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ducati 750 sport

Two, three, four and six pots for the collector

Auction highlights

mv agusta sport 350

Vincent, MV Agusta, Ducati, Triumph, Honda and more catch our eye at the current Donington sale...here are some of our favourites

(April 4, 2024, Guy 'Guido' Allen)


Listed as a 1949 Series C Vincent Rapide, this old V-twin looks like it could do with a bit of love. However even in this state it will go for solid money.

Vincent values have seen considerable long-term growth over the last several decades, even if there has been the odd bump or dip in the market. While they make sense as an investment vehicle, they are also a decent ride.

A well-sorted one will cross the country tomorrow, loafing along with the help of what may rate as one of the most beautiful motorcycle engines ever created. They can in fact be made into a very use-able classic.

The icing on the cake is the Australian connection, with Phil Irving deeply involved in the creation and progression of the powerplant. He went on to develop the V8 that took Australian driver Jack Brabham to victory in the 1966 F1 championship.

Estimate: Au$70-90,000 (US$46-59,000, GB£36-47,000)

ariel square

Admittedly it's not to everyone's taste, but we reckon an Ariel Square Four is something to consider for your classic shed. This example is listed as a 1956 model, which means it's a 1000cc variant and it clearly needs recommissioning.

These things weren't on our radar until old mate Phillip White threw us the keys to his restored red machine, suggesting it be ridden as if I stole it. It was impressive, easily holding 70-80mph (110-130km/h) and feeling like it could do that all day. Quite exceptional for the era. People who know them well say the trick to getting the best out of the powerplant is to get it into top gear as soon as possible and then just surf the wave of torque.

The square four engine configuration has a distinctive sound which appeals enormously and of course is very unusual. Next time we saw a square four in a production bike was with Suzuki's RG500 two-stroke of the mid 1980s. And since then? Nada.

Estimate: Au$13-17,000 (US$9-11,000, GB£7-9000)

troiumph t100r daytona

Aside from anything else, we reckon this 1969 Triumph Daytona T100R 500 is one of the prettiest motorcycles in the sale. Having ridden several Meriden twins of varying capacities over the years, we also have to say the 500s are probably the pick when it comes to smoothness, with the 650s being a reasonable compromise. We're much less enamoured with the vibration produced by the 750s.

The Daytona name, by the way, is well earned as variants of the 500 won the Daytona 200 in 1962, 1966 and 1967.

The 1966 victory with Buddy Elmore in the saddle is the stuff of legend, with the bike having been cobbled together from assorted remains of broken machinery and started from an unpromising 46th place on the grid. See the video above.

For an overview of T100R development, see this story from the Bonneville Shop in the USA. This example is a runner recommissioned a little while back by Mick Hone Motorcycles.

Estimate: Au$14-17,000 (US$9-11,000, GB£7-9000)

triumph t150

Another 1969 Triumph? This exceptional original and running first-model Trident, aka T150, has a story to tell. Thanks to some borderline incomprehensible delays the Trident ended up being launched more or less at the same time as Honda's CB750-Four.

As we mention in a feature on the latter model, "It didn’t necessarily have to be that way. BSA and Triumph in fact had the jump on Honda, with a triple-cylinder 750 powerplant designed by Bert Hopwood and Doug Hele running by 1962. In theory, the company could have had a 750 multi in the market by 1963-64, giving a very useful marketing and development jump on Honda. But it wasn’t to be."

While the Triumph (and BSA variant) were outgunned in a number of areas (electric start, one more cylinder, a disc front brake and arguably bettter reliability) it wasn't a completely one-sided battle. The pushrod Brit triple was making similar power to the Honda and, having owned both a T150 and T160, we rate it as a surprisingly good powerplant.

Plus, the Tridents handle much better than the CeeBees.

Estimate: Au$15-18,000 (US$9-12,000, GB£8-9500)

mv agusta 350 sport

As much as we admire the looks if the Triumph Daytona, we reckon this 1971 MV Agusta 350 B Sport just pips it in the glamour stakes. Aside from appearing to be in pristine (though perhaps not running) condition, it has a great story. It was gifted to a Mrs C King, who apparently worked for the MV Agusta race crew. It was one of a fleet of 11 which had been used as pit bikes and general runabouts, including by folk such as a certain Giacomo Agostini.

Estimate: Au$18-20,000 (US$12-13,000, GB£9-10,500)


Moving on to 1972 and this Suzuki GT750J is clearly in need of revival. This is a  machine that went through several iterations over the years and people who have owned them have fond memories of a motorcycle that may not have been the sharpest tool out there, but was quick and incredibly reliable. It says something about them that they picked up so many affectionate nicknames across the globe, such was 'water bottle', 'water buffalo' and 'kettle'.

Estimate: Au$10-12,000 (US$6-8000, GB£5-6000)

ducati 750 sport

This 1974 Ducati 750 Sport is described by our resident Ducati expert as a good riding example. It underwent a restoration by Gowanloch Ducati in NSW, which means it should be as fuss-free as you could hope for.

This one is running and comes with a Falloon authentication report.

Round-case Ducatis are a pretty safe place to park your money at the moment, while getting a bit of fun out of it. See our backgrounder on the model.

Estimate: Au$80-90,000 (US$52-59,000, GB£42-47,000)

              860 GT

Sharp styling and a new engine series simplified to ease production demands distinguished the Ducati 860 GT from its more elegant round-case forebears. This 1975 example is a running low-miler in factory spec with a Falloon authentication report.

The angular aka 'folded paper' lines of the machine came as a shock to the motorcycle market of the day, which was also heading into a slump – so sales of this model were sluggish and the survivor numbers are low.

Its biggest claim to fame is it was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who in the car world is something of an art god. He was elected Designer of the Century by a panel of 132 international motoring journalists back in 1999. His CV includes Maserati Ghibli, Alfa Romeo Sprint GT, Volkswagen Golf MkI, Lotus Esprit and, for you kids from the eighties, the De Lorean made famous (a couple of years after production fell over) in the movie Back to the Future.

Estimate: Au$18-20,000 (US$12-13,000, GB£9-10,500)


We're still in 1975 and looking at the last of the Norton Commandos, or at least the original series. You would expect interest in the early bikes would pick up over time, given the brand has been revived with some serious backing out of India.

This 850 MkIII is a low-mile runner in factory trim with a Falloon history report.

For a certain generation out there, the decision over where you splashed your hard-earned was a toss-up between this and the equivalent Triumph Trident. Some loved the triple growl, others liked the thumping Norton twin. Some say the Norton handled better, though that view isn't universal.

In any case, by this stage a number of reliability issues had been sorted but it wasn't enough to keep the factory alive. See our Commando backgrounder.

Estimate: Au$22-28,000 (US$14-18,000, GB£7-9000)


We've kept the biggest and most outlandish for last: the mighty 1981 Honda CBX1000. This example is in need of recommissioning but appears pretty complete.

We've gone for this because we recently bought one of our own and revived it and the result is certainly attention-grabbing. This is Honda's second iteration of the platform and neither this nor the original naked version lived up to sales expectations.

However it was a clear technical tour de force for the marque: inline six, four valves per cylinder, six carburettors. For a road bike, this was borderline alien technology back when launched.

Even now, the machine is an imposing sight and ours has proven to be an attention-grabbing ride. It's fast, comfortable and loaded with character. See the feature on it.

Jay Leno has owned one since new – see the video.

Estimate: Au$10-14,000 (US$7-9000, GB£5-7000)

And that's the end of our selection...happy hunting!

See the full catalogue here.


Note: the author owns the featured Norton Commando and Ducati 860 GT.


More features here

See the bikes in our shed


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