Time to kill? Trawl this weird yet wonderful rare motorcycles auction catalogue

Forget Bonhams or Mecum... the Aste Bolaffi auction of weird and wonderful rare motorcycles is fascinating - and you don't need much to bid either... 

Aste Bolaffi auction lots

Now and again Visordown will highlight a motorcycle that has popped up for auction somewhere in the world either because it is very valuable, or expertly preserved or beautifully unusual.

Either way, chances are there will be a reason why this particular motorcycle would wear a starting bid price tag akin to purchasing a house in cash. Point is, we can look but - ultimately - we can’t touch… oh, how the other half can live.

Which is what makes this particular Aste Bolaffi auction in Italy a particular treat in that its lot is brimming with weird, wacky, yet wonderfully rare motorcycles, scooters and mopeds you’re unlikely to find anywhere else in the world without requiring a second mortgage.

Thumbing (metaphorically) through the online catalogue reveals a variety of models - mostly originating from Italy, but not entirely - that have either been modified from their original base, individually customised or retooled for a particular purpose.

And the best bit? While the most valuable estimate sits at €25,000 - €50,000 - for a scooter, we hasten to add - there are dozens expected to fetch around €1,000 - €5,000… just note, most of these are more affordable because they are not in their original packaging, shall we say…

You can kill a fair bit of time by taking a closer look HERE at the full range available, but you’re a busy person, so we’ve gone to the effort of highlighting our favourites below…

Vespa PX 2000 Rally of the Pharaohs (2011)

Vespa PX 220 Rally Transanatolia (2001)

Est. €25,000 - €50,000 [each]

Tipped as the lots that will fetch the highest bids, these trussed up Vespas may be far from being in their original packaging but at least the miles covered, dents attained and scratches snagged tell a tale of their adventures.

The #18 was one of two Vespas competing in the Rally of the Pharaohs, a challenging sandy event that pushed the iconic humble to its limits in a way not seen since the 80s when someone attempted the Paris-Dakar in 1980(!). Sponsored by Piaggio and, erm, Playboy, given the other entry doesn’t survive, this is a particularly special piece of history.

Similarly, the #19 Vespa tackled six days in the mountains of Turkey and, like its trailblazing cousin above, wears the scars of its expedition with pride. One of only two copies in the world.

DSN Sansone Moto Guzzi (2000)

Est. €15,000 - €30,000

One of our favourite options among this list is the wonderfully oddball Sansone, which is one part tiny tourer, one part maxi-scooter… and all unique. It even exists in its own little self-declared SUB (Sport Utility Bike) category.

Using a Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 as its base, the Sansone was commissioned by DSN (Design Service Network) and designed to be both compact, yet practical with a style that we can envisage on a motorcycle show stand assuming it would never go into production like this.

It is clever too with cameras instead of wing mirrors, plus a double rear trunk and aerodynamic screen.

Honda V-PER 250 DS (1999)

Est. €5,000 - €12,000

One of the few non-Italian origin lots on offer this machine started life as a Honda VTR 250 but after getting the DSN treatment becomes the limited run special, the Honda V-PER 250 (or ‘Vibrated Performance’).

We’re not going to lie, this sleek and dynamic looking pseudo-race bike is a vast improvement on its frumpy donor model, this one even comes with its original user manual and handbook… but it does need a mechanical overhaul if you’re thinking of throwing a leg over.

Moto Guzzi 500 S (1935)

Est. €8,500 - €15,000

Moto Guzzi features strongly in this auction but - for us - this is the lot we’d be getting itchy fingers over. This glorious 500cc four-stroke pre-WWII motorcycle is brimming with impressive tech for the day, such as opposing valve timing, parallelogram fork and compass shock absorbers. 

Oh, and just look at it!

Laverda SF 2 (1974)

Est. €5,000 - €10,000

Laverda may be no more as a brand but there is no mistaking its signature orangey-red branded hues of this beautiful SF 2 cafe racer.

Designed as Laverda’s reaction to the influx of models coming over from Japan in the 1970s, the SF 2 was a big success for the company at the time. This particular version is registered in the FMI Historical Register.

Gilera Saturno Sport (1949)

Est. €10,000 - €15,000

Find me a motorcycle from 1949 that at quick glance could be grouped with today’s Modern Classic offers and pretend it’s a contemporary model?

This restored, pristine 500cc Gilera Saturno Sport is distinguished by glorious swooping curves and expert detailing that really wouldn’t look out of place in a Moto Guzzi or FB Mondial range…

Ducati 175 Sport (1961)

Est. €5,000 - €10,000

Of course, no Italian auction is complete without a few examples from Ducati but the finest is this 1961 Ducati 175, this Sport version - plus the sister Turismo - were the first motorcycles from the Borgo Panigale firm to feature a four-stroke single-shaft engine.

Aermacchi Ala D’Oro (1968)

Est. €22,000 - €35,000

Aircraft firm Aermacchi dabbled in motorcycles in the 1960s and came up trumps with this beautiful and sporty Ala D’Oro.

Wearing its aeronautical ties with pride and ‘flew’ to numerous national racing wins with Alberto Pagani, Gilberto Milani and Renzo Pasolini

Solex 6000 (1970)

Est. €150 - €4,000

Got a spare €100 kicking about? Well, that’s the base offer being allowed on this adorable 1970 50cc machine from French company Solex. Worth it for the bragging rights of having won an international auction, surely?

Norton M18 - Sidecar (1930)

Est. €6,500 - €13,000

It’s a pre-WWII Norton with a sidecar? Shut up and take my money!