1929 Grindlay Peerless 500cc Brooklands Outer Circuit
Lot 303
The ex-Edmond 'Boy' Tubb, Brooklands 'Gold Star'-winning,1929 Grindlay-Peerless 498cc Brooklands 'Hundred Model' (Lacey Replica) Frame no. 1124 Engine no. JOR/S 45521
Sold for £67,580 (US$ 112,153) inc. premium
Lot Details
The ex-Edmond 'Boy' Tubb, Brooklands 'Gold Star'-winning
1929 Grindlay-Peerless 498cc Brooklands 'Hundred Model' (Lacey Replica)
Frame no. 1124
Engine no. JOR/S 45521
When Grindlay-Peerless-mounted C W G 'Bill' Lacey became the first man to cover 100 miles in an hour on British soil in August 1928, the Coventry factory lost no time in bringing out a replica of his machine - the Brooklands 'Hundred Model'. However, lacking the resources of larger rivals and perhaps over-estimating the demand for such a specialised piece of racing equipment, they sold only a handful, believed to be no more than five or six machines. Only two of these are known to survive: the one first owned by Brooklands and Manx Grand Prix competitor J D Potts (sold by Bonhams at Stafford in April 2001) and that offered here, which belonged to prominent VMCC member, the late Edmond Joseph 'Boy' Tubb, who won his Brooklands 'Gold Star' aboard the Grindlay. Thus this example's emergence from the Tubb family's long-term ownership can be seen as an event of exceptional historic interest and importance.

Competition success has been recognised as an ideal means of promotion since motorcycling's earliest days, but during the Vintage years in particular the breaking of speed records was reckoned as good a means of securing valuable publicity as victories gained on the racetrack. The most coveted prize was the One-Hour record, and once the 90-mile mark had been reached, all efforts were directed towards exceeding the magic 'ton' for 60 minutes. Claude Temple was the first man to do so, averaging almost 102mph at Montlhéry in 1925 on his 996cc OEC-Temple-JAP, and then the following year Norton-mounted Bert Denly achieved the feat on a '500' for the first time, again at the French track.

To stimulate competition on home ground, The Motor Cycle offered a silver trophy for the first successful attempt on British soil. That, of course, meant Brooklands, and on 1st August 1928 Bill Lacey, already a formidable competitor at the Weybridge track, wheeled out his immaculate Grindlay-Peerless and raised the record to 103.3mph, lapping at over 105mph in the process and taking the 750cc and 1000cc records into the bargain!
The resulting 'Hundred Model' replica, though different in detail, was essentially the same as Lacey's original, right down to its distinctive nickel-plated frame and cycle parts. However, as delivered to Lacey's Brooklands workshop, the replica was not capable of the 100mph lap guaranteed by the factory. The job of fettling the bikes and tweaking the twin-port JAP engine to Lacey's specification fell to his assistant Wal Phillips, whereupon each was tested by Lacey at 100mph-plus and issued with a certificate.

'Boy' Tubb bought his Grindlay in November 1935 from a fellow Brooklands competitor named McClure. Results were disappointing at first, the best lap speed being around 88mph, and so the engine was despatched to E C E 'Ted' Baragwanath, the famous Brooklands rider/tuner and JAP agent, for upgrading. Baragwanath fitted a longer con-rod (raising the cylinder barrel to compensate), swapped the twin-port cylinder head for a single-port version, and installed cams developed by Bert Le Vack. He also helped sort out the handling, screwing the Grindlay's steering damper down tight, which cured it of a tendency to 'wobble' at high speed. The result was the coveted 'Gold Star' at over 102mph and 'Boy' Tubb went onto achieve numerous successes with the revitalised Grindlay, including his best-ever Brooklands lap on 30th June 1937 at over 105mph (see letter on file appended by Brooklands' official timekeeper, A V 'Ebby' Ebblewhite). Also on file is a fascinating article from the Brooklands Society Gazette (2005) in which 'Boy' Tubb evocatively recalls his racing exploits.

With the costs of racing the Grindlay becoming prohibitive - Baragwanath had to rebuild the engine twice, on the second occasion following a major blow-up in 1937 - Tubb retired the bike and after WW2 its use was confined to sprinting. (The small-capacity 'sprint' fuel tank used at this time is included in the sale). When the Brooklands Museum opened in the late 1980s, he offered the Grindlay, which had been restored in the 1970s, for display there. Cared for by John Bottomley and the Museum's voluntary motorcycle group, the Tubb Grindlay-Peerless was tested for The Classic MotorCycle by Roy Poynting (January 2006 edition, copy article on file) and in recent years has been used by the Brooklands Museum on numerous demonstration runs.

Included in the sale is 'Boy' Tubb's BMCRC badge and Brooklands 'Gold Star' (engraved 'E J Tubb' on the reverse), his Cromwell crash helmet, BMCRC membership card and badge bars (27 in total dating from 1933 to 1963) and a substantial quantity of race programmes, the majority relating to Brooklands events of the 1930s, many of which mention him and the Grindlay. The machine also comes with a quantity of period photographs.

Offered for sale by the Tubb family and possessing exceptionally well documented history, this 'Gold Star'-winning Grindlay-Peerless represents an exciting opportunity to acquire one of the rarest of all limited edition, Brooklands racing motorcycles of the Vintage period.

Saleroom notices

  • The frame number is B1124
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  1. Motor Cycles (UK)
    Specialist - Motorcycles