Superior Motorcycle History
Brough Superior (pr. bruff su-peer-ee-or) motorcycles
and motor cars were made by George Brough in
his Brough Superior works on Haydn Road in Nottingham,
England from 1919 to 1940. They were dubbed
the "Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles" by
H. D. Teague of The Motorcycle newspaper. Approximately
3048 of 19 models were made in 21 years of production.
In 2004, around 1000 still exist. T.E. Lawrence
("Lawrence of Arabia") owned seven
bikes and died from injuries sustained while
crashing one. George Bernard Shaw was another
among many celebrities that were enthusiastic
about Brough products.
George Brough was a racer, designer, and showman.
All Brough Superior motorcycles were high performance
and superior quality. Most were custom built
to the customers needs, and rarely were any
two of the same configuration. Each motorcycle
was assembled twice. The first assembly was
for fitting of all components, then the motorcycle
was disassembled and all parts were painted
or plated as needed, then the finished parts
were assembled a final time. Every motorcycle
was test ridden to ensure that it performed
to specification, and was personally certified
by George Brough. The SS100 model was ridden
at 100 mph or more prior to delivery. The SS80
model was ridden at 80 mph or more before delivery.
If any motorcycle didn't meet specification,
it returned to the shop for rework until it
performed properly. The fit and finish was comparable
to a Rolls-Royce automobile, and were among
the most expensive motorcycles.
Brough Superior motorcycles have always been
rare and expensive. Because of their connection
with Lawrence of Arabia, their high quality
of fit and finish, and their reputation for
reliability and race victories, they are among
the most collectible motorised vehicles. In
2007, prices ranged from $40,000 to more than
Lawrence of Arabia on a Brough Superior he
called George V. Lawrence owned eight Brough's
in all, listed below, with notes in brackets:
- 1922 - Boa (the name was short for Boanerges)
- 1923 - George I (the cost of £150
was more than the price of a house at the
- 1924 - George II
- 1925 - George III
- 1926 - George IV
- 1927 - George V (RK 4907; see photo)
- 1929 - George VI (UL 656)
- 1932 - George VII (GW 2275) (the bike he
- Undelivered - George VIII (still being built
when Lawrence died).6
Four models are the most common:
- SS100 (Super Sports) - Powered by J.A.P.
(J. A. Prestwich of Tottenham) or Matchless
1000 cc overhead valve v-twin engines. Approximately
383 were manufactured from 1924 to 1940.
- SS80 (Super Sports) - Powered by J.A.P.
or Matchless 1000 cc sidevalve v-twin engines.
Approximately 1086 were manufactured from
1922 to 1940.
- SS680 O.H.V. (Super Sports) - Powered by
J.A.P. 680 cc overhead valve v-twin. Approximately
547 were manufactured from 1926 to 1936.
- 11.50 - Powered by J.A.P 1000 cc sidevalve
v-twin engines. These were primarily designed
for sidecar and police use. Approximately
308 were manufactured from 1933 to 1940.
George Brough was known for his dedication
to his vehicles and customers. He, and later
Albert Wallis, continued to service Brough Superiors
after production ceased. Parts were made until
1969 but production of bikes never resumed after