Pioneers' Success at Bonhams Paris Sale


Paris – The City of Lights showed its passion for the pioneers at Bonhams' sale of the 'once in a generation' Dr Peter and Ulrike Bühner Collection of early motorcycles and cars and related automobilia, which achieved an impressive total of €2.15 million, with 98% sold at the Grand Palais Éphémère on 1 February.

A completely original 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller, the oldest known example of serial production motorcycle, topped the sale, selling for €195,500. Another historic machine, a 1924 BMW 493cc R32, the first production motorcycle model produced by BMW, accelerated past its top estimate to sell for €143,750, affording its buyer the ideal opportunity to join in the BMW Motorrad's centenary celebrations this year.

c.1924 BMW 493cc R32, sold for €143,750

More than 50 early motorcycles and motor vehicles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, lovingly collected over four decades by the late German enthusiast couple, Peter and Ulrike Bühner of Hagen, were offered in Paris, with many of the lots appearing for the first time at auction.

Another impressive performer was the c.1935 Indian 77.21 Model 402 Four, an example of America's last four-cylinder motorcycle, which doubled its pre-sale estimate to make €132,250.

Leading the motor cars was a 1901 Dürkopp 7hp Rear-entrance Tonneau Motorwagen, which sold for €108,333. One of two 1901 survivors from this German marque, the London to Brighton participant had not left the city of its manufacture until acquired by the Bühners.

1901 Dürkopp 7hp Rear-entrance Tonneau Motorwagen, sold for €108,333

Malcolm Barber, Chairman Emeritus, Bonhams Collector Cars, said: "This was one of the most important private collections of pioneer motorcycles in Europe and Peter and Ulrike had also amassed interesting Veteran cars. Many of these had been acquired in the late 1980s and early 1990s by the Bühners at our previous sales.

"Yesterday's results cement our pre-eminent position in this market and we were privileged to have been entrusted with marketing and selling this extraordinary collection."

Other highlights included:

c.1925 MARS 'Weiße Mars, sold for €95,450
The German built futuristic 'White Mars' was a true work of art finished to an extremely high standard for its era.

1903 Haynes-Apperson 7.5hp twin-cylinder Runabout, sold for €86,250
An example of America's first commercially built, petrol-powered motor car. This two-seater Runabout formerly belonged to the Imperial Palace Collection of classic cars in Las Vegas.

1898 Cudell De Dion Tricycle with 'Lady's Attachment' Trailer, sold for €86,250

1898 Cudell De Dion Tricycle with 'Lady's Attachment' Trailer, sold for €86,250
The rare Veteran-era tricycle, one of only seven in existence, was built by Cudell & Co Motorenfahrzeug-Fabrik of Aachen, Germany to a licensed De Dion Bouton design.

1912 FN Four doubled its estimate to sell for €74,750
The World's first production inline-4-cylinder motorcycle – also the fastest production motorcycle of the time – which had its public debut at the 1905 Paris Motorcycle Show.

1935 Morgan Super Sports Three-wheeler, sold for €42,400
The Matchless V-twin powered Super Sports was treasured by the Bühners, even being kept in the family dining room, and participated with Ulrike in various motoring events.

c.1907 Zedel 200cc Single, sold for €14,950
The Paris-built single-cylinder was a favourite of Ulrike Bühner, who regularly rode the machine in events such as the Pioneer Run and the 'International Ibbenbürener Motorrad-Veteranen-Rallye' in Germany, earning her the soubriquet 'Ulrike Zedel.'

Ben Walker, Global Head of Bonhams Motorcycles, said: "With Peter and Ulrike having both sadly passed away, their children kept some of the collection for their own pleasure and enjoyment but were glad to see the balance going to likeminded enthusiasts and collectors. We are proud to have achieved such a positive result for the family."

The Bonhams Motorcycles team is now looking ahead to its Spring Sale at The International Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford on 22-23 April, with early consignments including the 1931 Show Model Brough Superior 998cc SS100.

Meanwhile, the Bonhams Collector Cars team is preparing to cross the Atlantic for its Amelia Island Auction on 2 March at the Fernandina Beach Golf Club.

Consignments to both sales are invited. Contact [email protected] or [email protected] for further details.


Related auctions