1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred', 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination Frame no. 8/1251 Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD

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Lot 507
1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred', 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination
Registration no. ATO 574 Frame no. 8/1251 Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD

Sold for £ 71,300 (US$ 88,827) inc. premium
1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred'
1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination
Registration no. ATO 574
Frame no. 8/1251
Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD
• 1934 ISDT Gold Medal winner
• One of only 308 built
• Present family ownership since 1965
• Formerly on display at the London Motorcycle Museum
• Offered for re-commissioning

'ATO 574' has an unusually rich history: not only did it appear in two hit TV series - 'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred' – it started life as a Brough Superior works entry for the 1934 International Six Days Trial (ISDT). A 1934 model manufactured in 1933, this machine is believed to be one of the earliest 11-50s extant.

It is believed that this 11-50 was first used by the factory team. Previously carrying the works registration 'HP 2122', it was registered 'ATO 574' on 1st August 1934 and, attached to one of Brough's famous banking sidecars, was used by Freddie Stevenson to compete in the 1934 ISDT held in the Bavarian Alps. One of the most gruelling of motorcycle competitions, the ISDT tested competitors and their machines to the limits. Despite leaving the road and overturning the outfit, Stevenson came away with a coveted Gold Medal, demonstrating the abilities and durability of George Brough's rugged 11-50 workhorse. A photograph on file shows Stevenson astride the Brough at the Nottingham factory.

By 1939, 'ATO 574' was owned by Brough Superior works frame builder Bill Oliver, and by October 1948 was in the ownership of William Eric Cousins of Croydon, Surrey. The accompanying old-style logbook (issued 1952) lists three further owners up to 2nd April 1965 when 'ATO 574' was registered to John Gibson Whale of Stanmore, Middlesex. Mr Whale then advertised the machine for sale in the Brough Superior Club newsletter of £50! In May 1965 the Brough was purchased (for £40!) by the late owner, who together with his father ran Stan Gilks Ltd, a motorcycle dealership in Ickenham, Middlesex (purchase receipt on file).

The Gilks dealership would regularly loan classic cars and motorcycles to television production companies, which is how 'ATO 574' came to feature in 'Dad's Army'. It first appeared in this much-loved comedy series in 1971, featuring in the Christmas Special, 'Battle of the Giants' (Episode 40) which was first broadcast on Monday 27th December '71 at 7.00pm. In this famous episode Captain Mainwaring's Walmington-on-Sea Platoon takes part in an initiative test against their old rivals, the Eastgate Platoon. The contest is umpired by Warden Hodges, the Vicar, and the Verger using Hodges' Brough Superior 11-50.

'ATO 574' made its second 'Dad's Army' appearance the following year in Episode 52 - 'Round and Round Went the Great Big Wheel' - first broadcast on Friday 22nd December 1972 at 8.30pm. In this episode the Platoon is chosen for special duties (peeling potatoes, digging trenches, etc) during the test of a secret weapon (The Big Wheel), which runs amok. The Brough Superior is borrowed from a gardener by Private Walker and used by the Warden, Captain Mainwaring, and Private Pike to lure The Big Wheel into a trap to deactivate it, with Lance Corporal Jones hanging upside down over a bridge with the gardener's shears to chop off its aerial! In 2008 the cast and crew of 'Dad's Army' ('Granddad's Army') were reunited with 'ATO 574' and appeared in the Daily Mirror (press cutting on file). 'ATO 574' later featured in the TV series 'George & Mildred' (1976-1979), serving as George's primary transport and featuring in each episode's opening sequences. Some years later the machine was loaned to the London Motorcycle Museum. It is not known when it acquired the sidecar currently attached, though it was in place prior to the first TV appearance. The aforementioned documentation may be found in the accompanying history file together with Brough Club correspondence and newsletters, etc.

Launched in 1933, the 1,096cc 11-50 was the largest Brough Superior to enter series production. In his book 'Brough Superior - The Complete Story', Peter Miller states: 'It (the 11-50) had been produced in response to requests from abroad, particularly from overseas police forces, for a machine with SS100 levels of performance but with the simplicity of the side valves and at a lower price.'

Powered by a sidevalve v-twin (of unusual 60-degree configuration) supplied exclusively to the Nottingham factory by J A Prestwich, the 11-50 fitted into the Brough price range between the SS80 touring and SS100 super-sports models. Facilitating its sale abroad, the 11-50 featured sidecar mounts on both sides of the frame. It had been conceived as a long-legged, effortless tourer and was claimed by its maker to offer 85mph performance in solo form and pull a heavy sidecar at a comfortable 70mph; indeed, in the latter role it was one of the finest sidecar mounts of its day. Production lasted until 1939, by which time the 11-50 was the only JAP-powered machine in the Brough Superior range. Only 308 Brough Superior 11-50s were produced between 1933 and 1939. How many survive today is not known but it is likely to be significantly less than those manufactured.

'ATO 574' is offered in 'as last run' condition and will require some re-commissioning before returning to the road having been on static display at the London Motorcycle Museum for many years. As one would expect of a machine of this age, it has been serviced and maintained over the years, including several repaints; if anything, the resulting patina only adds to this TV icon's appeal.

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.
Contacts
1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred', 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination Frame no. 8/1251 Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD
1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred', 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination Frame no. 8/1251 Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD
1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred', 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination Frame no. 8/1251 Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD
1934 ISDT; ex-'Dad's Army' and 'George & Mildred', 1933 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Combination Frame no. 8/1251 Engine no. LTZ/Z 31972/SD
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