My Car Quest

April 13, 2024

Collector Motorcycles Are Becoming Even More Collectable

by Mike –

For many motorcycle enthusiasts, the greatest thrill comes from riding their bikes on a regular basis. However, there are more and more people who not only love to ride, but who also acquire collector motorcycles – rare and unique classic motorcycles.

If you are a collector or you want to start finding and restoring vintage motorcycles, then be sure you are getting the best deal and most value for your money and time.

Collector Motorcycles-1949 VINCENT BLACK SHADOW-Sold $110,000

1949 VINCENT BLACK SHADOW-Sold $110,000

One way to determine if your new (old) bike is worth something is the age. The longer ago it was manufactured, the better chance it is more valuable than something made recently. However, age is simply a number, having a junker from 1950 won’t necessarily be better than having a pristine bike from 1970. Just like classic cars.

While we could spend all of our time outlining the reasons why some country’s collector motorcycles are better than others, the fact is that motorcycles are built well all over the world. Whether buying aftermarket Honda motorcycle parts or a complete vintage ride, country of origin means a lot. It can also have an impact because you may need to find a mechanic that specializes in imports to check it out and to maintain it.

Collector Motorcycles-1939 BROUGH SUPERIOR 11-50-Sold $160,000

1939 BROUGH SUPERIOR 11-50-Sold $160,000

Brough Superior Collector Motorcycles

Brough Superior motorcycles were made in England from 1919 to 1940. The motorcycles were called the “Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles” by H. D. Teague of The Motor Cycle newspaper.

Approximately 3,048 (19 models) were made; around a third of that production still exists.

T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) owned eight of these motorcycles and died from his injuries when he crashed number seven, the eighth was on order.

Obviously, some collector motorcycles makes are better than others based on the technology and history. With all things being equal, would you rather have a Harley Davidson, a Brough Superior or an unknown bike with some slapped on Yamaha replacement parts? Overall, having something from a respected and known brand will add value to your collection.



You can see this kind of valuation in action at a recent Mecum auction. There you will see all sorts of collector’s bikes going for top dollar, such as the 1912 Henderson Four for almost half a million dollars, and the 1929 Cleveland Tornado which sold for $91,000. If you are interested in bidding for such collector motorcycles, it’s imperative to know what you may be buying.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

All photos compliments of Mecum Auctions, Monterey 2016 and Las Vegas 2017.



Collector Motorcycles-1912 HENDERSON FOUR-Sold $490,000

1912 HENDERSON FOUR-Sold $490,000

Collector Motorcycles Are Becoming Even More Collectable
Article Name
Collector Motorcycles Are Becoming Even More Collectable
There are more and more people who not only love to ride, but who also acquire collector motorcycles - rare and unique classic motorcycles.


  1. Lennox McNeely says

    Thanks Mike –will have to forward to my good wife who has allowed my Black Shadow to sit in our entrance hall
    for years–also we need to thank Rollie Free for the escalation in Vincent bikes.

  2. … or you can have a newer one that accelerates so fast it makes your vision blur…

    • Dan,

      You are right – but who really needs than kind of speed, except for racers?

      • Georgeg20 says

        Since selling my last Alfa, a1969 Spider 1750, I got involved in bikes. My poison are Bimota, creation of Masimo Tamburini who went on to design Ducati Paso 750 and of course the 916 that put Ducati back on track as a maker of Italian superbikes as well as the MV Augusta F4, one of the most beautiful bikes ever created. It all started with Bimota who used Japanese, Italian and even BMW engines in its superbly designed frames. This was at the time when Japanese achieved the engine building technology but put their power trains into spaghetti frames equipped with crappy brakes. Tamburini succumbed to cancer in 2014 And now it looks like Bimota is calling it quits. I have just 2 models, the YB10 and the SB8R, the first street bike to use carbon fiber in its frame construction back in 1999. Needless to say only a handful of each model were produced worldwide. When new, these were by far some of the most expensive motorcycles in the world.

        Term “superbike” was first applied to Honda CB750, Bimota redefined it in the sense that we understand it today. As for who really needs that kind of speed, I’m sort of surprised hearing that from you Mike. It’s for the same reason you owned some of the best super cars around. It’s a great feeling when I jump on a 26 year old YB10 and be as sharp as the guy who just rolled a 2017 sport bike off the showroom floor. I don’t race or track my bikes but it’s nice to know what you have under the hood and in case of motorcycles between your legs.

        The beauty of motorcycles is that there’s is something for everyone. Unlike cars, it’s still relatively inexpensive. You can get a nice collector bike under $15k, which you can still enjoy. Of course, old American iron is mostly for display but there those that still excersided their HD and Indians on regular basis. Glad to find this posting on mycarquest.

        • George,

          Thank you for this fascinating information about motorcycles. I had a chance to ride a friend’s Honda CB750 in the ‘70s and I thought it was as fast as I wanted a motorcycle to be. I also shared a Honda mini-bike when I was a kid with my 2 brothers and we all had a blast.

          I love speed and power, however, I am not a fan of over the top unnecessary power which is found today in many modern supercars and motorcycles.

          For a 2-seater sports car I want the power and torque off the line to pin the passenger to the seat so they cannot touch the dashboard. Any more power than that is not really useful to me. I do not care about top speeds over 150 MPH because I will not go there, although a 200 MPH speedometer is cool.

          I have had this pleasing off the line acceleration with the following: Ferrari 550, Ferrari 360, Iso Grifo with 383 Chevy Stroker and the AC Cobra Mk. IV. Several other sports cars I have owned do not meet this requirement. I am not including the GT cars with a back seat like the Lamborghini Espada.

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