A rare and unrestored 1930 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 outfit (with sidecar) is estimated to sell at the H&H Classics auction in the UK on April 19 for up to £350,000.
That price would make it the most expensive Brough ever sold at auction, beating the 1929 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports that fetched £315,100 at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale on November 30, 2014.
It would also be the fifth most expensive bike sold at auction.
Top place goes to the Captain America Harley chopper from Easy Rider which sold for US$1.5m in 2014, although that sale is now disputed over doubts of authenticity.
The second-most-expensive bike sold at auction was a 1915 Cyclone board tracker motorcycle once owned by Hollywood legend and motorcycle enthusiast Steve McQueen which sold for a few dollars short of US$1 million in 2015.
Third was a 1907 Harley-Davidson “Strap Tank” Single that sold for US$715,000 in 2015 in Las Vegas, fourth was a 1910 Winchester 6 HP at US$580,000 in 2013 in Auburn and fifth was a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer that went for US$551,200 in 2008 at Pebble Beach.
However, Brough Superiors are easily the most consistent top sellers at collector auctions.
The Brough Motorcycle marque will be forever associated with T.E. Lawrence, known as ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ who bought one of the first SS100s in 1925 having previously owned three Brough SS80s. The crash that would end his life came while riding another SS100, on a narrow road near his cottage in 1935.
Sixty-nine SS100s were produced in 1925 at £170 each, (equivalent to £8,700 in 2016) and were advertised by Brough as the ‘Rolls Royce of Motorcycles’. All bikes had a guarantee that they were capable of 100 mph (160 km/h). The current world record for a Brough Superior SS100 is £315,000.
H&H Classic Motorcycles director George Beale says being unrestored will not hinder bids for the 1930 Brough outfit.
“The fact that this magnificent motorcycle is unrestored only adds to its attractiveness for specialist collectors who might decide to restore or, indeed leave it in its present good condition much as it left the factory 86 years ago.”
A total of 283 SS 100 models were produced from 1925 to 1934 and only 131 are known to have survived. Only 21 SS100 models were produced in 1930 and it is possible that this is the only motorcycle to have left the works with a sidecar fitted.
The build card indicates that this machine was made to order and lists all the non standard items which were to be fitted.
The Brough, Registration number TV 2003 has a Bentley and Draper spring type frame, number S 1017 with a J.A.P overhead valve ‘V’ twin 994cc engine – number JTO/W 91700 /SC.
The bike is fitted with a 4-speed gearbox rather than the standard 3-speed item. According to the Brough Club the gearbox number indicates that this would have been fitted in 1933 and more than likely at the Brough factory.
Normally sidecars were fitted to the SS80 models which used a more sedate side valve engine rather than the sportier SS 100 overhead valve model. The sidecar is a Cruiser model fitted with a special sprung frame which was introduced in 1928. The earlier rigid frame ones caused handling problems when fitted to the Bentley and Draper framed machines.
Owner, Frank Solano, says: “I have owned TV2003 for a very long time and have travelled many mile with this bike to Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden and Portugal on very many Brough rallies as well as all the annual rallies of the Brough club. As President of the club for a short while I was very active with this bike. I cannot recall how many miles I have done on the bike but I do remember all the enjoyment my wife Luise and I have had with it, as well as my grandson Derek. I liked the bike to the point of having a solid silver model created so I will very never forget her.”
Most of the ownership history of the motorcycle and sidecar is known. It left the factory on April 14th 1930 and was purchased by Mr H. J. Davies. It was then returned to the factory and re-sold to Mr H. Walker on 24th January 1931. Then there is a gap in its history until it was bought by Mr B. Clarke in 1979. It then went to Mr John Deacon in 1985 and the present owner acquired it in August 1990. It is in good original running condition and has never been restored.
The original build card, which is held by the Brough Club (a copy of which will be supplied with the bike), shows in bold type the changes that were made when it was returned to the factory before being sold to Mr Walker. These included the fitting of a twistgrip throttle control to replace the lever type.