Year of manufacture1938
Engine numberLTZ/O 60186/S
From the estate of the late Frank Vague
1938 Brough Superior 1,096cc 11-50HP Project
Registration no. ETV 332
Frame no. M8/2011 (see text)
Engine no. LTZ/O 60186/S
Single ownership for circa 50 years
Believed matching numbers (see text)
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.
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 standard Monarch front fork and optional rear suspension. Supplied as a motorcycle combination, the machine was first registered in Nottingham by the factory on its purchaser's behalf, a not uncommon occurrence. Sold to one O J Bugg, it was his third new Brough Superior, the two preceding also being 11-50s. No other history is known other than the fact that the forks were bent in a crash in 1962. Interestingly, the Southern Echo newspaper carried an article in its 18th July 1962 edition, which stated that a 'powerful' Brough Superior had been in a crash between Hurstbourne Friars and Whitchurch. The rider, aged 17, sustained an ankle injury but his female pillion passenger died later of her injuries. The site of the accident is no more than a few miles from Frank Vague's house, and it is possible that this Brough was the one at the centre of the tragedy. Offered for restoration, the machine comes with a quantity of spares to include a fuel tank, fork blades and an oil tank. Unfortunately, the frame number is heavily corroded, the only digits remaining being '01', which suggests that it is probably the original frame, 'M8/2011'. There are no documents with this Lot.