"Top Gear" Star Auctions Off Four of his Motorcycles
He may be famous for his love of all things four-wheeled, but James May—longtime presenter and star of the BBC’s Top Gear—is a motorcycle fan through and through. In a rare occasion, the Top Gear star offered up four of his classic Honda motorcycles at this past weekend’s Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale, highlighting two days of eye-opening bids and a total of £3.6 million ($5.5 million at today’s rates) worth of motorbikes sold. Quite the haul. May’s collection included a 1967 Honda CB450 "Black Bomber", 1970 Honda PS50 Sports Moped, 1967 Honda P50 Moped, and a 1973 Honda XL70 Trail. All told, three of the lots tallied an impressive $16,564 when the gavel fell, with the sleek ‘Black Bomber’ (pictured top) leading the way at $9,235. The CB450 is regarded as Honda’s first “big twin” bike and bucked the trend when it debuted in the mid ‘60s. May’s Honda XL70 Trail (pictured below) and PS50 are also said to be relatively rare in the United Kingdom as well. RELATED: Watch Jeremy Clarkson's 11 Best Top Gear Moments
Earlier this year at the auction house’s spring sale, James May was joined by fellow Top Gear star Richard Hammond in auctioning off a few more of their prized motorbikes—eight from May and four from Hammond. Highlights of that event included May’s "Grievous Angel" bike, built in 2010 by custom shop Deus Ex Machina, as well as Hammond’s 2010 Norton Commando 961SE—the 45th of only 200 built in the first run—which sold for $23,442.
Beyond the Top Gear provenance there were plenty of other highlights on the weekend. Top sellers included a pair of 1926 and 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport projects, which sold for $366,614 and $401,309, respectively. The always chart-topping Indian marque was represented by a 1934 Indian 750cc Sport Scout, which had previously been owned by Steve McQueen. It sold for $92,528.
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