For its first-ever auction at Phoenix-Glendale AZ, Mecum is adding 100 motorcycle to its roster of 1100 cars.  The March 14-17th auction will be televised on NBCSN, and we’ll be interesting to see how the mix of four and two wheels will affect motorcycle prices, after their blockbuster, record-breaking all-motorcycle auction in Las Vegas last January.  The featured lots include the mixed collection of Buddy Stubbs and the all-Triumph focus of the Hamilton collection, which seems of consistently high quality.  While I won’t be a TV commentator on the motorcycle auctions this March, my regular Las Vegas partners Scott Hoke and John Kraman will liven up the action on the small screen (check TV times here).

The ex-Bob Schanz 1934 Brough Superior 11.50 [Mecum]
Featured lots include a 1934 Brough Superior 11.50 formerly owned by Cycle magazine editor and DomiRacer owner Bob Schanz, who ran quite a few Broughs through DomiRacer’s showroom over the years.  His 11.50 looks to be a beautiful restoration, and as an owner of the same model, I’m always curious to take the temperature of the market, and it will no doubt prove an indicator of bidding strength for the new Phoenix auction.  The 11.50 was the sleeper Brough for many years, as the uninitiated could easily remember models with an SS and a number attached, which only proves George Brough’s acumen for selling very expensive motorcycles.  Secretly, though, the 11.50 was well-known as his favorite model in the 1930s, having big torque and a soft power delivery that can still deliver 90+mph performance and very secure handling.

The ex-Buddy Stubbs 1967 Velocette Thruxton [Mecum]
One of the big surprises at Mecum’s Las Vegas auction was the strength of Velocette Thruxton prices, as three examples sold at over $30k, with the top machine hitting $52k, definitely a record for a Thruxton without racing history (the 1964 Barcelona 24-hour / Isle of Man Production TT winner sold at Bonhams’ 2008 Spring Stafford auction for about $75k).  Buddy Stubbs’ 1967 Velocette Thruxton isn’t 100% original, but if you care, the correct bits (clipons, headlamp, taillamp, etc) are easily available.  More importantly, Velocette put the combined wisdom of many TT wins into the Thruxton, which is a remarkable machine to ride even today, with smooth and tireless power combined with peerless handling and extraordinary good lucks.  I’ve owned one since 1989, and it’s my only ‘cold, dead hands’ bike.

A gorgeous cafe racer – a 1973 Healey 1000/4 [Mecum]
Another rarity is this 1973 Healey 1000/4, based on an Ariel Square 4 Mk2 motor in a special lightweight spine frame.  The Healey brothers did for the Squariel what Egli did for the Vincent, providing a modern chassis for an engine far ahead of its frame in the 1940s and ’50s.  Don’t laugh – the 1000/4 was magazine tested at 126mph, which was faster than a Honda CB750, using a 1950s engine!  The quality of construction, engine tuning, and styling is first-class, and this is a machine I’d dearly love to own, as it’s a fantastic café racer.

Class from the past: a 1915 Excelsior V-twin with Goulding sidecar [Mecum]
This 1915 Excelsior with Goulding sidecar is a terrific period piece, an older restoration of a superb American design, with a period-correct Australian sidecar.  Buddy Stubbs found the outfit in New Zealand, which explains the Goulding, and the paint chips and minor rust spots take the lollipop gleam down a notch, and give the bike an air of authenticity. This bike participated in the first Motorcycle Cannonball in 2010, and has had a total mechanical overhaul since then.  It’s a magnificent piece!

Another view of the 1967 Velocette Thruxton [Mecum]
You can find all the motorcycle lots at Phoenix here: check out the terrific variety, and excellent Hamilton Triumph collection.