Top 10 Bonhams bargains

Our picks from the recent autumn Stafford sale

BONHAMS’ recent sale in Stafford was packed with the usual super-expensive Broughs and Vincents, but there was a surprising number of affordable classics and bargain buys to be had if you steered clear of the most obvious ‘classic’ kit.

We’ve picked out 10 that caught our eye as machines we’d love to get our hands on, particularly at the prices they went for. If they whet your appetite for more, or you think we’ve chosen the wrong bikes, you can see the full list here.


1960 Honda C71 Dream, sold for £345

It’s a bit scabby but this is listed as one of the first 144 Hondas ever imported to Europe, and that makes it something special in our eyes. It’s only done 23,000 miles and while there’s plenty of work to be done, it looks like all the original bits are there. At this sort of money it can’t be anything other than a bargain, particularly since a similar bike at the same sale – albeit an immaculate one – took £3,335.

1968 Honda CL450 Street Scrambler, sold for £920

Scramblers are becoming hot property – particularly with Ducati about to get in on the action with its forthcoming V-twin of the same name – and this Honda is the archetype. From the stacked, high-level twin pipes, complete with chrome heat shield, to the semi-knobbly tyres, it’s perfect. Even the rough condition somehow suits the bike’s purpose. For under £1k, who could want for more?

1992 Honda NR750, sold for £57,500

It might seem a stretch to claim any bike sold for £57,500 is a bargain, but you have to remember this is an NR750. It’s a proper, full-power, Euro-spec version too, and one with only 10,267km on the odometer. Like virtually all NR750s, it’s immaculate. They’re not fast by modern standards but the oval-pistoned V4, with 32 valves – eight in each cylinder – is probably the most exotic engine ever seen in a road bike. And that price? Well, it’s around £30k less than the cheapest NR we’ve managed to find on sale in the UK at the moment… So yes, it was a bargain.

1980 Honda GL1000 Goldwing, sold for £7,475

Today the Goldwing is something of a caricature – an overblown comedy take on the idea of a touring bike. But before the excess-all-areas days, the Wing was actually a rather restrained beast, particularly in its early, unfaired, flat-four-powered incarnation. And this one, with only 328 miles on the clock from new, has got to be unique. Not sure quite what we’d do with it. Putting miles on it might seem a shame. But you could just consider yourself lucky to be effectively the ‘first owner’ of a 1980 Wing, and enjoy it, after a bit of re-commissioning to make sure it's safe. At this price it’s cheaper than most new bikes, and far more interesting than any that £7.5k will bag you.

1982 Honda CBX1000, sold for £8,050

This CBX has the same problem as the Goldwing above. In fact, this one has never been used, despite being more than 30 years old. So what do you do with it? Stick it in a museum or just enjoy the feeling of metaphorically ripping the wrapper off a brand new CBX1000, something nobody else has been able to do since production ended in 1982. Again, £8k doesn’t buy any new bike this spectacular, and even used CBXs in good nick can command that sort of money, so riding it might not lead to catastrophic depreciation. Or would you feel guilty robbing the world of what might well be the only brand new CBX in existence?

2004 Honda Dylan 125, sold for £862

No, we’re not endorsing the Honda Dylan 125 as a particularly interesting bike. It’s a utilitarian scooter. But the fact this one was the paddock bike of former Honda F1 driver Takuma Sato during the 2004 season adds enough interest to lift it above the scrap-worthy ranks of similarly-aged Dylans. To be fair, Sato isn’t exactly a Grand Prix legend but his name certainly adds value. Since a quick eBay search turns up non-celebrity versions at around £1,500, somebody bagged a bargain.

1984 Honda XLV750R Africa Twin, sold for £253

Tatty, bashed-up and beaten-about, looking like it’s just ridden through every inch of the continent it’s named after, this Africa Twin isn’t one for the polishing brigade. Which might explain why it sold for only £253, including premium. As with many of the cheaper bikes at the sale, it’s on Dutch papers, which means a bit of work to get it registered, and from the looks of it, passing an MOT might take a bit of effort as well. But we hope the buyer doesn’t change its appearance; every owner of a shiny new R1200GS should hang their heads in shame as this real adventure bike rides past. A nicer one went for a whole £977.

1986 Suzuki GSX400X Impulse, sold for £345

What will £345 buy you these days? It’s £4 too little to get the cheapest iPhone, but it will, it seems get you a bike that’s a remarkable throwback to the 1980s and, as such, probably on the verge of becoming fashionable again. Or perhaps not ‘again’ since these were considered pretty odd when they were new. Considering how rare these are in this country, it might surprise you to discover there was a second one also sold at the same sale, for only £230! But that had a non-original exhaust, so in our dream buying spree we’d have splashed out on the pricier one.

1987 Kawasaki GPX750R, sold for £4,255

We know what you’re thinking: over £4k is a lot for an old GPX750R. But hold on a moment, because this one is the machine that Adrien Morillas rode to victory in only the fourth-ever WSB race. It was the second race of the second round, Hungary 1988, and marked Kawasaki’s first WSB win (and it’s last until 1990). That, surely, is some history worth more than the £4,255 paid for this bike.

1927 Shuttleworth Snap (AJS 2 1/2hp), sold for £4,945

Not really something to ride, and certainly not road legal, this is still one of the most famous bikes in motorcycling history. Or it might be, anyway. The fictional Shuttleworth Snap was the bike ridden by George Formby in the TT film ‘No Limits’. According to its description in Bonhams’ catalogue, this identical-looking machine is ‘believed to have been’ one of the machines used in the film. If that could be proved, this bike’s value would surely be higher…

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