It's not uncommon for celebrity cars to pop up at auctions. Next month at the Goodwood Members' Meeting, the hammer will drop on Nick Mason's Ferrari Dino, Rod Stewart's Lamborghini Diablo and Paul McCartney's Lamborghini 400GT. But sometimes it's refreshing when the auctioned piece of Beatles memorabilia isn't a luxury car, but something else entirely.
A Honda Monkey. That's right, John Lennon used to have a Honda Monkey bike as well as a Mercedes 600 Pullman and a psychedelic Rolls-Royce. He bought the bike new in 1969, and used it to ride around the premises of his country house near Ascot, England. The 49cc Z50A is one of the earlier Monkeys, as the model line was originally introduced in the mid-Sixties and made commercially available in England by 1967. Monkeys or other Z-series mini bikes are still being made. The fantastic thing is that the bike is still as rough and dirty as Lennon left it, when he sold it in 1971, at the same time as he sold the house and moved to New York. In the early '70s, his celebrity status was so strong that the family purchasing the bike decided to just store it, instead of running it to the ground. Well, any further into the ground than Lennon had — there's certainly some patina on the bike.
However, it runs, the frame and the powertrain are numbers matching, and it's still registered with the original plate. That all will probably translate into a final auction price that would buy you a boatload of old Honda Monkey bikes: The estimate ranges from $28,000 to $55,800, and even the starting bid is almost $14k. The Monkey is part of a National Motorcycle Museum auction held on March 4 in Solihull, England.