1936 Brough Superior SS80
Lot 313
1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS80 Frame no. M8/1658 Engine no. BS/X 4640
£35,000 - 45,000
US$ 59,000 - 76,000
Lot Details
1936 Brough Superior 982cc SS80
Registration no. CYR 489
Frame no. M8/1658
Engine no. BS/X 4640
While equalling a Rolls-Royce for quality of construction and finish, in spirit the Brough Superior was more akin to the sporting Bentley. Not an unwieldy beast intended primarily for sidecar duties like the majority of its v-twin-engined contemporaries, the Brough Superior was, in its maker's own words, 'a type of machine designed from the experienced solo rider's point of view.' To prove the point, Brough lost no time in demonstrating his machine's capabilities in the most attention-grabbing way possible - by racing at Brooklands. Introduced in 1922, the JAP-powered SS80 (so-called because of its guaranteed 80mph top speed in road trim) achieved instant fame when a stripped-for-racing version (nicknamed 'Spit and Polish') ridden by George became the first sidevalve-engined machine to lap the Surrey track at over 100mph. Even more surprising was the fact that this landmark figure had been achieved on its maker's Brooklands debut. That particular Brough Superior SS80 – subsequently re-christened 'Old Bill' - went on to win 51 out of 52 races contested, only failing in the last when a tyre burst.

Brough entered the 1930s with an entirely JAP-powered range, and then, after a brief absence, the SS80 re-appeared in 1935 as the SS80 Special, this time with an engine built by Associated Motor Cycles. Similar to that of the Matchless Model X, the 982cc sidevalve v-twin incorporated Brough's preferred 'knife-and-fork' big-end bearing arrangement instead of the side-by-side connecting rods of the Matchless. The SS80 continued to use the AMC engine until production ceased in 1939.

This example is one of 460 Matchless-engined SS80s built, of which some 300-or-so survive. 'CYR 489' comes with Brough Club copy works record showing that it was despatched to Godfreys Ltd and left the factory fitted with engine number '4366'. The current vendor purchased the machine in 1999 from Mr John White of Petsoe End, Buckinghamshire, who had owned it since 1974 and been responsible for its restoration (see hand written notes on file – perusal recommended). Also on file is the purchase receipt, though this would appear to be incorrectly dated. While owned by Mr White the machine appeared more than once at the Brough Club's annual rally (photographs on file). The machine is offered with the aforementioned documentation, old-style continuation logbook (issued 1974), sundry invoices, Brough Superior Club range brochure and instruction book, three old MoTs (most recent expired October 2000) and Swansea V5.
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Contacts
  1. Ben Walker
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 8963 2819
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2801
  2. James Stensel
    Specialist - Motorcycles
    Bonhams
    Work
    101 New Bond Street
    London, W1S 1SR
    United Kingdom
    Work +44 20 8963 2818
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2801