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