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Lot 322: Motosacoche V-Twin

Quail Lodge Sale, Bonhams (16 August 2012)

Little known and seldom seen in the U.S., Motosacoche was nonetheless a prolific maker of engines and motorcycles. Like many others, the Swiss company got its start after the turn of the century making "clip-on" motors that could be attached to pedal bicycles. The company's claim to fame  and in fact its very name  came from sheetmetal bodywork that surrounded the cylinder, adding an air of modernity as well as shielding the rider from any wayward oil spray. Motosacoche, quite literally, translates to "engine in a bag." Progression came quickly for Motosacoche, which moved to making bigger and more powerful engines, including a 500cc V-twin as seen here, culminating in a potent 1000cc V-twin. So well regarded were the powerplants that other companies contracted with Motosacoche to provide engines for their own frames. These so-called M.A.G. powerplants (for Motosacoche Acacias Genève) were used by English, French and Italian bike-makers. In 1922 the company proved the worth of its own complete motorcycle when a Motosacoche 500 came home first in the inaugural Bol d'Or 24-hour event. If Motosacoche is relatively unknown on these shores, the two men responsible for this particular example need no introduction. The story goes that Bud Ekins, legendary racer, Hollywood stunt rider and enthusiastic classics collector, spied the motor on one of his trips to England, where it was pulling hard duty running a lathe. The shop owner was only convinced to relinquish the 500cc V-twin after Ekins showed up with an electric motor to take its place. Back in the States, reunited with the proper running gear, the project was turned over to Ekins' friend and on-again/off-again employee Kenneth Howard, better known as Von Dutch. Best known for his painting and pinstriping, Von Dutch was also a skilled machinist who restored many motorcycles for Ekins. Look past the Motosacoche's unique hand-cranked starter mechanism and you'll find Von Dutch's signature on the vertically mounted toolbox. It is also featured on page 377 of The Art of Von Dutch

Lot Details
Auction Quail Lodge Sale
Bonhams, Carmel, California, USA
Lot Number322
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$22500
Hammer Price (inc premium)$25875
Condition rating
Registration number
Chassis number1507
Engine number2C1043335
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors