No X-fac­tor for Ex­cel­sior name, but no short­age of buy­ers at Me­cum’s block­buster Ve­gas sale


Al­most 1200 ma­chines flogged in five short days at Me­cum’s Las Ve­gas spec­tac­u­lar

The own­er­ship of the Ex­cel­sior brand failed to change hands at Me­cum’s spec­tac­u­lar five­day Las Ve­gas sale on Jan­uary 23-27. Bid­ding for the man­u­fac­tur­ing rights, trade­marks and ex­pired patents of the com­pany reached $1.9 mil­lion, but the search for a new saviour for the iconic brand con­tin­ues. But if bud­ding en­trepreneurs were in short sup­ply, those keen to in­vest in some more tan­gi­ble clas­sic me­tal weren’t.

Out of around 1300 bikes on of­fer, a mere 111 failed to find new homes. And the sale re­ally did have some­thing for every­one. At the top end of the scale, Amer­ica-built ma­chines per­formed well, with a beau­ti­fully-re­stored 1911 Har­ley-david­son Model 7D mak­ing top price over­all at $154,000 (£109,075). This ex­am­ple of the first year of Har­ley-david­son’s twins is one of very few known to sur­vive. Proof that the name Steve Mcqueen on a bike’s ros­ter of own­ers still com­mands a premium, if it were needed, was the sec­ond bike in the price stakes. The Hol­ly­wood star’s 1917 Hen­der­son Four made $110,000 (£77,910). Round­ing off the top three was a ’68 Egli-vin­cent replica by French guru Pa­trick Godet. The 1330cc beast sold for $107,250 (£75,962), the sole non-us bike in the top 10. There was plenty more af­ford­able iron on of­fer, too. A sub­stan­tially com­plete 1965 Honda CL72 restora­tion project with 14,343 miles on the clock sold for $1430 (£1013), and a 1950 BSA ZB31 plunger project looked tempt­ing at $1870 (£1325). In the mid­dle ground was a tidy and com­plete-look­ing 1975 Tri­umph T150V – de­scribed as in run­ning or­der – that sold for $6050 (£4286), with a gor­geous re­stored ’65 Tri­umph TR6C that made an em­i­nently af­ford­able $7700 (£5455).

Off-road ma­chin­ery fared well – and there was plenty on of­fer. Many twin­shock-era bikes per­formed well, with prices of­ten rat­tling into the mid-teens of thou­sands. A re­stored 1981 Maico 490 Mega 2, for ex­am­ple, went for $16,500 (£11,688). A pair of first-year Honda CRS – a 1972 125 and a 1974 250 – made $7150 (£5065) and $7700 (£5454) re­spec­tively, and a 1976 Bul­taco 360 Astro flat­tracker brought the ham­mer down at $8250 (£5843). That man Mcqueen had the last word. A 1975 Yamaha YZ360 pre­vi­ously be­long­ing to him sold for an as­ton­ish­ing $61,600 (£43,625) – though it also came with his jeans, boots, hel­met and gog­gles.

Vol­ume, va­ri­ety, value. For both buy­ers and sell­ers, Me­cum man­aged to de­liver an­other sale for every­one.

Sale-top­ping H-D from the first year of twin­cylin­der ma­chines Sold: $154,000

Fine Tri­umph TR6C for re­al­is­tic money Sold: $7700

Mcqueen fac­tor saw YZ reach al­most £44k Sold: $61,600

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