The top 5 motorcycles at Bonhams’ den Hartogh Collection Auction
Most motorcycle enthusiasts would consider 50 two-wheelers to be the pinnacle of ownership. But in the Piet den Hartogh Collection and Museum in Hillegom, Netherlands, just outside of Amsterdam, the sizeable motorcycle collection is an afterthought. Bonhams will auction off the bikes on June 23, a footnote to the real show stoppers—200 immaculately restored Fords, thought to make up the world’s largest single collection of Ford automobiles, which will also cross the block that day.
After highlighting the top cars from the den Hartogh auction, we turn our attention to the best of the two-wheel classics on offer.
1936 Ariel 600cc Square Four 4F/6
Ariel got its two-wheeled start with bicycles. In 1902, the English manufacturer produced its first motorcycle. Before the company was sold to BSA in 1951, Edward Turner, of Triumph design fame, fashioned the Square Four. Released in 1930, the Square Four 4F originally packed its power into a 500-cc package. Two years after its release, the displacement increased to 600 cc to accommodate a sidecar. This Square Four is the product of an older restoration with correct corresponding engine and frame numbers. And the engine turns over. With a high bid and some hard work, this Square could be doing circles around the neighborhood.
1988 Tula TMZ 200-cc
Tula (Tulamashzavod for long) began manufacturing small motorbikes in 1955. Named after its city of origin, Tula bikes served civilian and military agendas. The 1988 TMZ is a Cold War concoction, and this specific Soviet scooter is believed to be unused. Bonhams states that there are only six kilometers of “push distance” on the bike. This mini-machine lacks documentation but does have the ignition key.
1950 Sarolea 350-cc AS
Belgium’s Sarolea was founded as a weapons manufacturer in the late 1800s. At the turn of the century, the company began its motorized endeavor, and it did very well. In 1952, in fact, Sarolea captured the inaugural FIM Motocross World Championship. This AS model features a side-valve single cylinder 350cc engine. Full-fendered with two seats and steel side bags, this bike could serve as the Euro countryside cruiser you’ve been looking for.
BMW began its march to motorcycle prominence with production of engines. Eventually it built bikes to cradle its motors. The 1928 R52 is a case study of the subtle deviations manufacturers were experimenting with while motorized bikes were in their pre-war infancy. Some of this two-wheeled teething includes inverted handlebar levers, hand-operated shifter, and a fuel tank that sits below the frame’s top tube. This specific R52 is plagued by rust, stemming from numerous years since a restoration, though don’t let that discourage you from owning a vintage “ultimate driving riding machine.”
Can it get any more American than a Harley Davidson outfitted for military use? Captain America doesn’t think so. In 2011, Marvel Studios depicted the super patriot on an updated ’42 WLA for the debut of the movie franchise. Though this bike possesses minimal documentation, the trim, color, and ID plate all match correct U.S. military scheme. A 750-cc high-compression engine eagerly awaits some elbow grease to return to service. This militant marauder is a prime candidate to be re-restored and could be featured in any military or motorcycle collection.