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Rare 'barn find' Harley-Davidson brings Australian auction record $600,000


• $600,000 Harley to ‘remain in Australia’

• 92 per cent auction clearance rate

• $1.78 million in sales

One of the world’s rarest Harley-Davidson motorcycles sold for an Australian auction record $600,000 at Shannons Melbourne Spring Auction on September 21.

But the best news for enthusiasts is that the Internationally sought-after circa-1927 FHA 8-Valve V-Twin racer with its scramble-type sidecar – believed to be one of fewer than 50 8-valve Racers built – will remain in Australia.

Strong pre-Auction interest from enthusiasts in Australia, the United States and Europe ensured that the battle for the Harley was going to be on from the word go and the large crowd that crammed into Shannons Cheltenham, Melbourne auction room wasn’t disappointed.

Bidding for the ‘no reserve’ Harley opened strongly at $100,000 and rose rapidly in $20,000 spurts until $470,000. From there, a US phone and a local floor bidder traded blows, first in $10,000, then $5,000 punches before the room fell silent at $600,000.

When asked directly by Shannons National Auction Manager Christophe Boribon whether the Harley would remain in Australia, the winning floor bidder told the room ‘yes’.

Boribon said the sale was “very important” for the future of collectible and important motorcycles in Australia.

“Motorcycles of this calibre have been under-valued on the world market for some years,” he said. “This is truly a watershed moment.”

In other great results at the auction, a pride of Classic sporting Jaguars sold comfortably above their pre-auction high estimates.

A beautiful, restored 1955 Jaguar XK140 Fixed Head Coupe brought $125,000 after a relentless duel between a phone and a floor bidder, while a 1969 Jaguar E-Type 4.2 litre Series 2 Coupe offered with ‘no reserve’ eventually sold for $66,000 and is believed to be heading back to Britain.

Other notable results were the $43,000 paid for a superb 1968 Datsun ‘Fairlady’ 2000 Sports Roadster, while a beautifully-presented 1952 Bentley Mk VI Saloon sold for $47,000.

A pair of increasingly collectible Volkswagen T2 Kombi vans found willing buyers, with a left hand drive 1966 American-delivered ’21-window’ Samba bus selling on estimate for $63,000, while an Australian built and delivered 1970 Microbus made $36,000.

Classic Australian cars did well, with a highly-optioned 1969 Ford Falcon XW GT former promotional sedan selling for $77,000, a 1978 Holden HZ GTS Monaro 5.0 litre bringing $20,500 and a well-maintained 1966 Falcon XP Deluxe sedan selling for $18,500.

‘No reserve’ Classics to perform well included a restored 1970 Leyland Mini Moke that brought $13,500, a nicely restored and presented 1967 MGB GT Coupe that went for $19,000 and an Australian-delivered 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL with both hard and soft tops that sold for $35,000.

Numeric black and white Victorian number plates were also keenly fought over, with ‘408’ bringing the best three-digit result at $62,000 and ‘1314’ returning the best four-digit result at $36,500.


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