Bonhams Las Vegas motorcycle auction revs up with a collection of competition BMWs

1939 BMW RS 255 Kompressor Chassis no. 2 Engine no. 16152

1939 BMW Rennsport Konpressor Chassis no. 02 Engine no. 16152

Bonhams Las Vegas motorcycle auction revs up with a collection of competition BMWs

1954 BMW Rennsport RS54 Sidecar Chassis no. 254007 Engine no. 07

1954 BMW Rennsport 254 Side Car Chassis no. 254007 Engine no. 549007

Bonhams Las Vegas motorcycle auction revs up with a collection of competition BMWs

1954 BMW Rennsport RS54 Chassis no. 549012 Engine no. 549012

1954 BMW Rennsport 254 Chassis no. 549012 Engine no. 549012

Rare pre-war Kompressor leads quartet of racers

A unique collection of four BMW racing motorcycles will be offered at the Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale in January.

Headlining the team of machines is a very rare and much admired Kompressor, or supercharged, 1939 RS 255, the model that legendary racer John Surtees said "Rightly deserves a place as being one of the all-time greats of motorcycle Grand Prix racing."

The RS 255 ("RS" stands for rennsport, or race sport) is a genuine, documented supercharged 1939 engine (no. 16152) mounted in an authentic 1951 frame (no. 2), not at all uncommon with most factory racing machines. Surtees, who owns the very same year model BMW upon which Georg Meier won the Isle of Man TT (now on permanent display at the BMW Museum), commented that "The power characteristics are very deceptive...this is a real racing machine."

Accompanying this exceptional motorcycle are three other Bavarian competition machines: a 1954 BMW RS 254, a 1954 BMW RS 254 with Sidecar, and a 1956 BMW RS 256.

"Competition BMWs, particularly those from before and just after WWII, are increasingly gaining interest from discerning collectors," said Nick Smith, Bonhams US Head of Motorcycling. "They were highly advanced, extremely well-made, and successful, and this combination of attributes makes them tremendously desirable."

No stranger to prominent and record-making sales, including BMWs, Bonhams sold at the 2010 Las Vegas motorcycle auction a very rare, factory prepared 1939 BMW RS R51 for $130,200. Likewise, this quartet of German racers is expected to attract significant interest, particularly the Kompressor.

The third annual Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale will take place Thursday 10 January 2013 at Bally's Hotel & Casino on The Strip. More information will be posted in the coming weeks at


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to

  1. Nick Smith
    7601 W. Sunset Boulevard
    Los Angeles, United States 90046
    Work +1 323 436 5470
    FaxFax: +1 323 850 5843

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