Bonhams : ,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)

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

Lot 301
1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special
Registration no. FOM 245 Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)

Sold for £ 18,400 (US$ 23,722) inc. premium
1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special
Registration no. FOM 245
Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text)
Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
• Owned and raced by a Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot
• Ultra-rare over-the-counter racing motorcycle
• Highly original
• Three owners from new
• Restored in the early 2000s
• Well documented

This OK-Supreme Road Racing Special was first owned and raced by one of 'The Few': Battle of Britain Spitfire pilot, Flight Sergeant Frederick Fenton 'Freddie' Vinyard.

OK - the 'Supreme' came later - was founded by bicycle manufacturer Humphries & Dawes Limited of Birmingham. The company experimented with powered two-wheelers in the early years of the 20th Century before exhibiting a Precision-engined three-model range in 1911. Charles Dawes and Ernie Humphries split in 1926, the latter continuing motorcycle production using the name 'OK-Supreme'. The firm had first entered the Isle of Man TT in 1912 but had to wait for its finest hour until 1928, when OK-Supremes filled four of the top six positions in the Lightweight race, Frank Longman scoring the marque's solitary TT victory.

Introduced for 1939 and based on the previous year's Grass Track Special, the RRS was an over-the-counter road-racer powered by the 344cc five-stud JAP competition engine, effectively the 'junior' version of the contemporary 500cc 'Speedway JAP'. The RRS was listed for the 1939 season only and is one of the rarest of all British racing motorcycles of the 1930s.

Birmingham-born Freddie Vinyard had bought the OK-Supreme from the famous Kings of Oxford dealership owned by Stan Hailwood, father-to-be of nine-time World Champion, Mike Hailwood. Freddie raced the OK-Supreme at Donington Park on Bank Holiday Monday, 10th August 1939 carrying competitor number '145', and was called up for service in the Royal Air Force shortly thereafter. Unusually, Freddie was already a qualified pilot, belonging to the Leicester Aero Club. Before then he had found time to compete at other events, as a photograph of him and the OK carrying number '55', and a Donington programme from Easter 1939 listing him as competitor number '110', testify.

Freddie registered his OK-Supreme for road use in September 1940 using a frame number of his own devising ('924180') and quoting the gearbox number ('8CPGA3415') as the engine number. Freddie's own frame number is stamped on the forward end of the top tube, while the factory-stamped number ('26068') is stamped on the rear of the frame, concealed behind the oil tank. Removing the oil tank would have involved first removing the rear wheel, mudguard, chain cases, seat, etc so Freddie's somewhat cavalier attitude towards the licensing procedure is perhaps understandable; no doubt he had weightier considerations on his mind.

By September 1940 he had been posted to 64 Squadron based at Leconfield, near Beverley in North Yorkshire. The squadron's primary task would have been to intercept German bombers heading for the nearby port of Hull, the second-most bombed city after London. On Sunday 6th October 1940, Flight Sergeant Vinyard failed to return from a routine patrol, his Spitfire having been seen to crash into the North Sea off Flamborough Head; he was 24 years old. His name is recorded on the Roll of Honour in the Battle of Britain Chapel at Westminster Abbey.

After the War's end, the OK-Supreme passed to its second owner, Eric Hammond Smith of Sheffield, from whom it was purchased by the vendor, a member of the VMCC. Eric told the current owner that he had raced the OK-Supreme but gave no details. Smith's and Vinyard's are the only names recorded in the original buff logbook. Remarkably original and complete when acquired in 2000 (see photograph on file), the RRS proved to be relatively easy to restore and has since been used on various VMCC events and at Brooklands gatherings. It is currently MoT'd to February 2019.

By an amazing stroke of luck the vendor spotted period photographs of his OK-Supreme in Old Bike Mart a few years later, sent in by Freddie's nephew seeking information about his late uncle. The owner contacted Freddie's relative, who provided details of his uncle's life and supplied copies of his photographs and letters mentioning the OK. One of these poignant letters describes stripping the engine to fit a compression plate and replace a broken piston ring. Being a pukka competition machine, the RRS was supplied set up to run on methanol, hence the need to reduce the compression ratio to get it to accept the low-octane 'pool' petrol available at the time. Out of respect for Freddie Vinyard's family, these private letters are being retained by the vendor.

It should be noted that it has since been returned to original 'methanol' specification and cannot be run on unleaded petrol without first lowering the compression, re-jetting the carburettor, and altering the ignition timing.

A genuine pre-war racing motorcycle, possessing in-period race history and first owned by one of 'The Few', this ultra-rare OK-Supreme RRS is worthy of a place in any museum or private collection.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • This motorcycle is accompanied with a V5C and photographs. We are unable to locate a frame number.
Contacts
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
,1939 OK-Supreme 344cc Road Racing Special Frame no. 26068 and 924180 (see text) Engine no. SOS/G 60905/6 (see text)
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, 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 Motorcycles (Lots 201 - 539) a 15% Buyer's Premium is payable on the first £500,000 of the final Hammer Price of each Lot, and 12% on any amount by which the Hammer Price exceeds £500,000, VAT at the standard rate is payable on the Premium by all Buyers, unless otherwise stated.

Buyers Premium on all Automobilia lots (Lots 1 - 196) will adhere to Bonhams group policy, 25% up to £175,000 of hammer price, 20% from £175,001 to £3,000,000 of hammer price, and 12.5% on the balance thereafter. This applies to each lot purchased and is subject to VAT. Some lots may be subject to VAT on the hammer price. These lots will be clearly marked with a dagger (†) printed beside the lot number in the catalog.

Collection Notices

Motorcycle Spares and Memorabilia Clearance
All purchased Spares and Memorabilia lots must be cleared from the sale venue by 7pm Sunday 22 April. All un-collected purchased lots shall then be removed to Bonhams Kidlington storage facility at the buyer's expense (Please see the Collections Page of the Conditions of Sale for further information).

Lots will be available for collection from 10am Thursday 26 April 2018 by appointment only. To arrange collection please contact the Motorcycle Department +44 (0) 20 8963 2817 or ukmotorcycles@bonhams.com to make an appointment.

Motorcycle Spares and Memorabilia Shipping Enquiries:
For all motorcycle spares & memorabilia shipping enquiries please contact Alban Shipping quoting your client, sale & lot number to discuss your shipping requirements:
Tel:+44 (0) 1582 493099
email: enquiries@albanshipping.co.uk

Please note Bonhams do not provide shipping neither do Bonhams pack lots. Should you wish to organize collection of your lots via a third party carrier, they must check and pack lots on your behalf upon collection.

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.