George Brough - Design Masters New York Wednesday, December 15, 2010 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    George Brough, Nottingham, UK; Prince R. Chagla, India; Major S. Balakrishnan, India
    COMPETITION London to Edinburgh Trial, May 1925 (George Brough); Austrian Alpine Trial, July 1925 (George Brough); London to Exeter Trial, December 1925 (J.P. “Neon” Castley); Victory Cup Trial, March 1926 (George Brough)

  • Literature

    Ronald H. Clark, Brough Superior: The Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles, Yeovil, 1964, illustrated p. 38; Mick Duckworth, “Superiority Complex,” The Classic Motorcycle, December 1998, illustrated pp. 50–52 and p. 54
    The present lot is the first SS100 “Alpine Grand Sport” and was George Brough’s own personal bike, raced by him throughout 1925 and early 1926, as confirmed by Mike Leatherdale, Machine Registrar for the Brough Superior Club, UK.
    Please see the Important Notice for Prospective Buyers of Vintage Vehicles which appears at the back of this catalogue.

  • Catalogue Essay

    “It is very satisfying to know that you are astride a machine which, if you wish, can leave behind anything on wheels,” vowed the 1925 Brough Superior sales brochure—no empty boast. The previous year, engine tuner Bert Le Vack set the British road record at Clipstone Drive, Sherwood, when he hit 111.1 mph on a Brough Superior in front of 10,000 spectators. The eponymous George Brough insisted every SS100 betested for a quarter mile at 100 mph, hence the model number. More than merely fast, Brough Superiors comprised the best-made components of the day: engines by J.A. Prestwich; gearboxes from Sturmey Archer; Bonniksen speedometers; and the famous sculpted “Bulbous Nose Saddle Tank”, a proprietary design. Given its maker’s attention to detail as well as the marque’s unparalleled repair and replacement service, the Brough Superior lived up to its name. Reporter H.D. Teague dubbed it “The Rolls-Royce of Motor Cycles” (at £170 in 1925, it cost more than most men’s yearly wages). In preparation for that July’s Austrian Trial, Brough designed the present lot, his own personal bike and the first “Alpine Grand Sport” (AGS), a modified SS100. Chief Engineer Harold Karslake, who secretly assembled the machine in early 1925 at the Brough Superior Works in Nottingham, made critical adjustments to account for the demands of the 8-day trial which included distance runs, hill climbs, and speed sections. He pulled back the handlebars to allow Brough greater comfort over longer distances, modified the gas tank, and lowered the engine compression to improve performance at high altitudes and during steep climbs. In addition, Karslake equipped the bike with “full touring trim” which included large Rexine panniers and Lucas acetylene lamps. The fruits of his labor? An Austrian speed award for Brough and a gold medal later that year during the London to Exeter trial.



The Prototype Brough Superior SS100 "Alpine Grand Sport"

Registration number HP2122. Frame number 801A. Engine number KTOR 37658. Engineered by Harold Karslake, Brough Superior Works, Nottingham, UK. 1000cc overhead valve 50-degree V-twin engine manufactured by J.A. Prestwich, Tottenham, UK. Together with George Brough’s International Travelling Pass issued for the present lot by the Royal Automobile Club, London, June 8, 1925, and with a letter of certification from Mike Leatherdale, Machine Registrar, Brough Superior Club, UK.

$600,000 - 700,000 

Design Masters

15 December 2010
New York