c.1939 Rikuo 1,200cc Frame no. 607-28 Engine no. 39BVFD3151

This lot has been removed from the website, please contact customer services for more information

Lot 67
c.1939 Rikuo 1,200cc
Frame no. 607-28 Engine no. 39BVFD3151

Sold for £ 11,500 (US$ 15,539) inc. premium
c.1939 Rikuo 1,200cc
Frame no. 607-28
Engine no. 39BVFD3151
Harley-Davidson's hugely successful v-twins were copied by rival manufacturers in both Europe and Japan, the example offered here being the work of the Japanese Sankyo factory. The first Harley-Davidson motorcycles had been imported into Japan by the Army around 1912, and after The Great War's end distribution was initially handled by the Nippon Jidosha company. Dissatisfied with Nippon Jidosha's sales results, Harley-Davidson concluded a deal with the pharmaceutical manufacturing company, Sankyo in 1924, resulting in the formation of the 'H-D Motorcycle Sales Company of Japan'. By 1929 though, the yen's value had plunged against that of the US dollar, making all imports from the United States prohibitively expensive. Harley's representative in Japan was Albert Rich, and he organised a deal whereby Sankyo purchased rights and the necessary tooling for the manufacture of Harley-Davidson motorcycles, with the proviso that none be exported.

Situated in Tokyo, Sankyo's Shinagawa works was almost certainly the first purpose-built motorcycle factory in Japan and thus, arguably, the birthplace of the Japanese industry. Harley-Davidson continued to export to Japan until the Shinagawa factory came on stream early in 1935. Known as the 'Rikuo' ('King of the Road') and built entirely of Japanese-made components, Sankyo's version was a copy of the 1,200cc Model VL sidevalve 'Big Twin' that had first been introduced in the USA in 1929. There was also a military version, the Sankyo Type 97, which was used for sidecar duty and featured a three-speeds-plus-reverse gearbox with shaft drive to the 'chair'. A 750cc variant was built for solo use. Production of the civilian Rikuo resumed after WW2, finally ceasing in the early 1960s.

This example of an early Japanese motorcycle rarely seen in the West was purchased in 2006 from a jointly owned private collection in Spain. The machine has been restored, repainted and re-trimmed by the vendor's father-in-law, Vicente Sevilla.
c.1939 Rikuo 1,200cc Frame no. 607-28 Engine no. 39BVFD3151
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories, buyer's premium excluding Cars, Motorbikes, Wine, Whisky and Coin & Medal sales, will be as follows:

Buyer's Premium Rates
27.5% on the first £10,000 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £10,000 up to and including £450,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £450,000 up to and including £4,500,000;
and 14.5% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £4,500,000.

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

For payment information please refer to the sale catalog.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

App