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RM Sotheby's offers up bikes at Villa Erba sale


LONDON – RM Sotheby’s, theofficial auction house of the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, announced that it will present a single-owner collection of fine motorcycles, comprising some of the most significant machines ever made, at its exclusive Villa Erba sale, May 27th, on the shores of Lake Como, Italy. Dubbed ‘Moto-Icons: From Café Racer to the Superbike’, the collection of 20 bikes comprises some of the world’s most iconic two-wheeled machines, including a selection of concours-condition and race-winning motorcycles from the past 100 years.

The group is headlined by the historic 1928 Brough Superior SS100 “Moby Dick”, which leads a series of five bikes from the famed British manufacturer—examples of which are commonly referred to as the ‘Rolls-Royces of motorcycles’. Equipped with a 1140 cc engine, specially tuned by George Brough and JAP, the “Moby Dick” was labelled by Motor Cycling Magazine in 1931 as the “fastest privately owned machine in the world”, a title earned by clocking 115mph in top gear. Easily the crown jewel of any collection, a more unique and historic road bike would be hard to find. Additional notable highlights from the British marque set for RM’s Villa Erba podium include a 1936 Brough Superior SS100, one of 102 SS100s built with the Matchless engine and presented in excellent mechanical condition; a superb, concours-quality 1938 Brough Superior SS80 De Luxe; and an earlier, V-Twin powered 1933 Brough Superior SS80 De Luxe, bought from Brough Superior owner and CEO, Mark Upham. The group of stunning British bikes is completed by the 2011 Brough Superior SS100 750 “Baby Pendine”, which set a new record in both miles and kilometers at the 2013 Bonneville Speed Trials. One private owner from new, it comes to market in its record-breaking specification.


In addition to “Moby Dick”, the ex-Scuderia Duke 1957 Gilera 500 ‘4-Cilindri’ is also vying for top motorcycle billing at the RM sale. The last of 15 racing 500 GPs made by Gilera, this ‘4-Cilindri’ example was raced by Derek Minter, John Hartle and Phil Read in period. Regarded by many to be the ‘sweet spot’ of the Gilera Four iterations, which underwent many re-designs throughout its production, it’s very unusual for a model of this rarity to be offered for public sale, presenting an exciting ownership opportunity for collectors. It comes to auction in very original condition.


RM’s Villa Erba sale wouldn’t be complete without some Italian superbikes, and with four MV Agustas on offer, bidders won’t be disappointed. Highlighting this group is a well-documented 2010 MV Agusta 500 3-Cilindri, the last of six collaboration bikes created with World Champion Giacomo Agostini. The catalog also includes a 1968 MV Agusta 860 Magni, modified to 860 specification in 2007 by Giovanni Magni, son of famed Arturo Magni, and a 1974 MV Agusta 750 S, originally owned by factory rider Gianfranco Bonera and sporting just 3,270 kilometers from new. Also on offer, a one-of-400 production 1954 MV Agusta 125 Monoalbero Corsa, restored to competition specification and presented in stunning concours condition.


Additional highlights of Moto-Icons: From Café Racer to the Superbike include the 1963 Norton Manx 30M, believed to be Jack Ahearn’s winning bike from the 1964 Finnish Grand Prix; a 1954 BMW RS 54, one of only 24 RS54s built by BMW that year and later restored by former BMW factory racer, Kurt Busch; an early 1919 Indian Powerplus Board Track Racer, among the first generation of motorcycles ever built; and, a matching-numbers, freshly restored 1937 Zündapp K800. The complete collection set for RM Villa Erba can be viewed here.


The Moto-Icons: From Café Racer to the Superbike collection is a terrific fit with the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este weekend, which also includes a motorcycle concours, being staged for its seventh year. In addition to showcasing five different classes, this year’s motorcycle concours will feature a special exhibition titled ‘Youth Dreams – Sporting 50cc in Italy in the 1960s/70s.’

For further information on RM Sotheby’s exclusive Villa Erba sale, please visit or call RM Sotheby’s London office at +44 (0) 20 7851 7070. Additional information on the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este is available at

About RM Sotheby’s


RM Sotheby’s (formerly RM Auctions) is the world's largest auction house for investment-quality automobiles. With more than 35 years’ experience in the collector car industry, RM's vertically integrated range of services, from private treaty sales and auctions to estate planning, and financial services, coupled with an expert team of car specialists and an international footprint, provide an unsurpassed level of service to the global collector car market. In February 2015, RM formed a strategic partnership with Sotheby’s, uniting the two companies for the full calendar of future automobile auctions. For further information, visit

About the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

The world’s most exclusive and traditional heritage event for historic automobiles and motorcycles will be held once more on the shores of Lake Como, Italy, in 2017. The most beautiful classic vehicles will be presented at Cernobbio in Northern Italy from May 26-28, 2017 in the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. The motto “Around the World in 80 Days – Voyage through an Era of Records” will take the story of automobile production from the early years to the present day, and will even extend the trajectory into the future. This is because apart from award classes for the rarities from the past, the vehicle class for Concept Cars and Prototypes also presents a vision for the automobiles of the future. Over many years, this classic weekend has enjoyed a unique position among beauty contests for classic automobiles and motorcycles thanks to the elegance of the event, the unforgettable atmosphere, and the small, exclusive field of participants. For further information, visit

Concorso d'Eleganza Villa D'Este

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