecum Auctions in Las Vegas, a 1941 Indian Four sold for $101,750 and a 1945 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead EL sold for $99,000. And in light of what some classics are going for, that’s pretty cheap. On a similar “low budget” scale is the 1963 BSA 646cc Rocket Gold Star ($34,486), the 1975 BMW 898cc R90s ($28,070) and the 1990 Honda VFR750R Type RC30 ($91,065). We know. If these are “low priced” classics, what are some of the top vintage bikes going for?
Today, the highest priced motorcycle on record is a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning. Only 30 similar models were built by the famous British manufacturer, which operated in England between 1928 and 1954. In January the ’51 Vincent sold for $929,000 at a Bonhams auction. That’s a 4475.23% appreciation since it was released!
Here are few more notable bikes that might be on your radar (even if they are out of most of our budgets):
- 1927 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport Project – $357,695
- 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project $458,197
- 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project $373,157
- 1951 Vincent White Shadow – $421,351
Why the climb?
Several factors are driving the increasing cost of vintage bikes. For one thing, riders are actually riding their vintage bikes rather than just keeping them on display. This increases the need for replacement part production. The decline of the U.S. dollar has made it cheaper for a global base to buy in America and ship to other countries. And thanks to the world wide web, vintage bikes are no longer a world away. The web and online auctions have made vintage bikes accessible to a global customer base, bringing more buyers to the table (and more demand always means higher costs).
If you find a great deal on a vintage bike Motorcycle Shippers can help get it delivered right to your door.
Do you have a bike that has appreciated in value? What is your dream ride? We want to hear from you!