Hitting The Jackpot Or Going Bust At Mecum’s 2020 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

I learned how little I know about buying collectable vintage motorcycles at Mecum’s 29th Annual Vintage & Antique Motorcycle Auction in Las Vegas. I know what caught my eye. Anybody can do that. What few people can do is look beyond the polished chrome, Armor-All’ed tires and waxed paint to assess a motorcycle’s true value. Eavesdropping on the Pros inspecting the lots (that’s auction speak for the motorcycles) was more fun and way more educational than watching the bidding action going down.

Did the winning bidder hit the jackpot or go bust? It all depends. If the purchase was to fulfill a sentimental desire or a personal yearning then every winner hit the jackpot. If the purchase was an investment, you’ll need one of those Pros to determine if it was a win or bust.

Here are just some of the bikes that caught my eye even if I didn’t bid on any of them. Maybe next year (with the help of a Pro).

There were plenty of Harley XR750s to bid on like this pristine example moving off the block at $34,100. This is the quintessential racing motorcycle in my book.
Mike Vogel is the owner of this amazing Cheney-framed Suzuki TM400. Mike had a back story about every component picked to build this treasure. He raced it in his youth and was able to track it down years later and restore it. The bike didn’t sell and I’m glad. I want it to stay in his hands.
This Suzuki was presented to Roger DeCoster as a gift from Suzuki’s Pat Alexander. The bidding hit $5,000, too low to breach the reserve so the bike could still be yours.
Bids reached $20,000 two years ago for a Kawasaki Mach III. That motivated owners to put their Machs on the block. Too much of a fast thing? This guy went for $13,500. Expect collectors to tighten up on the supply chain.
Steve McQueen purchased this Honda, had Von Dutch customize it and then he gave it to a co-star (Mitch Vogel) as a gift. It sold for $20,900!
Mecum did a poor job of promoting the Northwest 100 Honda Collection. This No-Reserve collection deserved a dynamic presentation with billboard-size photos of Honda’s Gardena office in 1959 or any of the “You Meet The Nicest” ads. A black curtain was the best Mecum could do.
The Northwest 100 collection sold strongly even without much salesmanship. Still, I missed showman Gavin Trippe’s touch. Gavin passed away shortly before last year’s auction and was instrumental in bringing passion to the Mecum motorcycle auctions.
Some of my favorites from the Northwest 100 included this CB450 Super Sport (dubbed the Black Bomber) that fetched $13,200.
Can you believe this is a 125cc sportsman racer? Honda created a limited run of factory production versions of the winning RC143 factory works machines for privateer racers in the early 60’s. This example commanded a head-turning $52,500.
The year was 1965 and the Honda CB77 Super Hawk was about the most bad-ass motorcycle a kid who worked at the gas station after school and on weekends could afford. You can find one for less than $9,900 but it ain’t gonna look like this.
Okay, last one from the Northwest 100 Collection. The winning bid got the Honda CM91 sitting on top of the crate and two more still in the crate! The year was sketchy in the write-up so they could be in the 1965 ballpark. The three step-thru Hondas got $44,000.
No really, this is the last one from the Northwest 100 Collection. I had to show you the bike sitting on top of the crate.
Holy mackerel! A Maico MC 501 going for $22,500 impressed (and astounded) a lot of watchers. Congrats to David Boydstun who did the restoration and owned the bike. Otto and Wilhelm Maisch would be proud.
I assume you needed to weigh your passenger carefully to be sure you had a balanced load. Who would get to steer?
What is here that I don’t see? This beat-up Yamaha got $5,500. The “minor knee dents” in the tank must have cost the bike’s rider a few knee surgeries.
For $250 more you could have had this pretty Jammin’ Jimmy Weinert replica (without dents in the tank). Another from the David Boydstun Collection that is a collection of the bikes that David restores.
This bike was found at an estate sale by accident (it wasn’t mentioned in the estate sale listing and was the only motorcycle). Purchased from the estate for $900, it sold two months later at Mecum for $16,500. Is this a great country or what?
The man behind that Harley is Glenn Bator of Bator International. He is one of the Pros. I listened to him dissect this bike with the skill of a surgeon. Let’s just say the patient wasn’t as healthy as it looked. The buyer spent $22,000. Hope it was for personal reasons and not an investment.
This is a Sportster I wouldn’t mind owning (after asking Glenn Bator to look it over). This 1959 Sportster earned $19,800.
Can you believe this 1963 Harley-Davidson FLH saddle sold for $16,500?
Of course, the bike underneath it was included in the price. Again, I have no clue how “correct” this bike is, but it seems like a lot of motorcycle for that price.
This rough little Harley-Davidson Baja 100 left the blocks at $3,575. That price suggests that there was a fight going on between a number of bidders (because most bids end in whole dollar amounts). My buddy Norman rides the wheels off his Baja 100. Now he might take more care!
Not my thing but who cares? Somebody wanted this 1964 DKW/Victoria 155 Sputnik bad enough to cough up $29,700.
If push came to shove, I’d have to name this Gary Nixon race bike replica my favorite. It did not breach the reserve at $29,000 so it could still be mine. My stocks did well last year but not that well.
This is Mark Brelsford’s factory-sponsored Harley-Davidson XR750 from his 1972 Championship. It commanded a price of $137,500 (and I think I know who got it). A beautiful piece of history.
I figured this Evel Knievel replica bike would fetch more than $26,400 when you consider that Honda minis were going for $20,000. This sure would look good in my tiki room.
Not even “Rocket Rex” Staten could go fast on one of these (for very long). The $23,100 it took to win this bike was more money than any rider ever won in purse payouts by racing one.
My “saddest of show” award goes to this rough Sportster that waited until Sunday to get $1,870. The right restoration guy could be back next year with this same bike and walk off with $20,000 in profit.
I saved this one for last because I wanted to buy it just to ride Harry Klemm’s 2020 Tiddler Event. I didn’t stick around for Sunday (probably the best day for finding a deal) but it is just as well. This beautiful Yamaha 100 got $4,400. I may be able to beat that on eBay or Craigslist.

Next event that Jimmy Mac On Two Wheels will cover is The One Moto Show in Portland, Oregon, on February 7, 8 and 9.

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