1952 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SS:5001

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Lot 697N
1952 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. SS:5001

£ 18,000 - 26,000
US$ 24,000 - 34,000
To be sold without reserve
Amended
1952 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle
Frame no. SS:5001





Italy's oldest surviving motorcycle manufacturer, Benelli was founded in Pesaro in 1911 by the six Benelli brothers. By 1927 Tonino Benelli was racing a 172cc machine 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 The SOHC 175 was superseded by a short-stroke twin-cam version from which was developed the first racing 250 of 1935.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 and it would be 1959 before the firm returned to the Grand Prix scene.

This 250 Benelli dates from 1952, by which time the design had been updated with a five-speed gearbox, new double-cradle frame, hydraulic suspension front and rear, 19" wheels with larger brakes, and an aerodynamic fuel tank extending forward of the steering head. The maximum power output of 28bhp arrived at 9,000rpm, and the 250 Benelli had a top speed, depending on gearing, of around 190km/h (118mph). This example was raced in period by Luigi Ciai. Partially restored by Mr Morbidelli, the machine is incomplete and thus is sold strictly as viewed. The history file consists mainly of period photographs, including one of Les Graham racing this type of Benelli at Berne, Switzerland in 1952.

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

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Contacts
1952 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SS:5001
1952 Benelli 250cc Grand Prix Racing Motorcycle Frame no. SS:5001
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.