A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060

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Lot 153
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE
Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060

Sold for US$ 120,500 inc. premium
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power
1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE
Frame no. M8 1873
Engine no. BS/X2 1060
In 1924 the SS100 was designed and built by the indomitable George Brough in his Haydn Road premises, Nottingham, England. Sixty-nine were produced the next year, each one to a custom specification chosen by the customer. They were expensive enough, and of high enough quality, for Brough to advertise them as the "Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles", a slogan subsequently, explicitly, approved by Rolls-Royce themselves. All these SS100 machines were given a guarantee that they could exceed 100mph.

In fact, the 100 Super Sports was the first "custom" motorcycle with components chosen from many different suppliers. From 1924 to 1936 these bikes used the twin-cam JAP (made by J.A. Prestwich in north London) KTOR v-twin. For the last two years of SS100 production Brough switched to the 990cc overhead valve v-twin Matchless BX engine. Only about 300 of these Matchless SS100s were produced. Gearboxes were the 4-stud, usually 3-speeds, from Sturmey-Archer. Brough developed features of the contemporary Harley-Davidson fork and produced their own version (made by the Castle Fork and Accessory Company) to combine lightness with strength for excellent handling but only for the SS100.



Speed records came thick and fast for the SS100; Bert le Vack, a company development engineer and rider held seven. In 1927, Brough and Freddie Dixon both achieved a record 130mph for the kilometer, and again in 1928 Brough broke it with 130.6mph. Famous customers proliferated but no other approached the promotional appeal of T.E. Lawrence, handsome, dashing, mysterious, and reportedly just plain fast. Sir William Lyons was another, repeating the SS100 name for his own (Jaguar) sports car.

The Brough Works Record Card indicates that this engine, BS/X2 1060, was built in November 1937 and supplied in 1938 in an SS100 to Watson, Cairns and Co. Ltd. in Leeds. The early history is unknown until the early 1960s when the bike was reportedly owned by a Jim Connelly, a Brough collector, then at that stage comprising of a few bits including the Castle forks and engine, BS/X2 1060. It passed through several well-documented hands as an SS100 project to restore for the road. At some point, a Brough SS80 frame was obtained and modified to SS100 specs to accommodate the taller OHV motor, but none of these earlier owners was successful in completing the project.

In 1976 the publisher of the Brough Superior Newsletter John English, took on the project. He rebuilt the engine including a .030 overbore, new valves and springs, new push rods and tubes, a new big end and pistons, plus new exhaust, chains, tires, and re-done wheels. He enlisted the help of noted Brough expert, Tony Cripps, in final assembly of this bike. English then put about 1500 miles on it before selling it in 1984 to the current owner, who imported it to the USA.

Major improvements to the bike have been on going over the past 31 years. Most notably was the acquisition, with Tony Cripps help, of an original SS100 "show tank", reportedly from the Birmingham Motor Show. The show tank features a flared nose that extends around the headstock and the rear is contoured around the seat. The handlebars were also sent back to England, to J.W.Tennant-Eyles, to be converted to an internal twist grip mechanism with bar end levers. Over the past few years it has undergone a frame-up, nut and bolt, restoration. Not just satisfied with the cosmetics, the mechanicals have been comprehensively checked and corrected - including the installation of a 4-speed gearbox - by multi-talented engineer, John Young. The motor starts after one or two kicks and runs perfectly, and rides just as well as it looks. As John noted "I now understand the Brough mystique. Once in second gear, it gets long legs, becomes smooth and just lopes along." Videos of the bike starting and being ridden are available.

Saleroom notices

  • Since publication of the auction catalog it has come to our attention that a Brough Superior engine stamped BS/X2 1060 exists in the UK, suggesting that this lot's Matchless engine has been re-stamped with that same number. It should also be noted that Jim Connelly owned only the rolling chassis, not the engine. As such, the estimate is now $110,000-$130,000.
Contacts
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
A superbly strong-running machine with Matchless V-twin power,1938 Brough Superior 998CC SS80 FITTED WITH AN SS100 ENGINE Frame no. M8 1873 Engine no. BS/X2 1060
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