Cycle World’s Paul d’Orleans recently looked at the most expensive bikes ever sold at auction.
1. 1951 Vincent Black Lightning: $929,000
Lightnings are very rare, with only 31 built between 1948-52. Their reputation was enshrined by Richard Thompson, whose “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” song is a compelling argument for must-have status.
2. 1915 Cyclone board track racer: $852,000
The Cyclone is arguably the most technically advanced American motorcycle engine until 2001 (V-Rod), with a single overhead-camshaft motor that was considered unheard of at the time. This machine is famous for being previously owned by Steve McQueen, a connection that skyrocketed its price.
3. 1936 Crocker “Small Tank”: $825,000
The Crocker was the American V-twin everyone wanted when it was new (1936-42), but few could afford it. This bike was claimed as the only original, unrestored Crocker still in existence.
4. 1937 Crocker “Small Tank”: $715,000 (tie)
This is a well-documented machine, from arch-enthusiast Chilli Child’s collection in Sydney. A wonderful example of Al Crocker’s handiwork, it features low production and high style.
4. 1907 Harley-Davidson “Strap Tank”: $715,000 (tie)
Ultra-rare, this 1907 “Strap Tank” was the 94th Harley ever built. A single-cylinder model from the first three years of actual Milwaukee production, the bike is in its original, from-the-factory condition.
Image credit: Cycle World