1933 Brough Superior Overhead 680
Lot 271
1933 Brough Superior Overhead 680
Sold for £58,700 (US$ 98,664) inc. premium
Lot Details
1933 Brough Superior Overhead 680
Registration no. TV 9117
Frame no. 5/1241
Engine no. GTO/Z 28410/K
Quite what George Brough’s 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 it’s thanks to this act of youthful bravado that we have one of the greatest and most evocative names in motorcycling. W E Brough’s machines had been innovative and well engineered, and his son’s 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 latter’s 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 industry’s 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 Brough’s 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 and was an immediate success.

Accompanying Brough Superior Club correspondence reveals that this ‘Overhead 680’ was supplied new to Hooleys Garage, Upper College Street, Nottingham on 22nd August 1933, though its first private owner and early history are unknown. The machine previously belonged to Robert Stanley ‘Stan’ Webley, of Palterton near Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Stan was a very early member of the Brough Club, joining in 1958 with membership number ‘16’, and remained an active Club member until his death in 1990. It is not known when Stan first bought ‘TV 9117’, but he probably already owned it when the Club was formed in 1958. The 680 was little used in later years, as from the mid-1960s Stan was always to be seen riding his 1937 SS100, ‘DTO 635’. Around 1980, Stan passed the 680 on to his son, John Webley, of Stanfree, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, but neither he nor the next two owners (details available) ever got around to getting the Brough back on the road.

In the 1990s, the 680 passed into the ownership of Michael Crow, of Waldron, East Sussex and in 2001 a V5 registration document was issued for its original number ‘TV 9117’, which is now non-transferable. The machine has been restored by respected Brough Superior specialist Simon Miles and incorporates the popular through-bolted cylinder conversion, which is both stronger and thus more reliable than JAP’s original design. Presented in superb condition, this matching-numbers machine (registration/frame/engine) is offered with assorted Brough Club and other correspondence, old-style green continuation logbook (issued 1968), old V5 registration document, copy factory records and Swansea V5C.