While working for his father, W. E. Brough, George Brough had the vision of building a luxury large capacity v-twin motorcycle with a strong commitment to the quality of each motorcycle built. Since he father was hesitant, George branched out on his own and started the Brough Superior Works. The “Superior” proved worthy of the name and soon earned the distinction of being referred to as the “Rolls Royce of Motorcycles.”
The Brough Superior was manufactured from 1919 to 1940 and was made famous by Colonel T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who collected several of them and who unfortunately had his life cut short in an accident on one. The Brough Superior has become one of the most desired bikes to this day.
On May 9th, 1938, this model SS-80 “FWB-112” (registration numbers stayed with the machines) was supplied to Frank B. Roper, LTD. in Sheffield, England for the price of 150 Pounds Sterling according to the Works Card. It is outfitted with a 996 cc Matchless side valve twin and still has all the matching component numbers issued to it by the factory.
After surviving WWII and 5 owners, it wound up at Clive Bright Motorcycle Restoration Shop of Swindon, England in 1980 for a complete restoration. After 9 pages of written restoration documentation and hundreds of man hours, it was then on to Christies Auctions of South Kensington.
From there it was purchased by a police officer in Torrance, CA and it was only ridden twice for 288 miles which brought the original mileage to 62007. It was then purchased by its present owner in 2006 with all previous ownership documentation, WW2 fuel rationing cards, auction documentation, magazine articles, tax stamps and manuals.
Rare to find one so well taken care of over the years, this bike was recently judged at 96 ½ points at an Antique Motorcycle Clubs of America meet in Davenport IA. FWB 112 is being reworked again by its current owner to get back the remaining points and put her in the AMCA Winners Circle.
With little more than 100 SS-80s produced in 1938, it is a rare treat to get a glimpse of one in all its glory and when asked about the ride of this particular model the reply was… ‘Like a Rolls Royce”.
Special thanks to Jeff and Kristal from Iron Horse Livery for preserving this piece of our motorcycling history and giving us a glimpse of the past and what it was like to ride a motorcycle ~ back in the day!