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The Art of the Motorcycle at Mossgreen

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Written by editor

MELBOURNE, Australia – In 1998, the Guggenheim Museum mounted the Art of the Motorcycle Exhibition that historian, Jeremy Packer, described as representing “the end of a cycle of….social rejection o

MELBOURNE, Australia – In 1998, the Guggenheim Museum mounted the Art of the Motorcycle Exhibition that historian, Jeremy Packer, described as representing “the end of a cycle of….social rejection of motorcyclists.” Each of the 114 exhibits was chosen “for their historic importance or design excellence.”

“The idea that a motorcycle could be considered as a work of art was as shocking to some as it was liberating to others,” says Catherine Davison, Automotive Specialist at Mossgreen. “It has been a long social evolutionary process for the motorcycle to be recognized as a work of art.”

Mossgreen presents an auction of 18 significant motorcycles from 1919 to 1975 in keeping with its avant-garde approach to the relationship between art and utilitarianism.

The motorcycles, together with racing helmets from great champions including Michael Doohan, Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner and Ralf Schumacher, will be offered on 18 October, as part of the Collectors’ Cars, Motorcycles & Automobilia auction.

Highlights include a 1919 Cleveland 13.5CI Lightweight. Built between 1915 and 1924, the 13.5CI (221cc) two-stroke motor was mounted transverse to the frame, with a worm drive to power the countershaft sprocket to final chain drive. This Lot, engine number 12581, was imported to Australia in 2014. The
Cleveland set several lightweight endurance records in 100-200 mile races.

Another Lot is a 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 750 – one of the motorcycles included in the Guggenheim Exhibition. Designer Craig Vetter was commissioned to design a BSA Rocket 3 for the American market with a brief to make it ‘sleeker and more balanced.’ He created the Triumph Hurricane in the summer of
1969 and only 1,200 were built. The Hurricane revolutionised the cruising motorcycle. This Australian-delivered machine has a low mileage of 4,649.