Every evening some nitwit newsman tells me the economy is on better footing, as quoted by some existential survey or “indicator” that makes sense to no one except the institute which dreamt up the silliness. Talking to friends who are still banging on doors for work, and bike builders whose loyal client base have all but disappeared, I get a different reality of what we’re all facing. Then, I saw the results from last week’s Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, and, well, maybe things are getting better – for some of us anyway. This is the third year Bonham’s has hosted the auction at Bally’s Hotel and Casino, where record crowds watched machines from museums and private collections go on the block. By the time the hammer fell on the final lot, # 476, total sales had exceeded $2.6 million.
Two rare racing BMW’s led the fray, continuing a trend for collectors and this particular marque. A slick 1939 BMW Rennsport RS255 Kompressor went for $480,000 followed by a 1954 BMW Rennsport RS54 at $167,800. Both went to American collectors. A 1952 Vincent Black Shadow reached $134,800. There were a few deals, too, like the red 1947 Indian Chief ($27,600) or 1934 Harley-Davidson 34B Single ($16,100).
Okay, so few (any?) of us reading this will ever find ourselves at a classic moto auction, let alone fight one another for ownership. Maybe it doesn’t say anything about the US economy as a whole. But It’s nice to know that these bikes are out there for the taking. One of the great things about our biker community is an absence of ridiculous jealousy. I can genuinely be happy for the dude who dropped a half million dollars for the Kompressor, and hope he throws a leg over its side to experience what it was built for. – Mark