Wednesday, October 21, 2015


The 1926 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports basket case which fetched $400k at the Bonhams Stafford sale
Two Brough Superior SS100 basket cases sold for big money at the Bonhams Stafford sale last weekend - one for $400k, the other for $365k.  Both have landed high on my 'World's Most Expensive Motorcycles' list, which had no less than four additions from Stafford (a Series A Rapide with replica frame, and an Indian 402 with sidecar also qualified). The purchase price makes financial sense, on the assumption there's still money left to fabricate a bunch of missing pieces, and make a full restoration from a pile of parts.  But paying $400k for a basket case 1927 Brough Superior SS100 is still wacky; one imagines a future when three scraps of metal with engine/frame/gearbox numbers stamped on them fetching the same as a fully restored machine. This was exactly the situation with vintage Bugattis, when whole machines were parted out to make 3 new ones, since the owner's club would authenticate a machine as 'real' with any one of these 3 parts present. At least Mike Leatherdale, machine registrar of the Brough Superior Club, has no truck with such foolishness.
This 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports basket case fetched $365k at Bonhams
These Broughs were from an estate of an Australian gent, who never got around to finishing a few restorations; a situation many of us - including myself - are guilty of.  But good on his family for reaping the benefit of his long-time vision, and unwillingness to ever sell anything.  Vale, Gary.
Half price HRD?  This 1938 HRD-Vincent Series A Rapide with a replica frame took $196k at Bonhams.  More typical for an intact model is $350-420k...
Looking at the numbers; the highest price paid at auction for an SS100 (intact) is $494k, with two more sold nearer the $450k mark.  Presumably, that means there's up to $100k left to finish up the basket cases in question, which seems a reasonable figure.  You can fabricate a whole motorcycle for that price, and while you're at it, you might as well make 10.   It's been done with Broughs many times...(and for a road test of one click here).
Top price paid at auction for an SS100 to date...
In the car world, people drive, race, crash, and rebuild multimillion dollar vehicles without too much fuss; let's hope motorcyclists who own such treasures will keep them alive by riding them now and then.  After all, you can't ride a Rembrandt...but you can ride a Brough.

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1 comment:

The Velobanjogent said...

Paul...Gary was a longtime friend and his death by pancreatic cancer a bitter blow as he'd been a Brough historian and collector for over 50 years and all the items were acquired in a time where sanity prevailed with prices...he resisted offers to purchase some of his bikes which would have given his wife and himself some comfort in their latter years, they rented for most of their life. The huge sums paid will ensure his wife can buy a house in house price crazy Sydney, Australia and while Gary never benefited from the sale, one would expect the bikes won't languish as parts but be completed as running machines, something he would have liked. I was involved in the sorting of the cache of Brough items in Sydney with help from another friend over several months with their being dispatched to Bonhams in London...I then made the flight to the UK to see the finalisation ( at my own expense)with the auction...Vale Gary......