Monday, October 05, 2015


One of two Brough Superior SS100 'kits'; this one a 1927 Alpine Grand Sports
I've been as guilty as the next 'good intentions' collector of hauling boxes of rare motorcycle bits from home to home over the decades, intending to restore them when I had time.  In truth, a lot of interesting motorcycles were preserved by pulling them to pieces, and are waiting for skilled hands to put them back together.  One benefit from the serious uptick in the price of rare machines is it makes financial sense, at least, to give a machine a first-class restoration, even if it's missing parts or is an absolute wreck.  Several 'kit' Brough Superiors and a Matchless V-4, plus the odd rough Vincent Series A single and some old GP racers in need of serious love are coming up for sale at the Bonhams Stafford sale Oct 17/18th.
A former kit, now complete: a 1938 Vincent-HRD Series A Rapide, built from parts with a replica frame.  Perhaps the last 'bargain' Series A twin?  A repro frame hardly matters when you're hammering down the road...
I believe this is the biggest Stafford sale on record, with around 350 machines to be sold over two days.  The Saturday auction is reserved exclusively for the Lonati collection of early American machines, which rivals the EJ Cole sale last Spring as a blockbuster of collecting.  Lots of very early Harley-Davidsons, including several 'Teens models, plus a few '20s JDH hotrods, and Indians, several Excelsior-Henderson 4s, Pierces, Reading-Standards, etc, make for a really interesting lineup.
GH Tyrell-Smith's ex-Works 1932 TT Rudge 350, in need of some attention, but with solid gold provenance, as shown aviating over Ballagh bridge in the Isle of Man in 1932
Sunday's sale is has, as mentioned, several amazing 'kits', including two Brough Superior SS100s from the 1920s JAP era, plus complete Broughs, a bunch of Mondial GP and Rumi flat twins, and Bonhams' usual range of bikes from the 'Noughts through the '70s, with a lot of barn find and incomplete machines to tempt tinkerers.  Take a look at the online catalog for the Saturday Lonati and Sunday sales; I'm already trying to decide what I need to bid on!  Too much cool stuff...
American Royalty; a 1910 Pierce 4 of 688cc, beautifully restored
Speed Demon; a 1916 Henderson 4-cylinder, the 'Deusenberg of Motorcycles'.  Take that, George!

Your eyes do not deceive you; this bike is wrong, and gloriously weird.  Part of a grand American tradition of stretching 4-cylinder motorcycles with two extras, just for good measure.  The builder/provenance is unknown on this 1924 Excelsior-Henderson 6, but it took a lot of work to make it! 

1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports project.  Yes please. 

All the parts, plus rare spares, needed to build up a Matchless Silver Hawk V4 

The mucked-about state of the '27 Brough Superior SS100, fitted with a twin-cam SS80 motor at some point in Australia.  All Brough, and now it's all being sorted out...

Yet another Brough kit; a 1931 680 OHV 'Black Alpine' model


GuitarSlinger said...

So since when did a ' Basket Case ' suddenly become a ' kit ' ?

Oh yeah . Revisionist definitions for blatant marketing purposes [ there's an article just begging to be written ]

Never mind !

Caretaker said...

I honestly look forward to these posts. Quality like this is all too rare.

cars admire said...

very rare to get it !!

Ian said...

I always find it amazing that those Rudge vertical twins have such a large diameter on the exhaust headers. Maybe someone could correct me, but would it not be better fitting pea shooter exhausts in order to boost compression?