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Lot 188: 1968 BSA 441cc Victor ‘Special’

Motorcycles featuring Michael Corbin Collection, Bonhams & Butterfields (3 May 2008)

The at-one-time huge firm of BSA was frustratingly slow in either designing or adopting unit construction engines. In fact the first manifestation of an eponymous unit single was the 250cc C15, which appeared in 1959. It was however a reasonably robust design inasmuch over the next decade the C15 and its variants were ultimately ‘stretched’ to form the basis of the B40, and B44, in a program that eventually culminated in the 500cc B50. The 441cc B44 was a relatively successful manifestation. First shown at the end of 1965 as a motocross model the B44 was ostensibly developed from the 400cc and 420cc prototype scramblers upon which Jeff Smith had famously secured the 1964 and 1965 500 MX World Championships. Jeff had begun his campaign for the sport’s top prize in 1963, in which he was placed 3rd overall, and he continued this crusade through 1967, gaining a fine 2nd and a further valiant 3rd place alongside his two world titles. It was a fast moving 5-year period, which finally saw every 4-stroke brand, except BSA, superseded by the new breed of 360cc and larger sized 2-strokes.

Almost inevitably BSA’s mx model Victor Grand Prix was launched at the Earls Court Show, Britain’s annual November exhibition, which in 1965 opened its doors to 140,000 eager visitors. The bike, quite correctly, attracted considerable criticism from potential customers because – in what was a typical BSA policy decision – it was produced to a spec’ that yet required its rider to spanner the bike into a Race Ready condition…unlike the fully prepped Greeves and CZs on adjacent booths! Nonetheless the contemporary market was hungry, the B44 itself was admired by the anti 2-stroke brigade, and it did sell satisfactorily. Street legal versions with lights and mufflers duly followed. The B44VS Victor ‘Special’, aimed specifically at America’s burgeoning trail market, began in 1968, and continued in production over the next three seasons.

Showing 9,921 miles, the previously restored Victor ‘Special’ is stated by the owner to be in good condition.

Without reserve

Lot Details
Auction Motorcycles featuring Michael Corbin Collection
Bonhams & Butterfields, The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay, California
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number188
Estimate$7000-$9000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$8000
Hammer Price (inc premium)$9360
Year1968
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis numberAC10967 B44VS
Engine numberAC10967 B44VS
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors