Webbs lastest offerings to those with bulging wallets was held on the evening of March 22 at their now regular site of Shed 5, Wellesley St, Auckland. Deemed more of a autorama auction than just a motorcycle auction as it also included some interesting cars and some very nice collectibles model cars, advertising signs, and an interesting NOS (New Old Stock) WLA Harley Davidson motor as dispatched in its original crate from the factory. It reached 10K but with an estimated $14~$16k it closed as ‘Conditional’. It would have to be pure novelty value in owning such an item as one can buy a reasonably original and tidy roadworthy WLA motorcycle for $15~20K. But then again how many of these crated engines are still out there.
Would make a good coffee table.
I wasn’t aware that the auction was on until after the event, however I know a person, who knows a person, who sleeps with a person (not gender specific here) who had a friend who went, and he kindly lent me the auction catalogue which included all the hammer prices of machinery listed. There were 8 pre 1945 machines up for offer which I have posted the hammer prices below. I have also included the price for the 1946 Indian Chief as it really is a pre war design, and also for the 1950 Vincent Rapide as it technically is a girder (of sorts). This bike would have to have been a great buy at $52,500 (plus BP and GST) as a couple of months ago a 500 Comet went for $47 000 in a different auction. And compared to the 1955 Vincent Black Knight Series D with an estimate of 90~120k that only reached $80k (conditional) it was an even better buy. There were another 21 post 1950 machines including a nice Matchless G50 Rickman race bike (my favourite over the ever popular Manx Norton) with few machines selling outright on the night, and 4 withdrawn with no bids.
Motorcycles of interest would be the 1902 Norton Energette, one of the oldest Norton in the world with a very interesting history. Next would be the 1927 Royal Enfield. Imported into New Zealand in 1994 it was to reward its then owner the prize at many rallies for the Fastest Vintage. Despite being a side valve 488cc it was quick and on rallies could often be seen hiding behind bushes as the owner tried to loose time so as not to arrive at the next check point too early (and loosing valueable points). The 2 DT Douglas racers hold some interesting history being Ben Bray and Wally Kilmisters machines, and even though they have been heavily modified from original I hope that should the new owners be in New Zealand they appreciate what they have bought and leave the machines as they are. To restore them back to factory catalogue condition would remove any historical value to New Zealand and possibly devalue them (but then again at the prices paid these bikes were cheap).
My pick would be the 1927 Royal Enfield. Even though it is a bit scruffy (an older restoration) it is a flat tank with appeal and as a 488cc sv with a 4 speed hand change gearbox would provide hours of fun.
As I didn’t attend there are no personal photographs however to see what was on offer I have used the catalogue photographs courtesy of Webbs Auctions.
|95K – Conditional
|One of the oldest Nortons in the world.
|Indian Light Twin 680cc Model B
|30K – Conditional
|High quality machine
|Royal Enfield Model 500 488cc sv
|12K – Conditional
|Scruffy but a flat tank bike with appeal
|Harley Davidson 350 OHV Model BA
|12K – Conditional
|Beautiful condition the best.
|Tidy Not Original
|Modified with racing history
|Tidy Not Original
|Modified with a later 4 speed foot change gearbox has racing history
|Indian Chief 1200cc
|Harley Davidson Model EL -Knuckle
|40K – Conditional
|25K – Conditional
|HRD Vincent Series B Rapide
|Very nice bike a good buy for a Vincent
For the motorcycles that didn’t sell outright (are conditional) Webbs will have their work cut out to broker a deal between owners and the top bidders. Lets hope that should some of these machines get new owners that perhaps we will see some of them out on the roads.