The company produced motorcycles between 1919 and 1940
1919 Following an argument, George Brough left his father's Brough
works to set up Brough Superior in Nottingham. From the outset his
machines were built for the connoisseur who appreciated the best available
in style and workmanship. Although he used other firms' products, he was
able to persuade his customers that those supplies were better and special
to the normal line.
1920 In December, the press revealed the first Brough Superior as a magnificently strong, curvaceous machine. This was to be the
hallmark of the brand throughout its history. It had a 986cc ohv JAP
V-twin engine, three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, Amac carburettor, ML magneto and a strong frame with Montgomery forks. The finish of the machine was of the finest quality and almost every piece on them was hand
made: nuts, bolts and fittings. There was also an alternative option of the Swiss 733 cc ioe MAG V-twin engine, or the larger 993 cc MAG.
Another alternative as the 999cc Barr and Stroud V-twin sleeve-
1922 An alternative 976cc JAP
sv engine was an option.
1922 1,000 cc 'Old Bill' motorcycle. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum
1923 The model line was revised and the 988cc sv JAP
V-twin engine made its debut. It could power the machine to around 80mph/130kmh,
and keep it there all day.
1924 Until now the braking system had been the weak point in the design.
The brakes were changed to drums in both hubs, and as a reporter had dubbed
the model 'The Rolls-Royce of motorcycles', Brough used this accolade
to boost publicity. With the JAP
engine came the three-speed Sturmey-Archer
gearbox, modified Harley-Davidson
bottom-linked forks and a stylish tank. Capable of reaching 100mph, this
was truly the first 'superbike'.
1927. V4 motorcycle. (Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum)
1928 Black Alpine motorcycle. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum)
1932 By this time many more models had been produced and/or revised and
modified. George persuaded Herbert Austin to supply him with bored-out
Seven 800cc engines, fitted with an alloy head and he overcame
the problem of having to offset the rear-wheel drive by fitting two rear
wheels - one either side of the prop shaft. With shaft drive it was intended
sidecar use. Shortly after
this, William died and George returned home to continue his production.
1935 A revised SS80 model was produced powered by a 982cc sv Matchless
V-twin engine engraved with the name Brough Superior. (T.E. Lawrence
(Lawrence of Arabia) owned eight Broughs, all called George. He
was killed on May 13, 1935, while riding George VII, an SS100. Only around
400 SS100s were ever made; about 300 powered by a JAP
engine, the last 100 by a Matchless V-twin).
1935 Producedf a car based on the Hudson. Around 25 produced.
1938 Brough exhibited his four-cylinder Golden Dream. Two
of these were built, and the golden finish of one gave it its name. The
cylinders were arranged as a transverse-four layout and did not need water
cooling. The outbreak of war prevented development of this model and it
never went into production.
1939 SS80 with sidecar. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum
1940 Wartime brought all production of motorcycles to a close and the engineering
works turned to the war effort. The capabilities of the factory to produce
high-precision engineering resulted in the supply of Merlin crankshafts
Note: The bike was not forgotten - in 1949 Noel Pope used an enclosed,
streamlined Brough with an 8/80 JAP
engine to try for a speed record on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.
He crashed at 150mph, ending his attempt. Pope had already achieved a world
record on a Brough at Brooklands,
where he reached 124 mph in a solo and 106mph in a sidecar machine. But
the record went to Eric Fernihough in 1938, who managed to reach 180mph
on a Brough in Budapest, but was killed in the return lap.
Motorcycle Museum exhibits:-
1939 Brough Superior 1000cc George Brough Ltd
1920 Brough Superior 750cc Mk 2 George Brough Ltd
1925 Brough Superior 1000cc SS100 Sprint Special George Brough Ltd
1932 Brough Superior 1000cc. Model SS 100 George Brough Ltd
1932 Brough Superior 800cc George Brough Ltd
1934 Brough Superior 1000cc SS100 8-75 George Brough Ltd