An incredibly diverse collection of machines awaits motorcycle enthusiasts rolling into Las Vegas to participate in the 2022 Mecum Motorcycle Auction Jan 25-29, the world’s largest motorcycle auction. Whether actively bidding online or in person, or simply sitting on hands and observing the action, this year’s auction listings are extensive. Of the offerings, Mecum’s Greg Arnold, Motorcycle Division Director, says “This auction features well over 100 different makes plus their various models. A little less than half of them are American in origin with the rest of the world from Europe to Asia comprising the rest. The sheer variety is staggering.” And of the strength of the market, Greg adds, “Our collector vehicle auction results are very robust. We fully expect antique and vintage motorcycles to continue their upward trend.”

Indeed, collectors and riders alike hoping to pick up a gem will swoon over some of the offerings, including exceptional machines from a 1938 Brough Superior SS100 [formerly mine! – Ed], to several 4-cylinder Indians, 1921 to 1923 Ner A Cars (read our Road Test here), no less than seven Vincents and a 1982 Suzuki Katana. All wonderful. Not to mention one of the most extraordinary opportunities – more than 100 immaculate Harley-Davidsons from the Harley-Davidson Heritage Collection, most professionally restored, one from each model year, and all offered with no reserve. An affordable Knucklehead in the mix? It’s difficult to whittle a list down to just 10 picks, but here’s my esoteric and scattered selection.

Lot T14 1920 Harley-Davidson WF Sport Twin

The 1920 Harley-Davidson Sport twin was their first flat-twin and their first sidevalve motorcycle. There would be more of both! This one is rare and what a restoration! [Mecum]

A rare example of the Harley-Davidson flat twin introduced after the First World War is the Model W, and this is actually one of three Sport Twins from the Harley-Davidson Heritage Collection (there are two from 1919, one restored and one with patina, and this well-restored 1920 machine). Borrowing some engineering cues from Britain’s Douglas motorcycles, most notably the engine layout, the Model W is motivated by a fore-and-aft 584cc flat twin powerplant. Several innovations were included in the Model W, including H-D’s first use of side-valve technology, fully-enclosed drive chain, air filter and twin-spring trailing link front fork. These models had a much lower center of gravity and were powerful and relatively lightweight. That combination made the Model W a capable mount in some forms of competition, but the Made in Milwaukee flat-twin was not a popular seller in the American market and less than 6,000 were built in their three-year production run.

Lot T185 1905 Reading Standard Single

Barn find and original to its board hard tires, this 1905 Reading Standard is in amazingly complete condition. [Mecum]

To some it might look like field rust, to others, this 1905 Reading Standard single shines like solid gold. Built in Reading, Pennsylvania between 1903 and 1924, this particularly early model of the marque used an engine designed by Indian’s Oscar Hedstrom, sourced from the Aurora Automatic Machine Co. That was through a series of negotiations that saw Indian in its earliest days outsourcing engine production to Aurora while building up their own manufacturing facility. While Aurora was building Hedstrom’s engine, the company was allowed to sell the powerplant to other pioneering motorcycle manufacturers, including Reading Standard. By 1906, Reading Standard had designed a proprietary V-twin with side valve technology together with its own single-cylinder models. While there is no history regarding where or when this example was literally unearthed, it obviously has not been messed with and many of its original components remain extant.

Lot T198/Lot F119 1951 Imme R100

Gimme an Imme! One of the wildest engineering jobs in history, Norber Reidel’s masterpiece deserves close scrutiny. [Mecum]

I was raised to mind my manners, but I’ve just got to say, ‘Gimme an Imme!’ There are two of these delightfully innovative Bavarian-built machines here, including this restored model (Lot T198), and a remarkably original and apparently unmolested example (Lot F119). Either exceedingly eccentric or incredibly forward thinking in design principle, the Imme came from the desk of Norbert Riedel. Riedel’s Imme R100, which means ‘bee’ in German, is centered around its egg-shaped 98cc two-stroke single-cylinder engine that hid both carburetor and magneto under its covers. The frame, such as it is, was made up of the same diameter tube as the single-sided fork and rear swingarm. Even more novel, the engine mounted directly to the swingarm, which acted as the exhaust pipe. This had the 4.5 horsepower engine bobbing along in conjunction with the coil-spung suspension. Too cool and these are machines to watch.

Lot T309 1991 BMW K1000 (K1)

A Two-Wheeled Icon of the 1980s, this BMW K1 looks mean in all black. [Mecum]

Now here’s one not often seen, as just 6,921 examples of BMW’s K1, produced from 1988 to 1993, were built. Based on the manufacturer’s K100 4-cylinder platform, which was designed essentially as a touring machine, the K1 was meant to compete in the superbike category, something that by the late 1980s had long been the bastion of Japanese motorcycle makers. Inspiration for the K1 came from styling work done in 1984 by Karl-Heniz Ave, who, according to author Ian Falloon, had built ‘Racer,’ a sports-oriented concept machine for a special exhibit. The K1 is remarkable for its aerodynamic bodywork that consists of a seven piece fairing and a two piece valanced front fender. Underneath it all, BMW had improved the 4-cylinder engine with a new cylinder head with four valves per pot and an increased compression ratio. While horsepower was ‘only’ 95 with U.S. emissions controls, BMW made up for that with the overall slippery form of the K1, and this one is understated in subtle black – others came in a lurid red and yellow paint scheme.

Lot F156 1967 Bultaco Metralla

Born of competition, the Bultaco Metralla is a gem of the Spanish industry – fast, sure-footed, reliable, and oh so beautiful. [Mecum]

Another rarity here is this 1967 Bultaco Metralla. The first Mk I Metrallas ran from 1962 to 1966 while second-generation Mk IIs were built until 1974, making this a first year Mk II. The street-going single-cylinder two-stroke Metralla was based on the same engine that powered many of Bultaco’s off-road models that were popular in the U.S. Engines were all-alloy with cast-iron cylinder liners, and the Mk I model was powered by a 200cc engine good for 20 horsepower. That power output was bumped to 32 hp in 1967 with the Mk II, when overall capacity was increased to 250cc. The Mk II also gained a cog in the gearbox, going from a 4-speed to a 5-speed. Other upgrades included the addition of battery lighting, twin-leading shoe front brake and a unique system to ensure the correct amount of two-stroke oil was added to the gas tank, without the need to mess about with premix. Styling was simple and effective, and the Mk II was said to be good for 100 MPH or more. Approximately 5,000 Mk I Metrallas were constructed, and that many Mk II models also left Bultaco’s Spanish factory.

Lot T191 4-cylinder Honda Super Hawk Custom

A very special special, this all-Honda four-cylinder has the sweet good looks of a Super Hawk with the bang of a 400 Four. [Mecum]

This is one of the coolest customs here, in my opinion, as it looks like it came straight from Honda as a 4-cylinder Super Hawk. Of course, the Super Hawk was originally powered by a parallel-twin 305cc engine, but California builder and fabricator Bob Guynes managed to shoehorn a mid-1970s Honda 400F engine into the 1966 running gear. Everything has been neatly massaged to accept that transplant, including the notched metal side covers that provide room for the four velocity stacks. The four-into-four exhaust headers terminating in the quad megaphones is the epitome of café racer style, and boy, do they look good. Super Hawk gas tank and headlight nacelle blend seamlessly with the seat and cowl, and everything is neatly finished in Honda’s red. Front brake is a 4-shoe unit, meaning it will stop as good as it should go, and it’s offered with no reserve. Woot!

Lot T105 1981 Yamaha SR500H (crate bike)

Nothing to see here, it’s all in your imagination. No, there really is a brand new 1981 Yamaha SR500H inside, one of the most iconic Japanese motorcycles and among the longest-produced models in all of motorcycling – still in production since 1978. [Mecum]

New in the crate is how you’d like to find a vintage motorcycle, and this 1981 Yamaha SR500H, with no reserve, is a tremendous find. Assemble and fettle this bike and put it to good use, as Yamaha’s SR500 essentially paid homage to the halcyon days of single-cylinder, big-bore Brit-bikes such as the BSA Gold Star and Norton Manx. Based on Yamaha’s XT500 engine, in the road-going SR version, the manufacturer did not add extra weight with the addition of an electric starter. The SR is kickstart only, and it employs an automatic decompression system. There weren’t a lot of frills added to the SR, and when first introduced in 1978, it had cast alloy wheels and disc brakes front and back. In 1980, the second-generation SR500H was launched, and it had a drum brake at the rear. By 1981, Yamaha no longer exported the SR to North America, making this a last year for the U.S. example. And, did I mention, it’s in a crate and selling with no reserve.

Lot F205 1938 Triumph Speed Twin (Hamilton collection)

Edward Turner’s masterpiece, and the motorcycle that changed the industry, the original Triumph Speed Twin is a gorgeous today as in the 1930s. [Mecum]

This 1938 5T Speed Twin is a machine from Wayne Hamilton’s Triumph collection and was originally restored in 2004 by renowned Triumph guru Terry Clark of Gig Harbor, Washington. When Triumph’s Edward Turner placed a narrow 500cc parallel-twin engine into his company’s heavyweight Tiger 90 frame, he set a whole new course for the British bike building industry. Within years, most every major English manufacturer was producing a parallel-twin cylinder powered motorcycle. Introduced late in 1937, the first-year Speed Twins were notable for their six-stud cylinder to engine case mounting system. This was a weak point, and Triumph fixed this by 1939 with an eight-stud arrangement. Regardless, the early Speed Twin in Amaranth Red paint just looks proper with its girder fork (only used on the pre-war models), panel tank and solo saddle. Every detail of this Clark-restored Speed Twin appears spot-on, and this is one to watch. Could it set a record for a pre-war Speed Twin?

Lot S135 1932 Scott Flying Squirrel

If you’ve never ridden a Scott, you’re missing a unique experience! Surprisingly quick and handling as if on rails, it’s also dead smooth and lots of fun. [Mecum]

With a model name like Flying Squirrel, what’s not to love? In the very early 1900s when Alfred Angas Scott of Yorkshire wanted to power a bicycle, he took his cues from a light and simple two-stroke engine developed by Joseph Day and Alfred Cock. Scott honed his porting and piston designs running an engine of his own in a boat, and then built a motorcycle in 1901 with a twin-cylinder two-stroke mounted over the front wheel of a bicycle. He went on to develop a frame to hold a twin-cylinder liquid-cooled two-stroke engine in a more conventional position, down low to aid in overall center of gravity. These early Scott machines featured chain drive, a 2-speed transmission and a rudimentary kickstarter. By 1922, and after several Isle of Man race victories, Scott launched the Squirrel, which led to the Flying Squirrel. This one’s powered by Scott’s liquid-cooled 596cc two-stroke engine with 3-speed transmission and is a replica of its TT-winning machine. It looks a treat.

Lot F99 1970 Indian Velo

An Italo-American hybrid, with a Tartarini chassis housing a Velocette Venom motor, the result is a surprisingly fun motorcycle that has aged very well. [Mecum]

A mongrel if ever there was one, this 1970 Indian Velo was the brainchild of Floyd Clymer. A member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Clymer spent a great deal of his life involved in many aspects of the motor industry, playing roles such as magazine publisher and motorcycle manufacturer. The latter came about in 1967 when he bought the rights to the Indian name with intentions to market 50cc to 1100cc machines. One of those was this 499cc single-cylinder Velocette Venom powered model. While the engine was straight from England, just about everything else came from Italy: the double-loop frame by Italjet, forks by Ceriani, shocks by Marzocchi, hubs by Grimeca. While this is not the exceedingly rare Thruxton-powered Indian Velo (VIN would start VMT), it’s had a fresh coat of paint and received other cosmetic and mechanical upgrades. It is still a rare machine as less than 150 Indian Velos were constructed before Clymer’s death in 1971.



Greg Williams is Profiles Editor for The Vintagent.  He’s a motorcycle writer and publisher based in Calgary who contributes the Pulp Non-Fiction column to The Antique Motorcycle and regular feature stories to Motorcycle Classics. He is proud to reprint the Second and Seventh Editions of J.B. Nicholson’s Modern Motorcycle Mechanics series. Follow him on IG: @modernmotorcyclemechanics