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Bonhams 1793 Ltd – Motorcycle dept
101 New Bond Street, London
W1S 1SR
Tel:  020 8963 2817
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C.1969 BENELLI 62CC PROTOTYPE RACING MOTORCYCLE (SEE TEXT) SOLD by Auction

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  • £12,000 Auction Estimate
  • 1969
Message the seller
Price £12,000 Auction Estimate
Ad Type For Sale by Auction
Category Motorcycles
Make Benelli
Model PROTOTYPE RACING MOTORCYCLE
Year 1969
Country UK
Region Oxfordshire
Telephone 020 8963 2817
Status Trade
Date 28-Jul-2020
Ref C1250834
This motorcycle is to be auctioned at our Live and Online Summer Sale, Hanger 113, Bicester Heritage, OX26 5HA.

SALE TIMES
Friday 14 August Spares & Memorabilia (Lot 1 - 212) 10am
Saturday 15 August Motorcycles (Lot 301 - 462) 10am
Sunday 16 August Motorcycles (Morbidelli Collection) (Lot 501 - 704) 10am

VIEWING
In light of the current government guidelines and relaxed measures we are delighted to welcome viewing, strictly by appointment. All the lots will be on view at Bicester Heritage in our traditional Hangar 113. We will ensure social distancing measures are in place, with gloves and sanitiser available for clients wishing to view motorcycle history files.

Please contact Bonhams Motorcycles with your preferred date, time and vehicle registration number to book an appointment.

VIEWING TIMES
Wednesday 12 August 1pm to 5pm
Thursday 13 August 9am to 5pm
Friday 14 August 9am to 5pm
Saturday 15 August 9am to 5pm (Lots 501-704 only)

LIVE AND ONLINE AUCTION
Please note that whilst public viewing is available by appointment, the auction itself will be conducted from a remote saleroom, behind closed doors without public access, in accordance with the current government guidelines. All bidding will be conducted via Online, Telephone and Absentee Bidding. Please contact our Bids Department to register.

AUCTION ADDRESS
Hangar 113
Bicester Heritage
Buckingham Road
Bicester
Oxfordshire
OX26 5HA


C.1969 BENELLI 62CC PROTOTYPE RACING MOTORCYCLE (SEE TEXT) (LOT 681)
FRAME NO. UNABLE TO LOCATE
ENGINE NO. UNABLE TO LOCATE
• Ultra-rare factory bike
• Restored by former factory mechanic, Mauro Righi
• One of the last machines restored in the Morbidelli Museum's workshop

The ultra-rare machine offered here is purported to be a test-bed built around 1959 to evaluate the 62cc (or thereabouts) cylinder that would form the basis of Benelli's forthcoming 250cc four-cylinder Grand Prix engine.

When, in 1960, Benelli was forced to acknowledge that it needed a multi-cylinder machine to remain competitive in Grand Prix racing's 250cc class, the Italian firm was able to draw on past experience of this type if machine, having constructed a 'blown' quarter-litre four in 1939. Although it was first seen in 1960, the 250 Benelli four did not race competitively until April 1962, when Silvio Grassetti debuted the bike at Imola.

By 1969 the last of the Japanese manufacturers had pulled out of the World Championships, clearing the way for the Benelli fours to grab a slice of Grand Prix glory. Agostini and MV Agusta remained unassailable in the 350 and 500 classes, but in the 250 category Benelli-mounted Kel Carruthers eventually got the better of Kent Andersson's Yamaha and Santiago Herrero's Ossa, bringing the Championship back to Pesaro.

So, did Benelli's successful bid to win the 250cc World Championship commence with the machine offered here? It has to be said that the engine, with its wide angle between the valves, looks rather old-fashioned, and the Benelli 250 four that was first shown to the public in June 1960 had a much narrower valve angle. Furthermore, experimental engines never intended for actual competition use are usually evaluated on the test-bed, not on the racetrack. In appearance, this engine looks similar to the 250cc Benelli singles of the early 1950s, though why it was built into a working motorcycle remains a mystery, while the cycle parts appear typical of ultra-lightweight racers of the late1960s/early 1970s. Possibly this engine is one of a small batch built for the 'tiddler' classes of long-distance road races such as the Moto Giro d'Italia and Milan-Taranto but not used until someone had the idea of building them into complete motorcycles some 20 years later.

Believed one of very few built, this machine is said to have been tested by the great Eugenio Lazzarini. A future three-time World Champion, Lazzarini was a works Benelli rider only in his first year of Grand Prix racing (in 1969, aged 24), which would appear to support the conclusion that this machine dates from that period. Bought from the Benelli family, the machine was restored by former factory mechanic, Mauro Righi and is one of the last motorcycles to be restored in the Museum's workshop (around four years ago). It is not known if the engine is internally complete, nor if it runs.

£12,000 - 18,000
€13,000 - 20,000
To be sold without reserve

As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

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