Monday, December 07, 2009


H&H Classic Auctions, created in 1993 by Simon Hope and Mark Hamilton, has two Brough Superior SS80s coming up for sale in two days, both early models with J.A.P. sidevalve 990cc engines. The earlier model (above) dates from 1926, and shares much of the running gear of the ohv SS100 model, using Castle forks, relatively sporting mudguards, and an open primary chain. The SS80 in '26, while eclipsed by its dramatic ohv brother, was still faster than just about any other motorcycle on the road, and a good deal more reliable to boot. Guaranteed to have exceeded 80mph at the Brooklands race track, these very early SS80's generally fetch much higher prices than the later MX (AMC) engined models, being from an era when a fast sidevalver was still a genuine sporting mount.

The 1930 model (above) is equally unusual in having a Bentley&Draper sprung frame, one of only a handful of SS80s so equipped. The B&D was a successful attempt to create a more comfortable touring experience; the system was tried on the racetrack by other marques - notably Velocette - but the lower swingarm triangulated truss grounded too easily with hard cornering... this isn't an issue with a Brough Superior, as the footrest lugs will ground first! ('A gentleman doesn't scratch' and all that.) This machine is also equipped with Castle forks, and in truth, with this optional chassis setup, the out-the-door price must have approached that of an SS100 model. Even in 1930, the SS80 was one of the fastest machines on two or four wheels, and a road test of such a motorcycle even today will evidence the feeling of 'rightness' of the design; a long journey seems not only possible but an attractive proposition, even with this true Vintage machine. That's saying a Lot for a motorcycle from 1930, of an era when many bikes were tremendous fun due to an excellent power/weight ratio, yet have a deserved feeling of fragility. The Vintage SS80 feels solid, comfortable, competent, and able to answer what is asked of it with aplomb.
For more information about these two machines, see the H&H website.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,

Congratulations for your blog. I've start my blog about nice old experiences, and I've post a movie, made by me, about the TT 1 and TT 2 races at Vila Real, in 1985. Hope you enjoy.
Best regards

Alberto Pires