Brough Superior - A Short History

Advertised as the "Rolls Royce" of motorcycles.

In 1919, after parting with his father W.E. Brough who had been building Brough machines for many years, George Brough set out to begin manufacturing his own motorcycles. George had visions of a far more luxurious machine than the reliable but somewhat pedestrian vehicles his father made, and named his motorcycle the Brough Superior - and superior they were, in every aspect. 

Brough presented his first bike at the Olympia show in late 1920 and began production in 1921. This first machine had an OHV J.A.P. engine, and although models with the  Swiss Motosacoche V-twin and the Barr and Stroud sleeve-valve engine were built, J.A.P. was the almost exclusive supplier from 1923, with the introduction of the SS80, until towards the end of 1935 when Brough switched to the more reliable Matchless motor.

The SS100 was introduced in 1925, and some 400 of these were produced including about 100 with Matchless engines. In 1938 he produced the legendary Dream, an elegant horizontally-opposed four cylinder design with shaft drive. 

Brough achieved many racing successes and speed records, and in fact one machine achieved the astonishing speed of 180mph at Budapest in 1938 - but no record, as the rider, Eric Fernihough, crashed and was killed on the return run.

In 1940, shortly after the onset of war, George ceased motorcycle manufacture in favour of aircraft components, and although he did build one experimental post-war machine, he decided against going into production. He continued in business building precision engineer's tools and Brough Superior parts for many years before his death in 1969.

Brough Superior motorcycles have become one of the most sought-after of all collectors machinery, not least because of their strong connection with the enigmatic Lawrence of Arabia.

Sources: IC, Rider April 98....

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