1929 Brough Superior Overhead 680
Registration no. GU 9707
Frame no. J878
Engine no. GTOY/S/43421/S
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.
Supplied new attached to a Cruiser sidecar, this OHV 680 was hanging from the ceiling of a commercial garage when purchased by the current vendor, having apparently been laid up since WW2. The machine is offered fresh from long-term restoration carried out over the past 13 years by various recognised specialists, and benefits from final commissioning by Ken Brady. Parts renewed during the rebuild include the speedometer, wheel rims and tyres, toolboxes, exhaust system, mudguards, seat covers and chains/sprockets. The horn, single-float carburettor and 1930-pattern exhaust system are minor deviations from original specification that could easily be rectified should the fortunate new owner so desire.
The machine comes with copies of the old-style continuation logbook and works record card (confirming matching frame/engine numbers), sundry restoration invoices, current MoT and Swansea V5C document. All parts removed during restoration, including the wheel rims, tyres, saddle cover, rear mudguard, sundry engine components, various cycle parts and the original gearbox casing are offered with the machine.