When it comes to rare and exotic vehicles, Bonhams has always impressed the auto enthusiasts with their auction catalogs. This time, Bonhams made an uncommon announcement that a complete 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller motorcycle has been consigned and will be offered on January 6, 2011 at the firm’s first annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction.
Coming from a private American collection where it has resided for approximately half a century, this 115-year old motorbike has been lightly and sympathetically restored some decades ago and is wonderfully patinated. The bike is truly special since it was the first powered two-wheeler to enter series production and is the first vehicle to receive the name motorcycle (motorrad in German).
Earlier this year, Bonhams sold another Hildebrand & Wolfmüller for £86,200 (about $137,250). The 1895 model up for grabs in January is expected to sell for between $130,000 and $150,000. Typically, the chance own an authentic 1895 Hildebrand & Wolfmuller is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” says Bonhams CEO Malcolm Barber. Due to their extreme rarity and historical value they are almost never offered on either the open or private markets. Now Bonhams will have had the opportunity to represent two of these holy grail of motorcycles within the space of a year.
The Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale will take place at The Imperial Palace Hotel and Casino, hosted by the Auto Collections, located on the world famous Las Vegas Strip.
Manufactured in Munich, Germany, the powered two-wheeler features a 1488cc twin-cylinder, water-cooled, four-stroke engine, capable of putting out a measly 2.5bhp at 240rpm. It ran at speeds of up to 30mph during its heyday, which should have you leaving, wheelchairs and baby strollers in the dust. There’s no exact figure on how many such motorrads were produced, but estimates peg it at anywhere between 800 to 2,000 units. Needless to say, surviving examples are extremely rare.