1954 AJS E95 May Fetch Upwards of $750K in August Pebble Beach AuctionWed, 18 May 2011
This uber rare 1954 AJS E95, aka The Porcupine, may become the most expensive motorcycle in the world.
World-famous auction house, Bonhams, has recently announced that it will handle auctioning of an ultra-rare 1954 AJS E95 during the Pebble Beach Car Week held annually in August at the Quail Lodge Golf Club in Carmel, Calif. Bonhams estimates that due to the rarity of the E95 (only four were completed by British brand AJS) it may see a bid as high as $750,000.
According to Hannah Elliott’s blog entry on Forbes.com, a 1915 Cyclone board track racer holds the current record price paid for a two-wheeler with its 2008 sale ringing in $520,000.
Affectionately dubbed “The Porcupine” because of spiked cooling fins on its cylinder head, the E95 was created as a works racer according to Bonhams.
“As far as motorcycles go, the Porcupine is at the very top,” says Bonhams CEO Malcolm Barber. Mr. Barber goes on to say that “comparisons are impossible but bikes of a similar caliber – rarity, significance and worth – could include a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer, 1955 Moto Guzzi V8 or a mid-1960s RC Honda Grand Prix.”
Bonhams says the E95′s scarcity is magnified since all four remaining models are well accounted for, noting that earlier Porcupines “were scraped by the factory.” According to the auction house this particular E95 was on display for more than two decades at the National Motorcycle Museum in England, and that its motor was overhauled by Team Obsolete Equippe.
We’re not sure how some can look at this bike and think of a porcupine, but if you can afford to buy it, call it whatever you want!
Now in its 14th year, the Bonhams automotive sale at Quail Lodge is the longest running auction during the most famous collector car event in the world – Pebble Beach Car Week. Held in conjunction with the prestigious The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, the bike auction is limited to 50 of the finest and most iconic machines, to go alongside the AJS Porcupine. Bonhams notes that it was an E95 that won First in Class at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the first year motorcycles were ever admitted to the event.
In unrelated but equally impressive news, Bonhams recently auctioned Steve McQueen’s 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross motorcycle “for a new world record at an estimate-shattering price of $144,500.” Bonhams says this motorcycle is “identical to the one he famously rode shirtless on the cover of Sports Illustrated.”
By Pete Brissette
See also: 2012 Honda Gold Wing Tour: Day 2, 2012 Honda Gold Wing Tour: Day 1, Pedrosa: most wins, least successful.