Bonhams offers 1973 Norton Commando and more in Las Vegas auction

A 1973 Norton Commando, a turbocharged 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC and a 1973 Montesa 250cc Cappra are among the motorcycles on the auction block at the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction being held by Bonhams Auction House at Caesar’s Entertainment Studios in Las Vegas on Jan. 23, 2020.

Other motorcycles for sale include a 1970 Triumph 650cc T120R Bonneville, 1974 Honda CB750, 1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special, 1990 Honda VFR750 RC30 and more.

The 1973 Norton 750 Commando Roadster was built by NYC Norton in Jersey City, N.J. Bonhams said: “This stunning 1973 late-model 750 Commando Roadster underwent a complete rebuild by Kenny Cummings’ NYC Norton located in Jersey City from the fall of 2018 to the spring of 2019. Barely broken in with just over 100 miles on the odometer this might be called the ’’perfect Norton,’ certainly the ‘perfect Commando.’”

The 1978 Kawasaki Z1R TC is just one of the turbocharged machines produced by the major motorcycle manufacturers for a short period of time. In theory, a turbo comes as close to producing free horsepower as anything ever invented. It uses exhaust pressure to spin a small turbine that packs more fresh air and fuel into the cylinders. This creates a real-world, on-demand hyperdrive, which amounts to a very serious, very noticeable performance boost. But the heavy, ill-handling machines never really caught on with the public. This bike produced a claimed 130 horses at 8,500 rpm. The engine is a 1,016cc, air-cooled, turbocharged, double-overhead-cam inline four. Wet weight: 560 pounds.

Who doesn’t remember the slogan Viva Montesa! The brand had a following in the 1970s and the 1973 Montesa 250cc Cappra on sale at this auction is a perfect example of the motocrossers from Spain.

“This example is a 1973 model complete with Red with Pumpkin and Black stripes, one of perhaps 2,400 made for a world market, most long ago destroyed, that we’re advised by the vendor starts and runs well and is in excellent condition having been carefully refurbished,” Bonhams said.

The 1970 Triumph 650cc T120R Bonneville is a classic café racer.

“Dating from the last year of production prior to the introduction of the oil-in-frame model, this numbers-matching Bonnie came into the owner’s collection in 2007,” Bonhams said. “Sourced from a Texas garage, it was restored to its factory specifications at some point prior to purchase. Fitted with dual, not a single, Amal concentric carburetors and finished in two-tone burgundy and silver color scheme with a black vinyl saddle, it carries some of the modern improvements that had benefited the Bonneville after nearly a dozen years of production.”

The 1974 Honda CB750 K4 has never been restored and is described as in very good condition with just over 29,000 miles on the odometer.

When the Honda CB750 Four was introduced in 1969 it was revolutionary. It had four cylinders, four megaphone exhausts, a disc front brake, an overhead camshaft and amazing fit and finish. Honda engineers realized that several low-mass, smaller pistons could move faster than a few heavy ones, turning increased RPMs into more power.

The 1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special is the last of the air-cooled two-stroke street bikes in America, thanks to tightened U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions regulations. This bike is unrestored and has just 63 miles on the odometer. In the 1970s the RD400s were cheap, fast and fun.

“It is indeed fortunate then that this RD400F was barely ridden and tucked away in storage for most of its 40 years,” Bonhams said. “All original equipment remains in place with the exception of the age-checked Yokohama tires, replaced with new classic-pattern Heidenaus, through the originals are included in the sale. In the current owner’s care, the Yamaha was ridden a couple of times on short jaunts and then put on static display. Refreshing the battery and a simple recommissioning would be all that is required if the new owner should want to add any more miles to the RD’s odometer.”

The 1990 Honda VFR750 RC30 is a racing bike for the street, with a quick-release front fork and single-sided swingarm that were essential for speedy wheel changes in Superbike racing.

“The bike was conceived and developed with no other guidelines than making the fastest sportbike that could be seen in the street, simply the best of the best,” Bonhams said. “Giving it such a prestige also came at a cost, both financially than in its ‘everyday usage’. For example, due to the tightness of the piston tolerance, it was not rare to have cold seizures and get the valves stretched if the bike was used too hard.”

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