1939 Brough Superior 990cc SS80 with 'Petrol Tube' Sidecar
Registration no. CUS 276
Frame no. M8 2064
Engine no. BS/X 4777
As is well-known, the name Brough Superior was coined by George Brough as a riposte to the machines which his father had made pre-WW1, then merely the 'Brough'. That sense of superiority was sustained by the Nottingham company to the end of manufacture in 1939. Frequently compared to the Rolls-Royce, the Brough Superior was always a sporting machine and thus more akin to Bentley or Invicta in the contemporary car world, all three beautifully made and excitingly fast. The SS80 model name dates from 1922, when a JAP-powered model was guaranteed to do the then phenomenal speed of 80mph, with the famous racing Brough 'Old Bill' amassing an impressive competition record.
The SS80 re-appeared as part of what became the final range of Brough Superior machines in 1935, using the excellent AMC sidevalve V-twin, as fitted to the Matchless Model X, though with subtle differences in specification and a crankshaft to Brough's preferred design. Production continued until 1939. Alongside his machines, Brough always offered a range of sidecars, an important market segment in the 1930s, which were made to specification by outside firms and the SS80 became the machine most often specified by sporting sidecar owners. It should be remembered that an SS80 makers' combination would out-speed the majority of cars on the road at the time.
CUS 276, the SS80 and Alpine Grand Sport Cruiser sidecar offered here is perhaps the most complete and original Brough Superior combination ever to have been offered at auction. Invoice No: M2814 from the Brough works and registered in April 1939 by Brough agents Alexander and Co. of Glasgow, this 'money-no-object' machine was specified from new with Monarch forks, 'spring-wheel' rear suspension, Amal touring 'bars, Wasdell front and Cranford rear 'guards, and with the famous 'petrol-tube' Alpine sidecar, No. 212, all of which equipment is still fitted.
The second owner, an engineer with Hawker-Siddeley, had found the Brough in 1941, covered in dust on an RAF station, the owner, a pilot, having been killed. After some negotiation, detailed in the history sheets, the machine was purchased from the pilot's grieving father. Laid up on blocks until petrol again became available post-war, this lovely outfit, corresponding in every way with the works build card, has remained as functional and original as it was then.
CUS 276 is offered with a V5C and copies of the works build cards, as well as a series of bills and papers relating to the Brough's history. It would be difficult to find so historic and complete a maker's combination as this Brough Superior, with yet more research to be done and ready to grace almost any motorcycle event whilst carrying two people at speed.
- Since going to press, further research indicates that the original petrol tank for CUS 276, No. 3462, is offered with but not fitted to the lot, the original tank having been acquired by the vendor after restoration of the tank presently fitted to the lot. The machine is offered with an extensive new and used spares collection (full list on file) as well as full ownership history since 1941. Information on the Brough's conjectural early history is also on file for inspection along with copies of the works records, enabling the originality of the machine's components to be checked by prospective buyers.