If they’re ultra rare and oh-so-special why do Brough bikes keep appearing at auction, year after year?
Seriously. How do they manage to keep finding this stuff? It’s as though a great hoard of vintage vehicles is stowed somewhere with ‘barn finds’ released periodically and with keen deliberation on the part of a shadowy someone and all to our great amazement.
For example, the 1926 Brough Superior 980cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sport project seen here on this page. It will go to auction with an estimated sale price of £120,000 to 160,000 when Bonhams holds its annual Stafford sale in October. It’s nearly numbing now to hear the numbers these Brough bikes command—and why does there never seem to be a shortage? The era from which they’ve survived is nearly a hundred years past, yet the Broughs just keep surfacing. It’s been said that owning a Brough is “Akin to owning a Rolls-Royce or a Bentley, they’re the best of the best; historic, finely crafted and beautiful.”
Sure. They’re special. They’re finely crafted. Lawrence of Arabia. I get all that. But if they’re so “unique, rare, and exceptional” why do they keep cropping up every year (year-in, year-out) at auctions such as Bonhams? The aforementioned Alpine Grand Sport will by no means be the only Brough going under the gavel in the fall.
Highlights include several SS100s, and a 1936 Earls Court Motorcycle Show Brough Superior 990cc SS100 that is estimated to sell for £210,000-240,000. However, a committed Brough enthusiast of modest means can lay hands on a 1931 Superior OHV 680 project for a bargain £15,000-20,000. Okay, now we’re getting somewhere: £15,000-20,000.That seems more like it, considering the Brough supply line appears to be not so meager or unknowable as “They” might have us think. Who can tell? One day we might learn that the sheer volume of Broughs stored God Knows Where is in numbers beyond easy accounting. We might even learn they’re as common as out-of-production 125cc mills sent to China for rebadging once the Japanese factories are no longer interested.
In the meantime this is what Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycles had to say about the £240,000 1936 Earls Court bike that is expected to be the star of the auction. “Presented in excellent working order, it received extensive mechanical refurbishment in 2013, whilst maintaining its beautiful patina, and has been used by both the current and previous owner on touring trips around England and Wales.”
Does that sound like a Sunday-driver Brough to you? Well, one shouldn’t expect much for a lowly £240,000. Then again, perhaps I should learn to keep a civil tongue. After all, the legendary Brough Superior demands our reverence and respect if for no other reason than it is a “rare and unique” marque of “inestimable value” because of its extreme limited numbers. We know this, because that’s what “They” keep saying.
Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale takes place October 18 at The Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Staffordshire County, UK.