The Bonhams Stafford sale is always the biggest and most important motorcycle sale in Europe, held every Spring and Autumn during the Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show at the Stafford fairgrounds.  This month, over 450 lots will come under the hammer on October 19th and 20th, and the range of what’s on offer is mind-bending: from rare photographic collections of British racers like Stanley Woods, to Mike Hailwood’s gold Heuer chronograph wristwatch, to project bikes like Manx Nortons, and hundreds of amazing complete motorcycles from every era, from Veteran to modern, Broughs to Bimotas.  Truly, something of great interest to everyone!  Here are a few of our favorites:

c.1955 Vincent Amanda Water Scooter 

The first of its kind: the Vincent Amanda personal watercraft [Bonhams]
Not many know Philip Vincent, besides dreaming up the legendary singles and V-twins that etched his name in history, also invented the personal watercraft? Decades before the Sea-Doo, Vincent knew how to stimulate the yeehaw center in our brains, and dreamed up this fiberglass-hulled water scooter with a 75cc two-stroke engine.  This is legend: you know you need one.

1982 Triumph TR65T Tiger Trail

The furious (very) few: a 1982 Triumph TR65T Tiger Trail, one of half a dozen built, and in excellent condition. [Bonhams]
Is this the ultimate Triumph dirtbike?  Probably, as it was certainly the last from the old Meriden works, built by the Co-Op that took over production when an incompetent Board of Directors decided to shut the plant down in the strongest labor union era in British history. The 650cc Tiger Trail is rare as hen’s teeth, and it’s estimated perhaps only six were built!  We love the color scheme and graphics, and the very vintage-ness of its configuration, a slightly clunky but fabulous and incredibly chic machine today.  Don’t take it to Dakar – ride it on the high street and be famous.

c.1974 Egli-Triumph 750cc OHC triple

Wicked cool: a factory converted OHC Triumph triple engine, installed in an Egli chassis. [Bonhams]
Go ahead, kick every other 3-cylinder Triumph or BSA into the dustbin: this is one of two factory OHC prototype motors ever built! Cobbled up at BSA’s Kitts Green factory in 1974, it was Bill Crosby who took the engine and installed it in an Egli spine frame for racing.  This is badass on a far deeper level than the average garage special, this is factory racing goodies put to work in the best chassis of the period.  Put lights on it, and kick butt in the corners and at the Ace Cafe.

1930 Ascot-Pullin

Rare and futuristic, the Art Deco 1930 Ascot-Pullin. [Bonhams]
This is a simply awesome Vintage-era machine, bristling with innovative technology, with a lot of firsts when introduced in 1928.  ‘The New Wonder Motorcycle’ used automotive ideas, like a pressed-steel monocoque chassis and hydraulic brakes. The OHV 500cc flat-single engine drove through helical gears, and the whole package is light and handled beautifully…and kept your trousers clean like a scooter.  A real rarity too, as only 400 or so were built.  For more info, check out The Vintagent’s Road Test of an Ascot-Pullin here! 

1938 Matchless Model X

The reasonably priced, cruise-all-day Matchless Model X. [Bonhams]
Matchless nailed it with the name: the Model X.  Does it get any better?  If you’re put off by the cost of a Brough Superior, here’s your huckleberry, as the engine is the same AMC-produced 1000cc V-twin as the late SS80 model, but the better-braked Model X is half the price.  With a shorter wheelbase and lovely Art Deco styling, the Model X is a superstar in its own right, and a lovely thing to ride.  How do we know?  Check out our Vintagent Original film, ‘Model X’ by David Martinez, here! 

1979 Yamaha TZ750F

Wild and wooly smoker: the TZ750F was the ultimate in brutal 1970s two-stroke production racers. [Bonhams]
Beside the Yamaha TZ750, every other factory production racer pales. The 750cc two-stroke monster defined an era of wicked power delivery and affordable Grand Prix technology.  It was the big-bore racer that brought up an era of incredibly braver riders who mastered the beast, and won races around the world.  Less than 800 of the TZ750 series were built, and they pretty much define ‘awesome’.  Watching old film clips of these raced in the 1970s is inspirational, and of all the bikes at Bonhams this year, this is the ultimate living-room special, unless you have enormous huevos and want to campaign the thing.

Check out the whole Bonhams Stafford catalog here.


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.