Bonhams is delighted to announce that the 218-year old auction house has been selected to represent the ultra-rare 1954 AJS E95 “Porcupine” (so nicknamed because of the spiked cooling fins on its cylinder head) at its renowned August automotive sale at the Quail Lodge in Carmel, CA. It was created as a works racer by British manufacturer AJS and is perhaps one of the most legendary motorcycles in history owing to its brief, sunburst racing success and extreme rarity. While statistics show that the Norton is Britain’s most successful post-War Grand Prix racing motorcycle, the country’s first success in the modern era’s World Championships was achieved by another marque with an equally illustrious racing history: AJS. And the machine that carried Les Graham to his, and AJS’, first and only World Championship was, of course, the legendary Porcupine. And unlike the Nortons, the Porcupine is a totally unique design, owing nothing to the production models.
Only 4 AJS Porcupines were produced, with all 1954 models being accounted for (most earlier Porcupines were scrapped by the factory). Until recently, this particular example had been on display for more than two decades, occupying pride of place at the world-famous National Motorcycle Museum in England, its motor having been overhauled by Team Obsolete Equippe. It is estimated to bring upwards of $750,000 at auction. If it makes its estimate, it would be a world record for a motorcycle sold at auction.
“It is arguably the most beautiful, graceful and innovative racing motorcycle ever built, the perfect blend of technology and art. Comparisons are impossible but bikes of a similar caliber – rarity, significance and worth could include a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer, 1955 Moto Guzzi V8 or a mid-1960s RC Honda Grand Prix. This AJS is an utterly important machine whose appearance at auction cannot be underscored enough. “As far as motorcycles go, the Porcupine is at the very top,” says Bonhams CEO Malcolm Barber. “Rate motorcycles are consistently attracting the interest of discerning motor vehicle enthusiasts and collectors, and their rising values confirm this,” says Ben Walker, Bonhams’ International Director of Motorcycles.