An 1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmueller motorcycle sold at the recent Bonham’s International Classic Motorcycle Show for $131,550. The bike was purchased in unrestored condition by a German collector and had previously been owned by the same family since the early 1930s.
Hildebrand and Wolfmueller motorcycles were produced from 1894 to 1897 by companies in Munich, Germany and Croissy, France. The hot tube ignition made starting the bike a labor intensive process, and H&W motorcycles were not known for their reliability. By 1897, the company was out of business, having produced between 800 and 2,000 examples. A handful of surviving H&W motorcycles exist today, mostly in museum collections.
The H&W used a 1.5 liter(!), water cooled parallel twin motor mounted inside a bicycle frame. Good for 2.5 horsepower at 240 rpm, the motor gave the bike a top speed of 28 miles per hour; given the lack of suspension and primitive tires of the time. that would have been fast enough for me.