c.1969 Benelli 62cc Prototype Racing Motorcycle (see text) Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. unable to locate

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Lot 681N
c.1969 Benelli 62cc Prototype Racing Motorcycle (see text)
Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. unable to locate

£ 12,000 - 18,000
US$ 16,000 - 24,000
To be sold without reserve
Amended
c.1969 Benelli 62cc Prototype Racing Motorcycle (see text)
Frame no. unable to locate
Engine no. unable to locate
• Ultra-rare factory bike
• Restored by former factory mechanic, Mauro Righi
• One of the last machines restored in the Morbidelli Museum's workshop

The ultra-rare machine offered here is purported to be a test-bed built around 1959 to evaluate the 62cc (or thereabouts) cylinder that would form the basis of Benelli's forthcoming 250cc four-cylinder Grand Prix engine.

When, in 1960, Benelli was forced to acknowledge that it needed a multi-cylinder machine to remain competitive in Grand Prix racing's 250cc class, the Italian firm was able to draw on past experience of this type if machine, having constructed a 'blown' quarter-litre four in 1939. Although it was first seen in 1960, the 250 Benelli four did not race competitively until April 1962, when Silvio Grassetti debuted the bike at Imola.

By 1969 the last of the Japanese manufacturers had pulled out of the World Championships, clearing the way for the Benelli fours to grab a slice of Grand Prix glory. Agostini and MV Agusta remained unassailable in the 350 and 500 classes, but in the 250 category Benelli-mounted Kel Carruthers eventually got the better of Kent Andersson's Yamaha and Santiago Herrero's Ossa, bringing the Championship back to Pesaro.

So, did Benelli's successful bid to win the 250cc World Championship commence with the machine offered here? It has to be said that the engine, with its wide angle between the valves, looks rather old-fashioned, and the Benelli 250 four that was first shown to the public in June 1960 had a much narrower valve angle. Furthermore, experimental engines never intended for actual competition use are usually evaluated on the test-bed, not on the racetrack. In appearance, this engine looks similar to the 250cc Benelli singles of the early 1950s, though why it was built into a working motorcycle remains a mystery, while the cycle parts appear typical of ultra-lightweight racers of the late1960s/early 1970s. Possibly this engine is one of a small batch built for the 'tiddler' classes of long-distance road races such as the Moto Giro d'Italia and Milan-Taranto but not used until someone had the idea of building them into complete motorcycles some 20 years later.

Believed one of very few built, this machine is said to have been tested by the great Eugenio Lazzarini. A future three-time World Champion, Lazzarini was a works Benelli rider only in his first year of Grand Prix racing (in 1969, aged 24), which would appear to support the conclusion that this machine dates from that period. Bought from the Benelli family, the machine was restored by former factory mechanic, Mauro Righi and is one of the last motorcycles to be restored in the Museum's workshop (around four years ago). It is not known if the engine is internally complete, nor if it runs.

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

  • Please click the link to view the walkaround video of Lot 681: click here
Contacts
c.1969 Benelli 62cc Prototype Racing Motorcycle (see text) Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. unable to locate
c.1969 Benelli 62cc Prototype Racing Motorcycle (see text) Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. unable to locate
Auction information

LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION
Please note that whilst viewing is available by appointment, the auction itself will be conducted from a remote saleroom, behind closed doors without public access, in accordance with the current government guidelines.

Bidding Notices

VIEWING
In light of the current government guidelines and relaxed measures we are delighted to welcome viewing, strictly by appointment.
All the lots will be on view at Bicester Heritage in our traditional Hangar 113. We will ensure social distancing measures are in place, with gloves and sanitiser available for clients wishing to view motorcycle history files.
Please email: [email protected] with your preferred date, time and vehicle registration number or call +44 (0) 20 8963 2817 to book an appointment.

VIEWING TIMES
Wednesday 12 August 1pm to 5pm
Thursday 13 August 9am to 5pm
Friday 14 August 9am to 5pm
Saturday 15 August 9am to 5pm (Lots 501-704 only)

SALE TIMES
Friday 14 August Spares & Memorabilia (Lot 1 - 212) 10am
Saturday 15 August Motorcycles (Lot 301 - 462) 10am
Sunday 16 August Motorcycles (Morbidelli) (Lot 501 - 704) 10am

BIDS ENQUIRIES
+44 (0) 20 7447 7447
[email protected]

CONDITIONS OF SALE – GUIDE FOR BUYERS
Please see the CONDITIONS OF SALE / GUIDE FOR BUYERS for all pertinent information regarding viewing, bidding, payment and post-sale collection & Transportation

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 £2,500 of the hammer price;
25% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £2,500 up to and including £300,000;
20% of the hammer price of amounts in excess of £300,000 up to and including £3,000,000;
and 13.9% of the hammer price of any amounts in excess of £3,000,000.

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

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Lot symbols
N NOVA declaration

If purchased by a UK resident, this machine is subject to a NOVA declaration, undertaken by Bonhams upon a successful sale, to facilitate the registration of the machine here in the UK.