Bonhams’ high-profile auctions usually throw up some surprises. But few are as big as this one. Most vintage motorcycles worth more than $100,000 are pretty well known, but have you ever heard of the German brand Windhoff? Me neither. Yet this restored 1928 example, fresh from a private museum, is expected to sell for between $145,000 and $190,000.
The Windhoff has a high estimate because it was the best of its type in the inter-War years. The engine is an OHC oil-cooled four. It’s also big for that era, at 746cc, and is a stressed member of the frame. Rarity helps too: Hans Windhoff’s company went out of business in 1933, a victim of Germany’s economic travails, and few of his creations survive. This one, luckily, has had a charmed life, with just three owners to date.
Bonhams quotes motorcycle historian Erwin Tragatch as saying the Windhoff is perhaps “the most unique, progressive and beautiful motorcycle ever made.”