Prototype Honda CB750 sold at auction

A HALF-CENTURY:  Old, and a snap at 161,000 pounds (AU$287,000) at auction in England.  Photo: H&H Classics Auctions
A HALF-CENTURY: Old, and a snap at 161,000 pounds (AU$287,000) at auction in England. Photo: H&H Classics Auctions

A FIFTY YEAR old prototype of a Honda CB750 motorcycle, a machine that was to go on to be dubbed “the world’s first superbike,” has sold in England for an extraordinary 161,000 pounds (that’s AU$287,000,) making it the world’s most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction.

And what is probably more amazing, is that it had been appraised by experts as likely to go for no more than 40,000 pounds (AU$71,350)… a mere quarter of that final selling price

The CB750 prototype was one of just four hand-built by Honda in 1968 to promote the commercial launch of the CB750 range in 1969, 4-cylinder machines capable of a then unheard-of 200kph and more, and described as “the most sophisticated production bikes ever… top landmarks of Japanese automotive technology.”

Only the one just sold at auction in England and one other prototype are still in existence today – the other re-selling in America in 2014 for US$148,000 (AU$187,000.) A third one of the four disappeared off the radar in France many years ago, and the fourth was crushed as scrap in the US in 2013.

The one just sold in England through auction house H&H Classics, had been owned for the past 35 years by the one enthusiast until his death last year, with its world-record price the result of keen international interest and an extended-bidding battle.