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Lot 506: 1928 Brough Superior Overhead 680

Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles, Bonhams (3 December 2007)

Quite what George Brough’s father - Nottingham-based motorcycle manufacturer William Edward Brough - thought when his younger son cheekily added the word ‘Superior’ to the family name when founding his rival marque can only be imagined, but it’s thanks to this act of youthful bravado that we have one of the greatest and most evocative names in motorcycling. W E Brough’s machines had been innovative and well engineered, and his son’s continued the family tradition but with an added ingredient - style. The very first Brough Superior of 1919 featured a saddle tank - an innovation not adopted by the rest of the British industry until 1928 - and the latter’s broad-nosed, wedge-profiled outline would be a hallmark of the Nottingham-built machines from then on. Hand built in small numbers, the Brough Superior was - inevitably - expensive, but as its maker acknowledged, he ‘never intended to produce (the) design as cheaply as possible.’

J A Prestwich of London and Motosacoche of Geneva supplied v-twin engines for the MkI and MkII Brough Superiors respectively, though within a few years all models would be JAP-powered. Gearboxes were sourced from Sturmey-Archer and (initially) forks from Montgomery, while frame and accessory manufacture was contracted out to specialists in the British motorcycle industry’s Midlands heartland.

With the SS80 tourer and SS100 sports model well established by the mid-1920s, it was decided to add a smaller and cheaper alternative to these two 1,000cc models to the range. JAP was already producing a 674cc sidevalve v-twin engine and this unit, redesigned to accommodate overhead valves, went into Brough’s new ‘Overhead 680’. First shown to the public at the Olympia Motorcycle Show in 1926, the ‘Miniature SS100’, as George Brough called it, entered production for 1927 and was an immediate success.

This Overhead 680 was originally sold in Harrogate, Yorkshire and has remained in that county all its life, enjoying only four owners from new. The machine is described as being in ‘fair-to-good’ overall condition but has been kept in storage since undergoing restoration 12 years ago and thus will need re-commissioning and the customary safety checks before returning to the road. It is offered with old-style logbook, Swansea V5/V5C documents and current SORN.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number506
Estimate£28000-£32000
Outcome NOT SOLD
Hammer Price-
Hammer Price (inc premium)-
Year1928
Condition rating
Registration numberWW 6707
Mileage-
Chassis number790
Engine numberGTOY/C16868
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors