As the son of an early English motorcycle manufacturer, George Brough branched out on his own after World War I to build what would later be described as "the Rolls-Royce of motorcycles" -- the 1938 Brough Superior SS 100 motorcycle.Motorcycle Image Gallery
Brough motorcycles were expensive, well-finished machines compiled largely from proprietary components, most notably a 60-cubic-inch J.A.P. V-twin engine.
An early example was called the SS 80, so named for its guaranteed top speed of 80 mph. Switching from flathead to overhead-valve engines brought the SS 100 in 1924.
Though smaller V-twins and even a four-cylinder sidecar model with an Austin automotive drivetrain were offered, the company's legacy lies with its big V-twins.
The exemplary engineering and construction for which Brough Superiors were famous can be seen in this example's leading-link front suspension with driver-adjustable damping, nickel-plated side panels on the fuel tank, foot-operated gearshift, contoured saddlebags, and plunger rear suspension.
Though renowned primarily for their fine craftsmanship, Brough Superiors also held many speed records during the 1920s and '30s, culminating in a 1937 run of nearly 170 mph on -- of course -- a modified version.
In the annals of motorcycle history, Brough Superior will always be aligned with famed military figure and writer T.E. Lawrence -- Lawrence of Arabia. Being a personal friend of George Brough, Lawrence owned several Brough Superiors, and sadly, died on one.
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