This weekend brings the 22nd Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show in Stafford and, with it, Bonhams’ 2015 Autumn Stafford Sale. Being unable to make it in person, I thought I’d console myself with a game of Fantasy Auction. What’s that? You’ve never played? Allow me to explain. In Fantasy Auction, you choose a real-life auction and then you set yourself a budget and then you pick the lots you really could be tempted by and what your maximum bid would be. After the auction, you can check the results to see whether you’d have been successful.
I’ve set myself a budget of £5,000 (US$7,700 / €6,800 / AUD$10,600) just to make it realistic for me and to help me focus on the machines where I’d find it difficult to keep my hands firmly in my pockets whilst trying not to catch the eye of the auctioneer lest I should “accidentally” make a purchase. The only other criteria is that it must be something that I’d be able to maintain myself. For this last reason, machines like the pocket rocket Italian racers have not made the cut.
Here then are my picks…and my (fantasy) bids:
Lot 268 – 1973 BMW R60/5
Original and unrestored, it requires re-commissioning (as a minimum) to get it back on the road. Guided at £1,600 – 2,200 and offered with no reserve. Partly motivated by a desire to prevent it becoming the basis of yet another ill-advised bobber or brat conversion, I also think a sympathetic re-commissioning could render it a desirable runabout and, for these reasons, I could be tempted to go as high as £2,600.
Lot 109 – 1964 Cotton 250 Trials
Stored for the last ten years, this machine is guided at £1,600 – 2,000 and offered with no reserve. Again, with nothing more than a simple re-commissioning, this bike has the makings of a fantastic off-road tool and I could be tempted to part with £1,750 to find out just how much fun it could be.
Lot 183 – 1972 Yamaha 250 Racing Replica
Originally a Yamaha YR5 350, this machine has been converted into a “replica” of those fielded by Yamaha in the late ’60s and early ’70s. No simple show piece, this machine has been raced at Aintree, Cadwell Park, Chimay (Belgium) and Billown (Isle of Man). It’s last outing was at the Vintage Motor Cycle Club’s “Festival of 1,000 Bikes” at Mallory Park in 2011. It’s specification includes Fahron 250cc cylinders and pistons, 36mm Mikuni carburettors, Abcon exhausts, Lockheed front brake calliper, alloy wheel rims, Koni dampers, Scitsu tachometer, Bill Roberts tank and seat, and a Meadspeed fairing. It also features an engine built by Peter Thorne from ITV4’s “The Motorbike Show”. All in all, it’s enough to make you check out what’s required to obtain a racing licence these days. With a guide of just £2,000 – 3,000, I’d be tempted up to £2,500.
1977 BMW R100/7
I’ve always been a huge fan of the /7 series BMWs. The local BMW dealer was the nearest motorcycle dealer to where I lived when I was about twelve and, although the motorcycling press of the time could be rather dismissive and insisted they were for old duffers, they really appealed to me because they were so different from the norm. I mean, a cylinder hanging out either side – those crazy Germans! Fast-forward to the present day and this particular machine is typical of the breed and although it has apparently been the subject of a full restoration, it looks nicely original rather than over done. Guided at £3,800 – 4,800, I’d be happy to spend the whole £5,000 if it’s as good as it looks in the picture.
It could be ridden as is but I rather fancy using it as a donor for a cafe racer conversion and, with a little gentle persuasion, it could end up looking like this:
Lot 140 – 1989 Yamaha FZR1000 EXUP
Formerly the property of one Steven Plater (2009 British Supersport Champion), this machine is in reasonable used condition although some minor damage was done transporting it to Stafford (including a snapped o/s footpeg and light grazing to the o/s fairing – doh!). In comparison to supersports machine of today, the EXUP is quite the comfortable cruiser and, as such, will appeal to those who find the cramped position of today’s bikes injurious to spinal well-being. Guided at £1,500 – 2,000 and offered with no reserve, it’d be nice to think this could be acquired for £1,800.
Lot 145 – 1987 Kawasaki GPz900R Ninja
Finally, we have an icon and a machine with which to fulfil any Top Gun fantasies you may harbour. These machines are still reasonably affordable and have a solid backup from the UK owners club. The paint scheme for 1987 is not as desirable, to my eyes, as that of the original from 1984 but is still very easy on the eye. Guided at £2,200 – 3,000, this very tidy looking example could easily tempt me to part with a figure near or at the top end of this range.
When the dust has settled and Bonhams have published the results of the 2015 Autumn Stafford Sale, I’ll be publishing an update to this article to show how I’d have got on.