Brough Superior SS 100

Brough Superior
Did you know that the world record for a motorcycle sold at auction is $551,000? It was set in 2008 by a 1915 Cyclone board track racer. But that record might be broken on 15 December, when George Brough’s prototype Brough Superior SS 100 goes under the hammer in New York. This machine is the evocatively-named Alpine Grand Sport variant, and it’s tipped to go for between $600,000 and $700,000.

The 1,000cc V-twin Brough Superior SS 100 was guaranteed to do 100 mph, and in 1925 George Brough himself won the Austrian Speed Trials on this very bike. (More images here.) It was prepared by his Chief Engineer, Harold “Oily” Karslake, and tweaked for high-speed competition in the Austrian Alps. Brough added large Rexine panniers for overnight gear, two tool bags below them, and had the motor tuned for competition at altitude. The Alpine Grand Sport also includes an isochronous Bonniksen speedometer—with timing facilities—and is longer and lower than the standard SS 100. George Brough’s success in the trials led to Austria becoming the second largest market for Brough Superior, and Brough kept this particular bike as his own personal transport for a year, before selling it to a prince in India.

Much as I love motorcycles, I’m not sure any machine is worth more than half a million dollars. But if you’re going to pay that money for a bike, this is probably the one to choose. [With thanks to Chuck Squatriglia. More on Wired Autopia and The Vintagent. ]

Phillips de Pury & Company’s “Design Masters” sale will be held on 15 December. The venue is at 450 Park Avenue; consignments will be on view there 9-14 December, from 10am to 6pm.

Brough Superior
Brough Superior
Brough Superior
Brough Superior

  • prich

    Man, Those pics are amazing. This is less of a motorcycle and more of a time machine. It’s interesting to think that the only thing to survive from those photos is the bike (and maybe the buildings). The people, the business, the dir roads, those woods – all gone by now.

    Very cool find.

  • http://subcaferacer.com Brendan Falkowski

    Beautiful details on the triple clamp and handlebars, but I’m curious about the six lever count. The oversized inner aperture on that headlamp looks post-modern even today.

  • http://norton73.smugmug.com/ norton73

    If TE Lawrence’s final Brough (the one he was killed on) ever came up for sale, how much would it bring?

  • Brad

    Any motorcycle good enough for Lawrence of Arabia is good enough for me! Now where did I put that $551,000?

  • el vencejo

    Prich… the strange thing is that you can ride the road down towards West Lulworth, where TE crashed, its a little wider, the surface is better, but the trees, the old cottages, the farm tracks are still there. :)

    I do so like English V-twins ;)

  • joe momma

    …i dunno…..that’s alot o’ money for kinda homely fenders…….o k skip that……i never could get over the magneto installed as a mudflap…..??maybe it is a curb feeler……

  • Septic the Sceptic

    This is where Mule and Lew start complaining about the lack of disc brakes and suspension, and the total impracticality of the high level pipes, and how it’s just going to be some rich douche’s plaything and won’t get ridden, and every bike they’ve built is like totally more awesome than this clunker.

  • Greevous

    @Septic: Are you from the future!?! How could you know? :D

    Also, you don’t see exhaust pipe fins very often (http://www.fiteng.com/AGS/AGS7.JPG) pretty trick.

  • Jimmy

    I think Aircraftman T E Shaw’s Brough Superior would look pretty second hand these days. Love those exhaust pipes.

  • Sportster Cafe

    The Lawrence fatal bike was for sale, they wanted 2,000,000, not sure if that was Pounds or Dollars? Now it is in the British motorcycle museum. Never did hear if it sold, not sure what is going on? You can still build a Brough to your own specks from the ground up, easily under $100,000, I want one. Jay of course has one!

  • Jimmy

    Well it appears I’m wrong. Lawrence’s Brough is at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in Hampshire, UK. I guess I should check my facts before making flippant remarks.

  • D.

    Jay Leno has one (of course).

    http://www.jaylenosgarage.com/video/1930-brough-superior-ss100/806181/

    Some of his videos are pretty interesting, to me at least.

  • Scott Brough

    Brough superior makers are distant relatives of mine. They are soooooooooooo freakin’ cool!!!!

  • evilgiles

    Septic I think you will find there are quite a few ‘Statler and Waldorfs’ that frequent the comments… ;)

    Now what can I sell to get 600 G….?

  • T

    More than half a million is definitely a lot of money, but compare this with a car of same vintage, with similar history and equal(-ish) production numbers? Or even a few colors smeared on a piece of canvas by a madman…. (as in Picasso or Van Gogh) It`s a comparative steal! And what a beauty it is :-)

  • KIK

    I used to like this bike until the OCC clowns made a chopper based on one for jay leno…

  • ArcLight

    Acetylene Lighting?

  • Peter B

    Sportster Cafe / Jimmy, I saw the ‘fatal’ bike in the Imperial War Museum in London last year. It was I believe on loan from Beualieu, who in turn have it from a private owner.
    I believe also, although I don’t have first hand information, that an offer of around £2m GBP was made at one point and rejected. She looks to be in superb condition, well presented but not over restored, a gorgeous if tragic bike.

  • Shawn

    I always thought the Bough Superiors were great bikes. Nice detailing and great style.
    As for the money. A bike is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. I guess its good that the money is high, it keeps these bikes in the right circles and pristine as opposed to rusting away.

  • BRG

    Truely the Rolls Royce of motorcycles. Amazing stuff, thanks.

  • Septic the Sceptic

    George’s father also built motorcycles. The “Superior” refers to George’s bikes being better than the bikes of his father.

  • http://www.christrotmanphotography.com CHris

    Just beautiful.

  • KIK

    Where can i find one of those front tag bracket thinghie?

  • http://www.bikeexif.com Chris

    Just heard that the bike failed to sell — it reached $430,000, but no more.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5JNUAMTEXMSAAHXBTGJXQ5XQF4 Chad

    Anybody have any info at all on that headlight?

  • Addled_B

    Those look like carbide lamps