1930 Brough Superior SS100
November 3, 2008 11:56 AM
Born in 1890, George Brough was the second son of W.E. Brough, the creator of the original Brough motorcycle. As William junior turned his energy to shipbuilding, George became his father's most dedicated road tester, proving his greed for speed in the London - Edinburgh Trial. George placed first in 1910, 1911, and 1912, thus winning the Motor Cycling Cup.
George spent the war years dreaming of a superfast luxury motorcycle meant for the ultimate connoisseur. By the end of the war, he had entered partnership with his father and began producing his first machines. According to legend, the idea for the "Superior" name was born in a pub over a few pints with friends. Although W.E. wasn't pleased by the inference that his own motorcycle creations would be deemed "inferior," George plowed ahead, setting up a small workshop on Haydn Road in Nottingham. The first few bikes were produced in 1919, and by 1920, formal production on George's "atmosphere disturber" was underway.
Brough's masterpiece, the SS100 [SS stands for Super Sports] was designed and built in 1924, as the first custom motorcycle assembled from components manufactured by different suppliers. Every motorcycle was hand built to conform to specific customer requirements, even down to the shape of the handlebars. This also meant that the bike itself was continually evolving during the 21-year span of its production. The first engine used [through 1936] was the overhead valve, 60 cubic inch, 1000cc KTOR JAP V twin, manufactured by J.A. Prestwich. Brough started with Harley Davidson forks, and utilized the 4 stud 3 speed gearbox from Sturmey Archer. Innovations came throughout the years, with the first prop stand, twin headlamps, crash bars, and interconnected silencers.
Jay loves his 1930 model; for him there's no motorcycle more beautiful, with such outstanding quality of construction. At a time when Harley was churning out 28,000 units per year, Brough only built 21 motorcycles in 1930, a year when he focused on creating high speed and maximum handling through light weight. Now widely considered the most collectible motorcycle in the world, an SS100 brought £166,500 at auction earlier this year, the highest price ever paid for a British motorcycle at auction.