Experts are calling the find one of the greatest motorcycle discoveries in decades. Brough Superior bikes, built from 1924 until 1940, are the most sought-after two-wheel transport in the world. They are the Rolls Royce of Motorcycles.
The motorcycles from Brough Superior were some of the highest-performing bikes in their time. Now, eight more will head to the auction block at Bonhams on April 24 thanks to a trove of recently discovered barns in the UK.
Just 380 of the motorcycles were built with TE Lawrence (pictured on the bike talking to George Brough), better known as Lawrence of Arabia, who died when he crashed his SS in 1935.
The motorcycles were built in Nottingham, at founder George Brough’s factory in Haydn Road.
What do you call a motorcycle that has been rotting away in a barn for 50 years? Junk. What do you call a member of the Brough Superior Club that stored one of the most collected motorcycle since the early 1960s in a barn? Idiot. And what do you call rotting Brough Superior bikes? Really expensive Junk.
Junk covered these cycles for about 50 years, and their condition varies from mostly complete – but really rough – to just a pile of parts. He stored them away in barns in the Cornish village of Bodmin Moor.
“This is the last known collection of unrestored Brough Superiors; there will not be another opportunity like this,” said Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycle Department, in the auction announcement.
Bonhams thinks all of the bikes are restorable, the 1938 750cc BS4 has the highest sale estimate of the group at between $118,400 and $177,600. Meanwhile, two SS80 cycles in pieces each carry estimates between $8,900 and $11,800.
Unveiled for the first time in more than 50 years, ‘The ‘Broughs of Bodmin Moor’ will be offered at Bonhams Sale of Important Collectors’ Motorcycles at Stafford on 24 April 2016.
The motorcycles which from ‘The Broughs of Bodmin Moor’ collection are:
- The ex-Hubert Chantrey, 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 £80,000-120,000
- 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100 Project £60,000-80,000
- 1926 Brough Superior SS100 £30,000-40,000
- 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project with Petrol Tube Sidecar £22,000-32,000
- 1939 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project £20,000-30,000
- 1938 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50HP Project £16,000-22,000
- 1937 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project £6,000-8,000
- 1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Project £6,000-8,000
Brough Superior bikes, built from 1924 until 1940, are the most sought-after two-wheel transport in the world. Brough Superior bikes, built from 1924 until 1940, are the most sought-after two-wheel transport in the world.
Approximately 3048 motorcycles (19 models) were made in the 21 years of production; around a third of that production still exists. T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”) owned eight of these motorcycles and died from injuries sustained when he crashed number seven, the eighth was on order. George Bernard Shaw was another among many celebrities who were an enthusiastic.
Sidecars – Brough Superior also manufactured sidecars. The sidecars had coach-built bodies, and some carried a spare tyre, while others offered two seats for occasional use. The fit and finish of these sidecars were of the highest standard, as were the motorcycles. These sidecars all offered good protection from the elements. Many of the earlier sidecars were built to Brough Superior specification, while later sidecar frames were manufactured in the Brough Superior factory.
Later sidecars were unique in the fact that the frame of the sidecar held fuel. The sidecar frame looped over the top of the sidecar body and had a filler cap at the topmost position. Fuel was pressurized by a hand pump that transferred fuel from the sidecar to the petrol tank on the motorcycle. Two different bodies could be ordered for the petrol tube sidecar; cruiser or sports. The various sidecars were offered in the yearly Brough Superior sales catalogs:
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