Brough Superior Bought In 1963 For £33 Stars At Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale

The Autumn Stafford Sale
Important Pioneer, Vintage, Classic & Collectors' Motorcycles and related Spares and Memorabilia
13 - 14 Oct 2018
Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground

A 1933 Brough Superior 981cc SS100 project will be offered at the Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale on 13 and 14 October. The machine has a fascinating history and has been owned by the same female owner for 55 years since she bought it as her very first motorcycle in 1963 for £33.

Jean Knight was living in South London and working in North London, and commuting was proving difficult. With a car out of reach financially, she decided that a motorcycle was the most sensible option. A friend was selling a garage along with lots of parts and spares, but the Brough was the only complete machine. A keen cyclist, Mrs Knight didn't think that the Brough would be hard to conquer and she duly purchased it.

She caused great amusement and bemusement when she attended her first RAC training session near Crystal Palace, as she was the first woman to ever attend the course. 'I couldn't praise the course highly enough,' Mrs Knight said. 'All of the instructors wanted a go on my machine, and they put me on a Tiger Cub to start the lessons with, even though I'd ridden to the course on my Brough in the first place.'

After passing her test, she used it for her daily commute and for holidays around Europe. 'I loved the feeling of the wind in my hair, it is the most freeing thing.' Once, after getting fed up of having to wear clumpy motorcycle boots everywhere, Mrs Knight decided to risk it and ride in a pair of high heels. After one attempt at starting the heavy Brough, the heel promptly snapped. 'It was back to boots from then on.'

After her first child was born, Mrs Knight continued to ride around, but by the time her second had arrived her husband put his foot down and said that he couldn't cope with the worry anymore. 'I agreed to save our marriage!' she joked. 'I think he worried about me an awful lot. In the end we got a car which was more sensible, and the Brough was for high days and holidays only.'

As the car became more practical, the Brough was stored in the garden shed where it remained until earlier this year. 'I was surprised when we took it out of the shed again, it seemed smaller than I remember.'

Ben Walker, International Head of Motorcycle Department, commented: 'The machine is to be offered with an estimate of £140,000-180,000 and is perfect for a restoration project – hopefully it will be used with as much enthusiasm and regularity as it was during Mrs Knight's early ownership.'


Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest and most renowned auctioneers, offering fine art and antiques, motor cars and jewellery. The main salerooms are in London, New York, Los Angeles and Hong Kong, with auctions also held in Knightsbridge, Edinburgh, Paris, San Francisco and Sydney. With a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 22 countries, Bonhams offers advice and valuation services in 60 specialist areas. For a full list of forthcoming auctions, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments, please visit

  1. Ben Walker
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 8963 2819
    FaxFax: +44 20 8963 2801

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