A Brough Superior has sold at auction for a record price of $379,202. But it wasn’t just any old bike; it was owned by George Brough who started the company.
The SS100, which was known as the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles and tested to 100mph (160km/h) before each unit was sold, was part of a Bonhams auction of vintage motorcycles in Stafford.
It is further evidence that it is not always the machine that fetches the price, but its history. Previously, bikes owned by famous people, such as Hollywood’s King of Cool Steve McQueen, have also fetched top prices.
The star lot of the sale was first registered in 1939 and campaigned by George Brough in the London-Edinburgh Trial two days later.
Bonhams spokesman Ben Walker says the SS100 was a record price at auction for a Matchless engined example. “The owner was truly astounded with the result achieved,” he says.
The SS100 was originally attached to a sidecar and George rode in the London-Edinburgh endurance run with Motor Cycling journalist Henry Laird in the ‘chair’. Laird’s article about the event was published in Motor Cycling’s edition of June 14, 1939, a copy of which was supplied with the machine.
Brough put the motorcycle to arduous use throughout 1939, which included various road tests and the Tour of Ireland as well as the London-Edinburgh. In April 1945, the Brough Superior was advertised for sale in Motor Cycling for £200 ($350).
The owner’s father bought it for £70 ($125) and registered it on August 14, 1961. Placed in storage in 1967, the motorcycle has been in sporadic use since then, but has been well-maintained over the years.