When the Brough gets going: SS100 for a new millennium
By the end of 2015, Upham hopes to be building 200-plus bikes per year
The 21st Century SS100 - named after the guaranteed 100 miles-per-hour bike introduced in 1924 - brilliantly combines modern engineering with a retro look that makes it instantly recognisable as a Brough with a modern twist.
At the time of writing, Upham had secured 242 orders for the bike, which has been developed and engineered by French company Boxer Design of Toulouse. The 997cc, water-cooled, V-twin engine develops around 140 horsepower and nestles in a steel and titanium frame fitted with a magnesium alloy swingarm and girder-style forks.
Ready for Revival
Top-quality components such as Ohlins suspension and quadruple Beringer disc brakes up front complete the package, helping to push the price of the 'basic' model to 49,850 euros. Those who want a more bespoke machine, however, can specify alternative components at additional cost.
Upham expects the first production versions of the new SS100 to be ready in time for this year's Goodwood Revival, following the initial construction of 10 prototypes for homologation purposes. By the end of 2015, he hopes to be building 200-plus bikes per year.
'Spit and Polish'
For those who don't know their Brough history, perfectionist George Brough started working in his father's car and motorcycle business at the turn of the 20th Century - but finding that pater's standards simply weren't high enough, he left to set up his own company, wheeling the first Brough Superior out of his Nottingham workshop in 1919.
Within three years, he was building his tuned SS80 model (guaranteed to be good for 80mph) and felt ready to take to the track at Brooklands. How his fellow competitors laughed at Brough's relentless pit-lane pampering of the bike they unkindly named 'Spit and Polish' - until he won the experts' scratch race outright and set a 100mph lap record.
A family of Georges
By the time Brough had introduced his SS100 model in 1924, and the Alpine Grand Sports tourer, the Brough Superior legend was well and truly established and had attracted T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) as its most famous patron. He bought his first in 1922 and called it Boanerges, following it with six subsequent examples that were successively named George I, II, III, IV, V and VI. Lawrence died on the last of these in May 1935, after crashing while swerving to avoid two boys on bicycles near his Dorset home.
Five years later, the original Brough Superior shut down, having made little more than 3,000 machines in a 20-year period - each one costing about as much as a small house.