1938 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Special
Registration no. GPF 608
Frame no. M8/1974
Engine no. LTZ059926/S
Legendary superbike of motorcycling's between-the-wars 'Golden Age', the Brough Superior was synonymous with high performance, engineering excellence and quality of finish. That such a formidable reputation was forged by a motorcycle constructed almost entirely from bought-in components says much for the publicity skills of George Brough. But if ever a machine was more than the sum of its parts, it was the Brough Superior. Always the perfectionist, Brough bought only the best available components for his motorcycles, reasoning that if the product was right, a lofty price tag would be no handicap. And in the 'Roaring Twenties' there were sufficient wealthy connoisseurs around to prove him right, T E Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') being the most famous example.
The speed with which the name 'Brough Superior' established itself as synonymous with excellence may be gauged from the fact that the famous 'Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles' sobriquet was first coined in 1921 when the marque was barely two years old. The story goes that Rolls-Royce objected to their name being associated with a mere motorcycle - until they examined one of George's creations.
Launched in 1933, the 1,096cc 11-50 was the largest Brough Superior to enter series production. Powered by a sidevalve v-twin (of unusual 60-degree configuration) supplied exclusively to the Nottingham factory by J A Prestwich, the 11-50 fitted into the Brough price range between the SS80 touring and SS100 super-sports models. The 11-50 was conceived as a long-legged, effortless tourer and could exceed 90mph in solo form or pull a heavy sidecar at up to 75mph; indeed, in the latter role it was one of the finest sidecar mounts of its day. Renamed '11-50 Special' for 1935, the model remained in production until 1939, by which time it was the only JAP-powered machine in the Brough Superior range.
Formerly attached to a sidecar, this 11-50 Special has the sprung frame standardised from 1938 and the Monarch front fork. We are advised by the Brough Superior Club that it was supplied new to Tommy Meeten's dealership on the Kingston bypass in Surrey and that it retains matching frame/engine numbers. Unknown to the Brough Club since the 1970s, 'GPF 608' was acquired for the collection in November 1974 having previously belonged (from 1946) to one Thomas Ralph Goddard of Leicester, one of the Club's first members. The machine is offered with continuation logbook (issued 1957) old-style Swansea V5 document and purchase receipt.