Bonhams to offer the incredibly rare 1905 Leo Motorcycle
December 07, 2012
The following is an industry press release...
San Francisco – Following the recent news of Bonhams’ consignment of the remarkably original 1902 Rambler Model B from the Indian Motorcycle Museum, Bonhams is pleased to once again announce another headlining addition to their third annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction.
Thought to be the sole surviving example of a marque lost to time is a recently discovered, complete and original, 1905 Leo Two-Cycle made by the L.A. Mitchell Motor Company of Oakland, California.
This machine is historically significant for several reasons beyond its extreme rarity. Vehicles of California manufacture are exceedingly uncommon, Leo is thought to have been produced for just one year, 1905, and this now represents perhaps the earliest surviving example of an American two-cycle motorcycle.
Unlike many manufacturers of the day, the Leo was a purpose-built motorcycle utilising a motorcycle – not bicycle – frame. Its lightweight, compact motor demonstrates the brand’s progressive vision as two-cycle engines were not commonly used in American motorcycles until after World War I. Nor was this machine simply a prototype as close examination shows evidence of many miles of use, suggesting an explicit, well-sorted product.
Discovered in the warehouse of a New England museum where it sat hidden and forgotten for decades, the 107 year-old Leo is in extraordinary condition, offering a freely-turning motor, strong compression and original components, such as spokes and rims, Thor pedals and Troxel leather saddle.
On Thursday 10th January at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, this singular Leo will join other highly newsworthy motorcycles – such as the rare 1939 BMW Rennsport Kompressor and Steve McQueen’s 1970 Husqvarna 400 Cross – at Bonhams’ third annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. With its strong history of finding rare machines and achieving excellent results for pioneer and California-made motorcycles, Bonhams’ event is not to be missed.
For more information on this internationally attended auction, including how to purchase a catalogue and register to bid, please visit: Bonhams.com/Vegas.
About the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation
Founded in 1990 by the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, the goal of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame is to tell the stories and preserve the history of motorcycling. Located on the campus of the American Motorcyclist Association in Pickerington, Ohio, the Hall of Fame's three major exhibition halls feature the machines and memorabilia of those who have contributed notably to the sport. The Motorcycle Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to motorcycling, including those known for their contributions to road riding, off-road riding and all categories of racing, as well as those who have excelled in business, history, design and engineering. More information can be found at MotorcycleMuseum.org.