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Bonhams is known for selling the most expensive motorcycles in the world. The 2021 Bonhams auction was no exception. The weekend consisted of many impossibly rare six-figure vintage motorcycles (no Harley-Davidson bikes to be found) like Brough Superiors, a Vincent Black Shadow, and the most expensive motorcycle of the bunch, a race-winning AJS 500cc E90 ‘Porcupine’ that went for crazy money. 

The king of vintage motorcycles, the AJS Porcupine just sold becoming one fo the most expensive motorcycles in the world
1946 AJS 500cc E90 ‘Porcupine’ Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle | Bonhams

The 1946 AJS 500cc E90 ‘Porcupine’ was the most expensive motorcycle sold at the 2021 Bonhams auction

According to New Atlas, only four of these legendary racing motorcycles were ever built. This particular one just crossed the block at the 2021 Bonhams Auction is the first and only of its kind to ever go to auction. That being said, bidders were fired up. 

It’s not just the rarity that makes this AJS so valuable. The AJS E90 won the very first World 500cc Motorcycle Championship and the manufacturer’s championship for AJS. This may not mean much to the average person, but for vintage motorcycle collectors and MotoGP racing fans, it means a hell of a lot. 

Although two AJS E95s have gone to auction (and sold for astronomical amounts of money), this is the first E90, and the price showed. The auction concluded with the highest bid at £293,250 ($406,243). The price of this vintage motorcycle lands it in the upper crust of the World’s most expensive motorcycles. 

There were other pricey bikes at the 2021 Bonhams Auction as well

1951 Vincent 998cc Series-C Black Shadow
1951 Vincent 998cc Series-C Black Shadow | Bonhams

According to The Classic Cars Journal, the Porcupine led a 90-item sales blitz from all eras, from historic racers to “everyman classics,” Bonhams said. The weekend had a 98 percent sell-through rate for a total of £3,585,000 ($4,966,000). The three-day sale included bicycles, motorcycle parts, and memorabilia.

The rare vintage motorcycles flowed like milk and honey this year. Some of the most notable and most expensive vintage motorcycles were; a 1973 MV Agusta 750S with fewer than 12,000 miles that sold for £81,650 ($113,111), A 1937 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50 attached to a Petrol-tube sidecar that went for £78,200 ($108,331), and a true barn find 1954 Vincent 998cc Series-C Black Shadow that sold for £54,000 ($75,800).

Noel Pope and his wheelie-ing Brough Superior 

Brough Superior SS100 1,000cc Supercharged Special Re-Creation sold at the 2021 Bonhams auction
Noel Pope re-creation Brough Superior | Bonhams

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While there were many very expensive vintage motorcycles at the 2021 Bonhams auction, one other stood out. The second most expensive sale was a Brough Superior SS100 1,000cc Supercharged Special re-creation, created by master craftsman and engineer Ewan Cameron, which achieved £126,500 ($175,242).

This is a re-creation of Noel Pope’s supercharged Brough Superior that set the high-speed lap record at the legendary Brooklands track in Britain. After only two months of setting the record, WWII had commenced, and the track was used as an aircraft manufacturing site, making a valuable target for German bombing. The track was ultimately too damaged to ever function again. 

This re-creation is a marvelous treasure meant to preserve a rare bit of obscure motorcycle history and culture. The lucky owner of this re-creation clearly agrees with the need to support and preserve this history. 

The 2021 Bonhams auction saw some of the most expensive motorcycles in the world

Every year we see, hear, and learn about some of the most important and most expensive motorcycles in the world, thanks to this auction. These rare vintage motorcycles have found new homes and the history and knowledge they contain along with them.