BROUGH v BROUGH
A tight-looking corner is approaching, so I instinctively reach for the front brake lever, all of Mark’s assertions of its worthlessness pushed far from my intoxicated brain. I’m pretty sure I’m pulling the lever almost hard enough to snap it, but nothing’s happening. And I do mean nothing. It would be as effective to open up my jacket for some extra wind-resistance. As my eyes widen I give serious fleeting consideration to jamming my feet into the tarmac, then remember Mark’s advice and put some pressure on the back brake which does a decent job of slowing the bike.
A few miles later and I’ve accumulated enough confidence to go for a moving gearchange as I approach another series of bends. Clutch in, grab the handshifter and pull it up and into second. There’s no graunching, no hiccups, no rear wheel lock up. Easy. By the time we get back to the Brough Superior base just outside of Toulouse I’m desperate for just a few more miles, aching at the thought of having to give this bike back. I just want to keep on riding for as long as I can. All I kept thinking about was how fantastic it would be to have this bike on a British summer’s day and set off for a lazy ride with no particular destination in mind. I pull the decompression lever to kill the engine and the final couple of piston strokes fade away. White oil smoke is drifting upwards as it hits the hot exhaust pipe and it will forever be the smell I associate with this extraordinary experience. An hour later I am sat at the hotel and realise I still reek of burning oil. Sadly, this is one memento of the day that’s going to be washed off in the shower but the memories will never fade.
1936 SS80 project
In a nutshell: The most affordable way into Brough Superior ownership. Special because: You won’t find a cheaper way to (technically) own a Brough Superior motorcycle than this. You’ll essentially be buying the incomplete pieces of a once great machine. But if you’ve got a god-like talent for restoration you may find some value here. Price: £22,425
In a nutshell: Restored version of the most desirable model. Special because: It still runs, and apparently runs well. It’s had its top end inspected and given minor repairs in 2015. A stunning machine for its age. Price: £219,900
1938 SS100 project
In a nutshell: Poor condition Special because: In 1963 this model was advertised as accident damaged, with a twisted frame, cracked gearbox, tanks and exhaust system damaged… but with a recently overhauled engine. If restoration is your talent you will certifiably be buying a SS100. Price: £41,400
The ‘Golden Dream’
In a nutshell: The rarest Brough of all… and it doesn’t even have engine internals. Special because: The Golden Dream carried a unique engine made up of two horizontal flat twins placed on top of each other and geared together. Painted gold, it was intended to be the ultimate example of what Brough could achieve.
Only one model was made for the Earls Court motorcycle show in 1938, with a further five being built the following year. Then WWII broke out and production stopped permanently. This example lives at the National Motorcycle Museum near Solihull. Price: Currently priceless
1927 SS680 OHV
In a nutshell: Excellent example of the second most popular model in beautiful condition. Special because: It’s still made up of many original components, and is in excellent mechanical and cosmetic order. It has spent the past few years as a museum exhibit in Calne, Wiltshire and even comes with a copy of the original factory record card. Price: £124,995 Find it: anthonygodin.co.uk/car/ brough-superior-680/