MotorbikesNews

Barry Sheene Bultaco bike auctioned

One of Sheene’s first road racers sells as part of a £2 million sale in the UK.

A 1968 Bultaco TSS 250 race bike campaigned by two-time 500cc World Champion Barry Sheene was one of the star consignments at H&H Classics’ auction at the UK’s National Motorcycle Museum this past December.

The ex-Sheene bike was joined by a broad range of classic British motorcycles, including Series B and C Vincent-HRD Rapides, a 1966 Velocette Thruxton and numerous BSA, Triumph, Norton, Matchless and AJS models.

European and Japanese machinery also featured amongst the 175 lots on offer, as did oddities and rarities, like a Sinclair C5 electric trike, Heinkel and Rumi scooters, a French-made Automoto AD and Norton F1 JPS rotary. There was also a selection of more than two dozen “duplicates” from the National Motorcycle Museum collection, plus a barn find collection of seven motorcycles from the 1910s and 1920s that included a rare, Swiss-built Zendher single.

Barry Sheene Bultaco auctioned in UK
Bultaco featured in a BBC documentary in 2014, here being pushed by Barry Sheene’s good mate, Steve Parrish.

Barry’s Beginner

The Bultaco TSS 250 was purchased new by Frank Sheene in November, 1967, for his teenage son Barry to race in 1968.

Barry would win on this bike and a 125cc Bultaco in his first full season of road racing competition, setting the framework for his British 125cc Championship (on an ex-Works Suzuki) in 1970, the Formula 750 European championship in 1973 with the Suzuki factory team and the back-to-back 500cc World Championships that followed in 1976-77.

Barry Sheene Bultaco auctioned in UK
Frank Sheene (right) with the bike in the 1990s.

Sometime in 1969 or 1970, Sheene sold the TSS 250 to a Brian Richards, who raced it through the 1970s before selling it to the vendor in 1985. This third owner continued to race the Bultaco occasionally, and it was at a race meeting in the 1990s that Frank Sheene inspected the bike and confirmed it was the same one he had bought for Barry more than 25 years earlier.

“Given its provenance and racing history with Barry Sheene, this is a very collectable motorbike,” said Mark Bryan, head of H&H Classics’ Motorcycle Department ahead of the auction.

Barry Sheene Bultaco auctioned in UK
Vendor swapped the original Amal carb for a Dell’Orto unit, but the rest of the engine was authentic.

While some minor mechanical changes were made over the years, and the fairing and tank had been repainted, the bike was described as being in mostly unrestored and authentic condition.

Coming to auction with a low estimate of £25,000, the ex-Sheene Bultaco TSS 250 sold for £26,417 (AU$46,850 approx.).

Barry Sheene Bultaco auctioned in UK
Barry Sheene with his TSS 250 in C1968.

Strong Sales

Top seller at the 19 December auction was a 1925 Brough Superior SS 100, which sold for £184,000 (AU$326,400 approx.). A 1936 Brough Superior SS 80 sold for £55,200 (AU$97,900 approx.), while a 1946 HRD Rapide Series B made £69,750 (AU$123,700 approx.).

Other notable results included £48,300 (AU$85,680 approx.) for a 1929 Scott works racer for the Isle of Man Senior TT, with a 1949 Vincent-HRD Rapide Series C selling for the same amount.

Barry Sheene Bultaco auctioned in UK

A 1921 Norton Model 16H Isle of Man TT works bike sold for £34,500 (AU$61,120 approx.), a 1979 Ducati MHR made £28,750 (AU$50,000 approx.) and a C1923 Chater Lea Blackburne, formerly part of the National Motorcycle Museum collection, went for £55,200 (AU$97,900 approx.).

Total sales of almost £2 million (AU$3.5 million) from the auction was H&H Classics’ best result for the year.

“This was our biggest sale to date in terms of catalogue value,” said Bryan. “It was a great finale to what has been a difficult year.”


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Phil Suriano

Phil Suriano