1,586 miles since restoration, the last SS80 to leave the factory with a Works Record Card
1940 Brough Superior 990cc SS80 Special
Registration no. JBB 570
Frame no. M8/2144
Engine no. BS/X4811
While equalling a Rolls-Royce for quality of construction and finish, in spirit the Brough Superior was more akin to the sporting Bentley. 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 Brough became the first sidevalve-engined machine to lap Brooklands at over 100mph.
Brough entered the 1930s with an entirely JAP-powered range and then, after a brief absence, the SS80 reappeared 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. Dispatched by train to Adams & Gibbons of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 10th April 1940, by which time the Brough plant had been turned over to war work, it is the last SS80 to leave the factory with a Works Record Card, though a handful was assembled later from spares. All numbers on the Works Record Card frame, engine, gearbox, fuel, tank and oil tank match those on the machine. The earliest ownership record is an old-style logbook, issued in 1957, at which time the Brough was attached to a sidecar. Indeed, on file is a photograph of it attached to a BSA launch-type 'chair', taken around 1948 by the first owner, a Mr Ken Tully. Owner Anthony Hawkins, the last of the three listed in the logbook, was followed by Christopher Popple (June 1988 onwards) and then the current vendor, who acquired 'JBB 570' in May 1997. However, it would seem to have been owned by a Mr Bill Warne immediately prior to Mr Hawkins (see file). The Brough had been fully restored by Mr Popple circa 1994 and in 1997 won the 'Best Sidevalve SS80' award at the BSOC Annual Rally.
A nicely patinated older restoration, 'JBB 570' is described as generally excellent condition, starting and running well. The machine is offered with Swansea V5C document and a comprehensive history file containing copy works records, assorted correspondence, expired MoTs, old logbooks, purchase receipts, sundry invoices, etc, etc. Chromed handlebars and fork links are the only notified deviations from the factory specification of this otherwise highly original SS80 Special.