EJ Cole collection rakes in more than £8m

Straptank Harley

The EJ Cole motorbike collection went under the hammer last weekend, selling for a whopping £8,263,684.29.

The auction, held in Las Vegas by Mecum Auctions, was expected to be one of the most expensive in history, with the collection featuring classic bikes dating from as far back as 1903.

The collection was comprised of only American models that were collected over the last 50 years by Mr Cole, with the youngest model being a 1991 Harley-Davidson FXDB Sturgis that sold for $18,500 (£12,444).

In total, 237 of the 239 lots were sold with the only items left on the shelf being two Harley-Davidson models from the early 1900s.

Both the 1904 and 1908 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank Singles were expected to fetch $110,000 (£73,993) and $120,000 (£80,719) respectively however reserves were not met for either model.

Fortunately, Mr Cole is unlikely to feel too hard done by as his other Harley Strap Tank, this time from 1907, exceeded estimates to rake in a massive $650,000 (£437,231) – the second highest price of the whole auction.

The most expensive lot title went to the 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer, previously owned by Steve McQueen.

The stunning yellow model sold for $775,000 (£521,003) ahead of the 1907 Strap Tank and the $385,000 (£258,820) 1911 Flying Merkel Board Track Racer in terms of price.

And the pricetag for Steve McQueen’s old set of wheels makes it one of the most expensive bikes ever bought at auction.

Yellow Cyclone

However it still falls quite a way short of the $1.35m (£838,821) paid for the customised Harley-Davidson chopper used in the Easy Rider film late in 2014.

One of the more bizarre lots was a 1907 Indian Tri-Car with a Sedan chair at the front. The weird and wonderful Indian sold for $165,000 (£110,923).

At the opposite end of the market, one of the cheapest lots was the 1903 American Tandem Single motorised bicycle, selling for $5,000 (£3,361). But it wasn’t just motorbikes on sale as other trinkets and items from American manufacturers also went under the hammer.

A wicker sidecar, carnival ride and tyre inflator all sold in Vegas as well.

You can view a gallery of some of EJ Cole’s best bikes using the link.

Next page: Historical motorbike auction set for this weekend