A stunning pair of barn-find Brough motorcycles is set to star in a special display of two-wheeled machines at this weekend’s Classic & Sports Car – The London Show at Alexandra Palace before going under the hammer with Bonhams.
Both the 1939 Brough Superior SS80 and 1938 Brough Superior SS100 have spent the past 45 years with the same owner, Frank Vague, and it is from his estate that the bikes are set to be sold. The earlier bike is particularly rare, being one of just 102 Matchless-engined examples built and 71 survivors. In total, around 3000 Broughs were built during 21 years of production, with only a third of that number estimated to have survived.
Lawrence of Arabia was a well-known and enthusiastic Brough owner, while George Bernard Shaw was also known to be a fan. Another bike in the display, a Black Alpine, boasts the most famous owner in Brough circles – the bike’s creator, George Brough.
The trio will be joined by another Brough Superior SS100, so named for its ability to reach speeds in excess of 100mph. Well-known in Brough circles, the bike is a factory London to Edinburgh endurance racer which, along with the Black Alpine, is on loan from the collection of JD Classics’ Derek Hood.
A Royal Enfield Constellation that found infamy on the front page of the Daily Mirror in 1961 will be on show courtesy of London’s Ace Café. The sensationalist headline ‘Shock Issue, Suicide Club’ galvanised readers, who were for the first time exposed to the world of unofficial racing on London’s North Circular. The photograph was taken outside the Ace, where the C&SC editorial team will be leading a convoy of classic cars to the show. Click here to find out more
The Classic section includes a number of notable models, including a ‘Red Rooster’ Post Office BSA Bantam and a Velocette ‘Noddy bike’ used by the police, but it’s a hugely valuable Vincent Black Shadow that is set to excite visitors. Once the world’s fastest motorcycle, it was capable of more than 125mph – or 150mph in the hands of Rollie Free.
Slightly slower, but no less groundbreaking is a Series C Vincent Rapide from a year earlier, which also laid claim to the title of the world’s fastest standard motorcycle and which will be included in the same display.
A selection of four motorcycles that all served as response vehicles for the AA will also be on show. The stand includes a 1918 Chater Lea, a wartime BSA M21, a later civilian M21 and sidecar combination, plus a 1973 Triumph T100 Tiger.
Elsewhere, an area has been dedicated to Endings and Beginnings. The youngest model featured is a 1969 Honda CB750, whose arrival in Britain heralded the beginning of the end of the British motorcycle industry, while the youngest is a 2015 Hesketh 24, a model that hints at its revival.