1930 Brough Superior Black Alpine 680
Registration no. GC 5174
Frame no. 970
Engine no. GTOY/S 91691/HS
Quite what George Broughs father - Nottingham-based motorcycle manufacturer William Edward Brough - thought when his younger son cheekily added the word Superior to the family name when founding his rival marque can only be imagined, but its thanks to this act of youthful bravado that we have one of the greatest and most evocative names in motorcycling. W E Broughs machines had been innovative and well engineered, and his sons continued the family tradition but with an added ingredient - style. The very first Brough Superior of 1919 featured a saddle tank - an innovation not adopted by the rest of the British industry until 1928 - and the latters broad-nosed, wedge-profiled outline would be a hallmark of the Nottingham-built machines from then on. Hand-built in small numbers, the Brough Superior was - inevitably - expensive, but as its maker acknowledged, he never intended to produce (the) design as cheaply as possible.
J A Prestwich of London and Motosacoche of Geneva supplied v-twin engines for the MkI and MkII Brough Superiors respectively, though within a few years all models would be JAP-powered. Gearboxes were sourced from Sturmey-Archer and (initially) forks from Montgomery, while frame and accessory manufacture was contracted out to specialists in the British motorcycle industrys Midlands heartland.
With the SS80 tourer and SS100 sports model well established by the mid-1920s, it was decided to add a smaller and cheaper alternative to these two 1,000cc models to the range. JAP was already producing a 674cc sidevalve v-twin engine and this unit, redesigned to accommodate overhead valves, went into Broughs new Overhead 680. First shown to the public at the Olympia Motorcycle Show in 1926, the Miniature SS100, as George Brough called it, entered production for 1927. The new middleweight Brough was an immediate success, and for the 1930 season was joined by a version to higher specification. First seen at the 1929 Motorcycle Show, the newcomer was dubbed Black Alpine 680, a reference to the lavishly equipped SS100 Alpine Grand Sports and the fact that the newcomer boasted a distinctive all-black eggshell finish. Principal mechanical difference from the standard Overhead 680 was the adoption of the patented Draper sprung frame.
Its accompanying Brough Superior Owners Club works record shows that this Black Alpine 680 was supplied new to Godfreys Ltd, of London. The machine was acquired by the present owner in 2000, having been in preceding owner John Eavess possession since 1987. Brough Superior Club invoices contained within the substantial history file indicate that Mr Eaves carried out a major refurbishment of the cycle parts during the 1990s, while the engine benefits from a full rebuild undertaken while in the vendors care. The machine retains its original fuel tank, gearbox, engine, tinware, stands, magneto cover, exhausts, silencers and frame, the latters number (970) being stamped on numerous parts. (It should be noted that the engine cases have been replaced with the stronger through-bolted type for increased reliability and peace of mind, though the originals are included in the sale). A wonderfully original example of a highly desirable model, GC 5174 is offered with numerous expired tax discs dating back to 1953; assorted previous-owner correspondence including letters from Brough, JAP and Pilgrim Pumps; sundry invoices; expired MoTs dating back to 2000; old-style continuation logbook (1950); Swansea V5C; MoT to February 2008 and an original Brough Superior instruction book.
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