Most expensive motorcycle ever sells for £605k

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It is just one of 33 examples and was hand-built in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, by special order for Australian racer Tony MacAlpine. This original spec, unrestored model is just one of 19 left in existence and has only covered 5,281 miles.

At the Bonhams auction in Las Vegas, cheers and applause were heard as bidding finally ended at $929,000 (£659,729).

At the time of its build, another well-known Vincent Black Lightning nicknamed ‘Gunga Din’ was undergoing work in the factory.

Upon completion of both, the two machines were contested at an airfield where it was said that McAlpine’s bike was a clear 30 yards ahead of Gunga Din, and factory records later indicated speeds in excess of 130 mph in third gear.

Most notable, however, was that in 1953 the McAlpine-ordered motorcycle smashed the existing Australian speed record when Jack Ehret achieved an average speed of 141.5 mph.

Under the ownership of Ehret, the Black Lightning would also clinch numerous race victories throughout Australia and become renowned around the globe.

Ben Walker, Bonhams head of motorcycling, said: ‘Rollie Free and Marty Dickerson, both legends in the Vincent universe, knew of this motorcycle and Ehret’s acclaim.

‘After the “Bathing Suit Bike” ridden by Free, the Ehret bike is likely the most important Black Lightning in existence and is one of the world’s most desirable machines.’

In original, unrestored and running condition – recommissioned by none other than Vincent master Patrick Godet, this tremendously important and rare Black Lightning was in Ehret’s ownership for nearly 50 years, before being owned by three more owners.

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