A German buyer has paid $131,000 U.S.
for an extremely rare 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller motorcycle.
It’s widely considered to be the first
motorcycle ever mass produced, and surviving models are few and
generally housed in museums.
William McNee had one, however, and
when he died his family asked the Bonhams auction firm to sell it.
The H&W had belonged to McNee’s
grandfather, Bill Brassington, who had ridden it around Staten Island
in the ’30s and had promised to give it to his grandson. The motorcycle had been inspected
around 1970 by a representative of the Smithsonian Museum, but McNee
had declined to donate it to the museum.
It was auctioned in
original, unrestored condition. See "Wolfmüller at the door" in
CMG’s Jan. 15 Fudge for more information on this motorcycle.