1932 Brough Superior BS4 800cc with dual rear wheels. Photos courtesy Bonhams Auctions.
The motorcycle world has been buzzing since the discovery of a barn full of vintage Brough motorcycles in Bodmin, Cornwall, England, dispelling the myth that the bikes were nothing more than an urban (or rural) legend. Now, the entire collection of eight bikes will be available for bid on April 23 and 24 at the Bonhams Spring Stafford Sale at Sandylands Centre, Staffordshire County Showgrounds, Stafford, England.
The barn find motorcycles, ranging in model year from 1926 to 1939, are all Brough Superiors, a highly-sought after model if auction results over the last few years are any indication. All but one are in need of serious restoration; however, recent auction bids for Brough “project” bikes indicate these motorcycles, once owned by Brough Superior club member Frank Vague and allowed to rest untouched for over five decades, should realize a hefty price regardless of their condition. Bonhams speculates that each of the eight Broughs of Bodwin Moor would sell for upwards of a quarter million dollars, if found in original condition. No doubt some entrepreneurial restoration specialist will attempt to do just that.
1932 Brough Superior BS4 800cc.
The most interesting Brough to be offered has to be the dual rear wheeled 1932 BS4. Once owned by Hubert Chantrey, the 800cc trike features a 13 hp Austin 4-cylinder engine and transmission. The two rear wheels are only 8 inches apart, keeping it, technically, still a motorcycle. It is one of only eight 4-cylinder bikes built and is the last one of the eight to be located. It is expected to sell for between $110,000 and $170,000.
1938 Brough Superior SS80 with sidecar.
Also part of the collection is the 1938 Brough Superior SS80 with sidecar. This 982cc version is expected to sell for $31,000 to $46,000.
Another 1938 Superior, a model SS100 with the Matchless 982 cc engine, one of approximately 70 still known to survive, should see bids of $86,000 to $110,000.
1926 Brough Superior SS100 project.
An early basket case, this 1926 Brough Superior SS100 consisting of just a frame and miscellaneous parts, is expected to bid over $40,000, even in its current condition.
The 1938 Brough Superior 11-50HP was the only bike made in that year still using a non-Brough engine. The 60-degree V-twin side valve engine was manufactured by J. A. Prestwich (J.A.P) and the touring bike was powerful enough to exceed 90 mph solo or 75 mph with sidecar attached. The front forks are bent from an accident in 1962 only a few miles from the home of the current owner, which may explain a little about its condition. The 11-50 Superiors was originally sold as a mid-range model between the SS80 and SS100. It is pre-appraised at $23,000 to $31,000.
A 1937 Deluxe model SS80 project bike will also be offered from this collection. Though only 460 Deluxe SS80 Superiors were built, over half of them are still in existence. The project comes with matching-number frame, engine (although the heads are not original), gearbox and fuel tank. Lots of work will be needed here to return the bike’s original luster, but the uncharacteristic twin-carburetor configuration could add value to the bidding on this motorcycle’s rebirth. The pre-auction estimate is a more reasonable $8,600-$11,000
1936 Brough Superior 982cc project bike.
The rigid-framed 1936 Brough Superior 982cc project bike is also a matching-numbers piece, with a little more encouraging Matchless 982cc single-carbureted engine in many fewer pieces than the aforementioned Deluxe. The 1936 Superior is also expected to sell for $8,600-$11,000.
The last bike of the collection is another 1938 Superior model SS80 Special that was equipped with the Associated Motor Cycle engine that was similar to the Matchless 982cc engine found in the other SS80s, but the AMC-built V-twin incorporated a different lower end configuration from the Matchless side-by-side connecting rod arrangement. The SS80 Special is expected to gavel between $29,000 and $43,000.
Part of the same auction will include literally hundreds of separate Brough components to start the restorers on their way to working, rideable Brough nirvana. Full details on these bikes, as well as many other ready-to-ride classic motorcycles offered at the same time, can be viewed at Bonhams.com.