Bikes connected to AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers are sold at auction

A 1970 Husqvarna 250 Cross and a 1967 Triumph T20M Mountain Cub both formerly owned by filmmaker and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Bruce Brown were among the motorcycles sold in an auction held by Bonhams auctioneers on Oct. 5, 2019 at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Ala.

The museum, created by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer George Barber, was recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s largest motorcycle museum with more than 1,400 bikes.

Also among the 100 or so motorcycles sold at the Oct. 5 auction were a 1984 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Edition, a 1970 Rickman Metisse-Suzuki 500 Titan, a 1978 Suzuki GS1000 Wes Cooley tribute bike and a 1990 Honda RC30. The RC30 sold for $34,500.

The Ex-Bruce Brown 1970 Husqvarna 250cc Cross, which sold for $18,400, was sent to Brown by AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer and U.S. Husqvarna importer Edison Dye in 1970 for use in the making of Brown’s iconic motorcycling film “On Any Sunday.”

Brown kept the bike after the movie was released in 1971 and raced it.
The 1967 Triumph T20M Mountain Cub formerly owned by Brown sold for $7,475. The 197cc machine has just 1,377 miles on the odometer.

Brown made the popular 1966 surfing movie “The Endless Summer” and after that movie was released he traded a Honda 50cc step-through for this mountain cub, which he used to trail ride and race. He ended up riding with friend, actor and future AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Steve McQueen, which led to the product of “On Any Sunday.”

The 1984 Yamaha RZ350 Kenny Roberts Edition two-stroke sold for $6,900.
Yamaha created the bike as a tribute to its world champion road racer, AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer “King Kenny” Roberts, whose race bikes first carried Yamaha’s signature black-and-yellow bumblebee paint scheme, officially known as “Speed Block.”

The Yamaha RZ350 was the last legal two-stroke street bike sold in the United States. It featured a 347cc parallel-twin engine that used a two-stage catalytic converter in each muffler to meet strict emissions requirements. Also, it was the first streetbike to use YPVS, Yamaha’s race-derived, electronically controlled variable exhaust port system, meant to broaden the engine’s power band.

The RZ350 also was among the first street bikes to use a perimeter-style frame.

Also at the auction, a 1970 Rickman Metisse-Suzuki 500 Titan sold for $3,220.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers and brothers Derek and Don Rickman found success ran in their blood as motocross racers in 1960s England. After tasting victory on the track, the Rickmans began designing and building their own motorcycle frames.

Soon their distinctive designs allowed them to expand their business to include street machines and fairing production. Rickman-framed sportbikes, especially popular in America, were influential and helped guide the direction manufacturers took in design improvements of their own machines in the 1970s and into the1980s.

This Suzuki that sold at auction was a marriage between a reliable motor, the Suzuki T-500 Titan, and a British racing chassis, the Rickman Metisse, resulted in a competitive club racer. This bike carries a Yamaha racing front brake from the TZ250/350 model and has a 493cc air-cooled, twin-cylinder, two-stroke engine.

The 1978 Suzuki GS1000 Wes Cooley tribute bike isn’t a factory replica but still sold for $4,600.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Wes Cooley was a young, hard-charging rider who helped bring AMA Superbike racing into the modern era.

Before Cooley, many of the riders in Superbike were older, more conservative and rode European twin-cylinder cafe racers. Cooley, riding powerful but ill-handling big-bore Japanese four-cylinder machines, came in and stepped up the level of competition in the series.

Cooley won the AMA Superbike championship in 1979 and 1980 aboard a GS1000.
“While not a factory-built Wes Cooley Replica, this tribute machine faithfully recreates the elements of the Suzuki special edition,” Bonhams says.

The 1990 Honda RC30 at the auction sold for $35,400. The bike has 7,040 miles on the odometer.

AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer “Flyin’ Fred” Merkel rode an RC30 to World Superbike titles in 1988 and 1989.

This bike featured a quick-release front fork and single-sided swinging arm for quick wheel changes. It also has a twin-spar alloy beam frame, 16-valve V4 engine with gear-driven cams, close-ratio six-speed gearbox and four-pot front brake calipers.