Year of manufacture1934
Engine numberLDZ/D 40539/SE
1934 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50hp Project
Registration no. ATO 521
Frame no. 8/1427
Engine no. LDZ/D 40539/SE
The largest series-produced Brough Superior
Off the road for many years
Offered for restoration
Legendary superbike of motorcycling's between-the-wars 'Golden Age', the Brough Superior was synonymous with high performance, engineering excellence and quality of finish. That such a formidable reputation was forged by a motorcycle constructed almost entirely from bought-in components says much for the publicity skills of George Brough. But if ever a machine was more than the sum of its parts, it was the Brough Superior. Always the perfectionist, Brough bought only the best available components for his motorcycles, reasoning that if the product was right, a lofty price tag would be no handicap. And in the 'Roaring Twenties' there were sufficient wealthy connoisseurs around to prove him right, T E Lawrence ('Lawrence of Arabia') being the most famous example.
The speed with which the name 'Brough Superior' established itself as synonymous with excellence may be gauged from the fact that the famous 'Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles' sobriquet was first coined in 1921 when the marque was barely two years old. The story goes that Rolls-Royce objected to their name being associated with a mere motorcycle - until they examined one of George's creations.
Launched in 1933, the 1,096cc 11-50 was the largest Brough Superior to enter series production. Powered by a sidevalve v-twin (of unusual 60-degree configuration) supplied exclusively to the Nottingham factory by J A Prestwich, the 11-50 fitted into the Brough price range between the SS80 touring and SS100 super-sports models. The 11-50 was conceived as a long-legged, effortless tourer and could exceed 90mph in solo form or pull a heavy sidecar at up to 75mph; indeed, in the latter role it was one of the finest sidecar mounts of its day. Production lasted until 1939, by which time the 11-50 was the only JAP-powered machine in the Brough Superior range.
This 11-50 has the rigid frame and Castle front fork, the latter being an extra cost option. It left the Nottingham works on 21st July 1934 despatched to Brookes Brothers, and in addition to the Castle forks was equipped with John Bull foot boards and rectangular toolboxes, which are still fitted. Brough Superior Club records confirm that the frame, engine and gearbox numbers match the despatch records. The 'ATO' registration was issued by Nottinghamshire County Council from 1934, while the tax disc still in place expired on 31st December 1958, which is almost certainly the last occasion the Brough was on the road.
Acquired for the collection in 1991, this wonderful 'barn find' appears to be totally original and complete, and should, despite its somewhat distressed condition, be a relatively straightforward restoration for the experienced practitioner. A most exciting and rewarding project, the machine is offered with an old-style continuation logbook (issued 1957), copy old V5 and a V5C registration document.