1952 Benelli 250cc Quattrovalvole Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Project Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. A-25-10

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

Lot 696N
1952 Benelli 250cc Quattrovalvole Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Project
Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. A-25-10

£ 18,000 - 26,000
US$ 24,000 - 34,000
To be sold without reserve
Amended
1952 Benelli 250cc Quattrovalvole Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Project
Frame no. unable to locate
Engine no. A-25-10
• Rare works machine
• Experimental four-valves-per-cylinder design
• Raced during the 1952 season only
• Offered for restoration

Italy's oldest surviving motorcycle manufacturer, Benelli was founded in Pesaro in 1911 by the six Benelli brothers, starting out as a general engineering firm repairing cars and motorcycles before turning to the manufacture of automotive and aircraft components in WWI. The firm diversified into the field of powered transport immediately after WWI, offering a two-stroke 'clip-on' power unit for attachment to a bicycle, and it was this 98cc engine, installed in a purpose-built set of cycle parts, that was used for the first proper Benelli motorcycle of 1921.

A couple of years later Benelli had a 125cc model in the range, and it was one of these, bored out to 147cc for the 175cc class, on which youngest brother Antonio ('Tonino') Benelli made his racing debut. By 1927 Tonino was racing a 172cc Benelli equipped with single-overhead-cam engine, winning almost as he pleased to take that year's Italian Championship. The SOHC 175 was superseded by a short-stroke twin-cam version from which was developed the first racing 250 of 1935. By this time Benellis were winning classic races outside their native Italy, but an accident to Tonino, which caused his retirement from racing, set back the factory's competition programme for the next couple of years.

Benelli was back in force for 1937 and the new 250 duly demonstrated its potential when Martelli won that year's Milan-Taranto long-distance classic. Two years later came the marque's most famous victory, when lone Benelli rider Ted Mellors won the 1939 Isle of Man Lightweight TT.

Its factory destroyed by the Allies and then looted by the Germans, Benelli took time to re-establish itself after the war. Fortunately, the racing machines had been hidden away and survived intact, providing the Italian concern with a valuable springboard from which to renew its Grand Prix campaign. Rivals Moto Guzzi secured the first post-war 250cc World Championship in 1949, but Benelli struck back the following year when works rider Dario Ambrosini became champion at the end of a season that included wins in three of the four 250 rounds: Switzerland, Italy, and the Isle of Man TT. He finished 2nd in the other round (the Ulster GP) to crown a season of masterly dominance. Sadly, Ambrosini's death at the French Grand Prix in 1951 effectively put an end to Benelli's international efforts.

Nevertheless, in the immediate aftermath of Amrosini's death Benelli continued to develop and race the 250. At the beginning of 1952 the machine appeared with 19" wheels, a five-speed gearbox, larger fuel tank and a small fork-top fairing. An engine equipped with a four-valve cylinder head was tested also. Riders Luigi Ciai, Alano Montanari and Leslie Graham took part in a few races, the best result being Graham's 3rd place at the Swiss Grand Prix, a significant achievement considering that on the tricky Bremgarten circuit he was unable to select 5th gear.

Unable to find a permanent replacement for the great Ambrosini, Benelli quit the Grand Prix scene in 1953 and it would be 1959 before they attempted another serious World Championship campaign. When they did, it was with a new, short-stroke (70x64.8mm) two-valve engine.

Offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed, this ultra-rare and incomplete Benelli works racer comes with a selection of original photographs taken during the 1952 season.

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 696: click here
Contacts
1952 Benelli 250cc Quattrovalvole Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Project Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. A-25-10
1952 Benelli 250cc Quattrovalvole Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Project Frame no. unable to locate Engine no. A-25-10
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.

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.

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.