First Ever Series Production Motorcycle Sold for 86,200 Pounds

The first ever self-powered two-wheeled vehicle that reached series production is the Hildebrand & Wolfmuller in 1894. One ‘barn find’ example has recently been sold at a Bonhams auction at The International Classic MotorCycle Show to a private collector in Germany for an above-estimate £86,200.

The vehicle, the first to which the name ‘motorcycle’ (motorrad in German) was ever applied, had been in the ownership of the vendor’s family in the USA since at least the early 1930s, when it also run for the last time. The car returned to Germany in original, unrestored condition.

The motorcycle was created by two steam-engine engineers, Heinrich and Wilhelm Hildebrand who were financed by Alois Wolfmuller. The motorcycle was fitted with a water-cooled engine mounted in a tubular frame.

The 1,489cc two-cylinder, four-stroke engine, was able to produce 2.5 bhp at 240 rpm, propelling a weight of 50 kg up to a maximum speed of 45 km/h (28 mph).

Other examples of a Alois Hildebrand & Wolfmuller exist today in the Deutsches Zweirad- und NSU-Museum in Neckarsulm, Germany, the Science Museum in London, the The Henry Ford in Detroit, Michigan, the Wells Auto Museum in Wells, Maine, and the Museum Lalu Lintas in Surabaya, Indonesia.

The recent auction also featured other notable results, such as a 1935 AJS 500cc Model 10 which sold for £16,675, while the technologically eccentric and extremely rare 1921 Wooler 2¾hp Model B – known as the ‘Flying Banana’ on account of its fuel tank’s shape and color – sold to The Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum for an above-estimate £14,950.
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