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Steve McQueen’s Triumph Is Just One of the Rare and Renowned Motorbikes Headed to Auction

Bonhams is also putting a notable Ducati and Harley-Davidson on the block in Las Vegas.

A 1938 Triumph 5T Speed Twin 500. Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Bonhams promises a strong lineup for its next Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, taking place January 24, 2019, at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino. Premier lots include examples from Ducati, Triumph, and Harley-Davidson that span nearly the entirety of the 20th century as far as production years.

The 1993 Ducati 550cc Supermono on offer, estimated at $95,000 to $125,000, is one of just 67 of its kind produced. Ducati created it for the Sound of Singles race, a contest for single-cylinder motorcycles, and it might be the best-loved work by Ducati design chief Pierre Terblanche.

“The Supermono was regarded as a resounding triumph,” says Bonhams motorcycle specialist Craig Mallery. “It’s a very curvaceous design. There’s very little that’s angular about it. It’s a beautiful bike, very compact.”

Though the model is more than 20 years old, few have gone to auction. Bonhams presented one in 2015 that did not meet its reserve. The flagrantly red Supermono destined for sale in 2019 has appeared at track days, but has never been raced.

A 1993 Ducati 550cc Supermono.

Ducati’s 550cc Supermono on offer.  Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Also on offer is a 1938 Triumph 5T Speed Twin 500 that belonged to Steve McQueen and carries an estimate of $55,000 to $65,000. The late actor was a noted fan of the British motorcycle marque. This bike was one of four Triumphs dispersed in the two-day McQueen estate sale in 1984. Without the famous provenance, the motorcycle would still command a five-figure price. As it happens, there’s a similar Triumph among the lots, rumored to be estimated at $38,000 to $48,000 (though not yet listed).

A 1938 Triumph 5T Speed Twin 500.

The 1938 Triumph once owned by Steve McQueen.  Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Another likely star is a 1916 Harley-Davidson Model F that sat untouched for decades while stored in New England. It survived largely intact: Its tank retains its red pinstripe decoration, and its front wheel has kept much of its rubber. If the motorcycle seems familiar, you might have seen it on an episode of Chasing Classic Cars.

A 1916 Harley-Davidson Model F.

Harley-Davidson’s 1916 Model F presented by Bonhams.  Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Estimated at $80,000 to $100,000, the unrestored Harley-Davidson will be offered with no reserve. “It’s got complete fenders and bodywork. You can look at it and tell what all the parts are,” says Mallery, adding that bikes of the same vintage, found in similar circumstances, have suffered from twisted and broken spokes, rusted bodywork, and seats that crumble when touched. “This has a full patina and original parts,” he says. “There were probably items that were replaced over the course of its life, but there’s no evidence of reproduction parts.”

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