Ever since BMW introduced the R 18 in 2020, it’s been the base for many a custom build that’s made its way out into the world. Some have been commissioned by BMW, and some have not—but one thing you don’t see often is one of those custom R 18s come up for sale. 

That’s about to change between October 4 and 11, 2023, though. Those are the dates that the RM Sotheby’s auction of Formula One champion Nigel Mansell’s Legacy Collection will be offered for sale to the highest bidder. As you’d likely guess, most of this collection is made up of memorabilia from Mansell’s illustrious racing career on four wheels—not two. 

While you’d mostly be right in that guess, there are still a couple of notable motorbike-related items that will soon be available for bidding. One of those is Mansell’s Honda ST 70 ‘Ferrari’ pit bike, which hails from his brief time with the Ferrari Formula One team. Another is this 2020 BMW R 18 ‘Il Leone Edition’ custom build, which gets its name from the nickname that Mansell received from Ferrari’s ardent fans (often called tifosi).  

Gallery: Custom BMW R 18 Nigel Mansell 'Il Leone Edition'

This 2020 BMW R 18 ‘Il Leone Edition’ is one of just 31 of these custom bikes announced by Mansell’s son, Greg, who owns and runs the Mansell Collection on the Channel Island of Jersey. According to Greg Mansell, he and Steve “Custom Bike Steve” Burt crafted this machine as a tribute to Nigel Mansell. They altered the ergonomics to channel the spirit of BMW’s race bikes of the 1930s and ‘40s. 

At the same time, though, they made other changes—like taking the original solo seat found on the R 18 and turning it into a dual saddle so the rider can take a passenger if they want. The handlebars have been altered, and there’s now a custom, hand-painted number plate on the side with the Il Leone Red numeral “5” boldly displayed. 

The build contains a number of other details, as well. From custom finishes to real wood accents (a nod to the wooden shift knob found in Nigel Mansell’s Williams F1 car), to a hand shifter and a foot clutch, even a brief glance tells you that this is a unique machine.  

This particular example will be offered with no reserve at the RM Sotheby’s Nigel Mansell’s Legacy Collection auction from October 4 through 11, 2023. It’s estimated to go for between £20,000 and £40,000 (about $25,303 and $50,606).

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