Mecum Las Vegas 2023: Top 10 Motorcycles!

Last week was the 32nd annual Mecum Vintage & Antique Motorcycle Auction in Las Vegas, and it was quite the show. North of 1800 motorcycles crossed the auction block, including bikes from 15+ storied private collections, including Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection, Jim’s Forever Collection, and the BMW Centennial Selection.

The 1908 Harley-Davidson Tank Strap we recently featured set a new world record, selling for $935,000, and we rounded up the other Top 10 sales from the auction, as well as some noteworthy selections from the private collections.

1. 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap: $935,000
Discovered in Wisconsin barn in 1941, restored by Paul Freehill of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

2. 1938 Vincent HRD Series A: $330,000
1938 998cc engine (No. V1016) in a 1939 frame (No. DV1755). Correct restoration completed by a renowned Vincent expert with extensive use of original factory non-reproduction parts. One of approximately 78 made.

3. 1925 BMW R32: $220,000
Restored by Hubert Fehrenbach with matching engine, frame, and gearbox numbers. Featured in the famed Guggenheim Museum exhibit “The Art of the Motorcycle.”

4. 1925 BMW R37: $220,000
Discovered 25 years ago at the Marxzelle Museum in Germany in highly original condition, restored by Hubert Fehrenbach to exacting standards. No. 125 of 152 produced.

5. 1927 Indian Ace Four: $214,500
One of just 260 re-badged Aces built by Indian for one year only. Restored to concourse condition.

6. 1922 Ace Sporting Solo: $198,000
Philadelphia’s Ace Motor Corporation, founded by William Henderson, produced motorcycles from 1919-1924, and sporadically until 1927. Unrestored with original paint, matching-numbers, and 1262cc 4-cylinder engine — said to be identical to the model Henderson was riding when he was killed in 1922.

7. 1938 Zundapp K800: $187,000
Pre-war Zundapp with 1938 Stoye model TS Luxus sidecar. First place winner: “Motorcycles” 2022 Jolla Concours d’Elegance and “Other European” 2022 Quail Gathering of the Motorcycles.

8. 1914 Henderson C Model: $176,000
Once known as the “Duesenberg of Motorcycles.” Restoration by Matthew Smith and David Bettencourt. Matching numbers inline 4-cylinder engine rebuilt by Mike Lynch. 2022 Best in Show winner at AMCA, Dixon, California meet.

9. 1916 Henderson 4 Cylinder: $165,000
Rebuilt engine, hand-rubbed paint, free-hand pinstriping, plenty of period-correct parts and rare options such as acetylene light and Stewart speedometer.

10. 1931 Indian 402: $159,500
Third generation of Indian’s four-cylinders, comprehensively restored by Mark and Loring Hill of 4th Coast Fours. Correct Indian Canoe Green and Apache Grey refinished by Pat Murphy.

Private Collections

• Mike Wolfe’s As Found Collection

Mike Wolfe’s 1919 Indian Military Twin sold for $55,000

American Pickers host Mike Wolfe is best known for discovering and rescuing long-forgotten motorcycles in barns, cellars, back fields, and hanging in the rafters of old shops.

“Unknowingly designated as time capsules, their archaic badges and worn rubber waiting to be uncovered and itching to see the light of day — and potentially pavement — once again.” -Mecum

Over the years, the Iowan has assembled a massive private collection, and more than 70 of them were up for auction as part of his “As Found Collection,” mostly including original and unaltered Harley-Davidsons and Indians — all to be offered at no reserve, such as a 1919 Indian Military Twin (sold for $55,000) and a 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (sold for $132,000).

• Jim’s Forever Collection

Jim’s 1972 Knucklehead chopper sold for $55,000

Jim Godwin is the former Harley-Davidson dealer behind Jim’s Forever, Inc. — a 60-year collection of Harley-Davidson’s best. Godwin had more than 100 motorcycles from his private collection offered at no reserve, as well as much of his H-D memorabilia collection — said to be the largest of its kind.

Leading the way were several Knuckleheads, including a restored, bold red and chrome 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead (sold for $52,800), a 1946 FL Springer Knucklehead finished in two-tone red over black with matching fenders (sold for $51,700), and Jim’s 1972 Knucklehead chopper (sold for $55,000), built to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Jim’s Harley-Davidson in Mendon, Ohio.

• BMW Centennial Selection

1926 BMW R42 sold for $110,000.

Owner, curator, and restorer  Hubert Fehrenbach offered the BMW Centennial Selection — a selection of 10 motorcycles from the Black Forest Collection, eight of which he restored himself, including a one-of-152 1925 BMW R37 discovered 25 years ago at Germany’s Marxzelle Museum (sold for $220,000), and a 1926 BMW R42 said to be the earliest R42 still in existence, boasting Frame No. 4 and Engine No. 7, which sold for $110,000.

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