Barn dust. Barn dust everywhere!
This small farm auction is a goldmine of 62 vintage motorcycles
In the world of motorcycle auctions, the ones that typically inspire big interest are those with hundreds of bikes, a big stage, and even food trucks to feed the crowd. If you are in search of a deal though, farm auctions might be the right place to look. Given their generous space and big buildings like barns, it’s fairly common for farm owners with a love for cars or bikes to fill their real estate with vintage goodies.
We looked at the VanDerBrink Auctions webpage in search of some interesting two-wheeled rides, and what we found was an unexpected goldmine. Listed is a collection of 62 motorcycles, mixed in with a significantly-sized amalgamation of race cars and parts (and some Cadillac cars, because why not?). Here are five of the coolest bikes we spotted after drooling over all 62.
2002 Moto Guzzi V11 Le Mans
The newest of the motorcycle offerings, this Guzzi stands out thanks to the traverse-mounted V-twin engine. Displacing 1,100 cc, the twin pumps 92 horsepower through a six-speed transmission which transfers power to the rear wheel via a shaft drive. Quality of Moto Guzzi models languished in the late 1990s, but after Italian motorcycle maker Aprilia took over in 2001, production quality increased by leaps and bounds, including with the V11.
Moto Guzzi produced a few limited models of the V11, so these are expected to appreciate in value before the standard bikes. Still, it’s hard to say how a 100-mile standard V11 compares to this 5,000-mile limited bike. The limited models have been commanding stronger prices, but unfortunately, this one is missing some turn signals and isn’t a perfect 100-mile bike. Delivery-mile V11s have sold for $7,000 and are on the rise. We expect this one to be around $6,000.
1951 AJ Stevens MS
This ’51 AJ Stevens MS is still inside a crate, which means we have questions. The straps holding the bike in the crate, as well as the attached boxes, seem quite new, but the motorcycle appears slightly less so. It might be a restoration that never got uncrated after being shipped back to the owner, or it might be totally new. The auction house calls out that it looks to be a competition model. The giveaway is a plug under the headlight, which gave access to easily remove the assembly to transition from street trim to race trim.
Vincent is a well-known name when it comes to classic motorcycles, and the Rapide series features a wide assortment of unique-for-the-time advancements and technology. This example includes a rear wheel hub that can be flipped, allowing a quick change between two final-drive ratios via a sprocket bolted on each side of the hub. The twin-cylinder engine and four-speed transmission act as a stressed part of the frame, with the rear suspension using the back of the transmission as a pivot point.
For a high dollar value bike like the Vincent, a farm auction in the middle of Michigan probably isn’t the best place to sell it, but it might be the best place to buy it. We have seen Vincent prices dropping over the last few years, with Black Shadows now selling in the $100K range. This also means Rapide values are dropping, and this one, being not original nor in great shape, might sell for $25,000–$30,000.
1967 Matchless G80 CS
The CS in this Matchless’ model name stands for competition and suspension; the 500-cc single-cylinder received a rear swingarm with twin shocks rather than a hardtail read end. The G80 CS model was well known in period for winning races under Bud Ekins and Walt Fulton, which drove sales. The end of production for the relatively heavy G80 model came in 1967, meaning this G80 CS has all the improvements made over the production run that began in 1951.
1999 Excelsior Henderson Super X
Here’s another bike that’s still in the crate, but this Excelsior Henderson is confirmed new and never out of its crate. The trouble is, crated Excelsior Hendersons aren’t all that rare. The revival of the Excelsior and Henderson names happened in 1993, bringing to market heavy cruiser models that were not bad motorcycles, but they were not competitive in the $20,000 price range. The brand revival was, for many buyers, an indication that these bikes could be solid investments. Much like the 1978 Corvette 35th anniversary Pace Car edition, it seems like it should be special and valuable, but it sort of isn’t.
Despite the Excelsior Henderson’s limited quantity, these bikes aren’t exactly collectible for their era, as examples like this are selling for less than mass-produced same-condition sport bikes. The revival in the ’90s was short-lived and the company went out of business after selling 1,821 bikes ready for the road. The buyers for these machines are dwindling and values aren’t rising at a time when ’90s Japanese bikes are stealing the spotlight. One sold for $8,800 in January at a Mecum sale, where the drinks were flowing and it seems every type of buyer is present. We don’t expect buyers to pay the same at this auction and would be happy to see it get $6,500.