Ivan Mauger's gold-plated motorbike sold to Canterbury Museum

The story of the world's greatest speedway rider, Ivan Mauger, continues today with Canterbury Museum purchasing his 24 carat gold-plated motorbike, among other memorabilia.

At $1.7 million, the purchase is the museum's largest ever and includes three motorbikes, trophies, vests, leathers and other speedway-related items.

At the exhibition unveiling, Mauger's daughter Julie Mauger said today would have been one of the proudest days of his life.

"We know that Dad would be totally thrilled to know that this collection is going to stay here forever," she said.

The 77-year-old speedway king grew up in the Christchurch suburb of Woolston and was always proud of the Canterbury region's successes, she said.

"He used to always want to bring that home…

"He left Christchurch when he was 16 or 17-years-old and went on to be, six times, the World Speedway champion."

Canterbury Museum's new Speedway King: The Ivan Mauger Story exhibition.

Ms Mauger said the family had been contacted several times by overseas buyers interested in acquiring her father's memorabilia, but the family wanted the collection to stay at Canterbury Museum, where it has been on loan since 2007.

Museum chairman Michael McEvedy said the family have generously sold the collection "for much less than they might have received on the open market"

Ivan Mauger's gold-plated 'Triple Crown Special' motorbike.

Mauger's 'Triple Crown Special' motorbike, which he rode to win his third consecutive World Championship Speedway title in 1970, was gold-plated as the result of a bet.

American speedway fans George Wenn and Ray Bokelman said if Mauger did win the world title for a third time at Wroclaw in Poland, they would have the bike made golden.

The work took 18 months and cost nearly $700,000 NZD.

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the sale is "overwhelmingly important" for remembering the city’s past.

"He inspired a generation, particularly young boys, but I grew up in Christchurch and everyone knew him," she said.

The museum's purchase was funded by a $10 million bequest from a Blenheim retired company secretary – the largest gift received by the museum in its 146-year history.

Mauger, who lives in the Gold Coast, Australia, could not travel to the event himself as he is "amongst the stages of Alzheimer's," Julie Mauger said.