1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761

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Lot 168
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80
Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761

Sold for US$ 120,500 inc. premium
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80
Frame no. 2071
Engine no. BS/X 4761
• One of only 460 Matchless-engined SS80 models made
• George Brough guaranteed the bike could reach 80mph
• Well maintained example

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 Haydn Road, 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, perhaps, to Bentley or Invicta in the contemporary car world, all three beautifully made and excitingly fast. The SS80 model name dates from 1922, although development had begun some two years earlier, 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 overhead valve SS100 was similarly capable of the magic ton. The company thought that SS100 sales would usurp those of the SS80ut in fact demand for the 'slower' bike continued well alongside. All Broughs were 'finished to a standard that put it well beyond the reach of most motorcyclists.'

Brough, perhaps to prove a point, raced an SS80 with the nickname 'Spit and Polish' – it was always immaculately finished – to become the first 'side-valver' (flat head) to lap the Brooklands track, near Weybridge, Surrey at over 100mph. The same bike won 51 of the 52 races it entered, failing only to win the 52nd because of a flat tire.

Such was the ability of the 'top shelf Bruff' to deliver the promise out of the box that it became the choice of celebrities such as T.E. Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia – and George Bernard Shaw, only two from a long list. Lawrence owned seven of them with an eighth on order when he crashed, Shaw's number was lower! Of the approximate total of 3,048 bikes made, it is thought that maybe a third still exist.

The SS80 re-appeared as part of what became the final range of Brough Superior machines in 1935, using the excellent Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) 982cc 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 combination would out-speed the majority of cars on the road at the time.

In the history file offered with the bike are photographs of this bike, complete with sidecar (possibly supplied by Brough when new). One is captioned 'On the road from Sixpenny Handley to Bowerchalke 4 August 1968'. And another 'At Broadmayne, Dorset May 5, 1968 during a VMCC event.' This is T. E. Lawrence country! In another photograph is 'Jack's daughter in AFX 825, Vera just visible. VMD16 – SS.100 Special Tony & Barbara Cripps, EYR31 – SS.80 Mike Leatherdale. Tony & I still have these bikes.' And there's another taken at the Brough Superior Annual Rally, Stanford Hall, Leicestershire, September 1, 1968.

AFX 825 was first registered in March 1939, possibly in Bournemouth, Dorset, with that plate which it still carries today. It would be difficult to find a Brough Superior – so well cared for with a long, known history - that's ready to grace almost any motorcycle event whilst carrying two people at speed. The seller describes the bike this way, 'It's a nice riding bike, with my last ride being over 150 miles this summer (2017). It is a very solid rider with no bad habits'.

Footnotes

  • As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note the title is in transit.
Contacts
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
1939 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 Frame no. 2071 Engine no. BS/X 4761
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