Brough Superior Motorcycle - 1937 speed record of 170 mphBrough Superior motorcycles impress. George Brough built big, beautiful, machines capable of three-figure speeds in an era when going that fast on a public road was considered evidence of insanity. One set the 1937 speed record of 170 mph. The brand, which called itself “the Rolls-royce of motorcycles”, built a fanatical following. Customers included George Bernard Shaw and Orson Welles. T.E. Lawrence, also known as Lawrence of Arabia, owned eight and died on one. Jay Leno owns six.
Barnfinds continue to step from urban legend into reality, the latest being the discovery of eight Brough Superior Motorcycles in a Cornish village. Stored in barns, the motorcycles were discovered whole, in parts, and some were partially submerged under five decades of dust. The "Broughs of Bodmin Moor" were offered at Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale on April 24, 2016. The motorcycles were owned by Brough Superior Club member Frank Vague, who recently passed away. Most of the bikes were apparently acquired during the 1960s. "This is one of the greatest motorcycle discoveries of recent times," said Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Collectors' Motorcycle Department. "A lot of mystery surrounds these motorcycles, as very few people knew that they still existed, many believing them to be an urban myth. There was a theory that they still existed somewhere in the West Country, but few knew where, until now." The Brough Superior motorcycle auction created global interest and sold at auction for £752,625. One of the bikes, a 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 sold for £330,000, ($480,000) breaking the record for the most expensive bike sold at auction.
- Brough Superior motorcycles were built in Nottingham, at founder George Brough's factory in Haydn Road
- Built in the 1920s and 1930s, they were known as the Rolls Royce of motorcycles
- Only ten BS4 models (aka Brough Superior 'four cylinder') were built, and only seven survive
Bonhams Brough Superior Motorcycle Auctioned BikesW E Brough's machines had been innovative and well engineered, and his son's continued the family tradition but with an added ingredient - style. The very first Brough Superior MkI of 1919 featured a saddle tank - an innovation not adopted by the rest of the British industry until 1928 - and the latter's broad-nosed, wedge-profiled outline would be a hallmark of the Nottingham-built machines from then on. Always the perfectionist, Brough bought only the best available components for his bikes, reasoning that if the product was right, a lofty price tag would be no handicap. And in the 'Roaring Twenties' there were sufficient wealthy connoisseurs around to prove him right. The motorcycles which form 'The Broughs of Bodmin Moor' Collection are:
- The ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4
- 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 Project
- 1926 Brough Superior SS100
- 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project with Petrol Tube Sidecar
- 1939 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project
- 1938 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50HP Project
- 1937 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project
- 1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project