Barn Found. This Brough Superior Set A New World Record After Selling For £331,900 (US$ 477,205)

1broughFound in a UK Cornwall barn submerged under decades of dust, old machinery parts and household clutter, this ex Hubert Chantrey Brough Superior was acquired at a Bonhams auction was acquired by an unnamed German bidder for £ 331,900 or US$ 477,205. This bike and 7 others described by auctioneers Bonhams as the “last known collection of unrestored Broughs”, reached a total of £752,625 and were were collected and kept in barns by Frank Vague who died in 1915.

2broughGeorge Brough had toyed with idea of a four-cylinder motorcycle on two previous occasions, both of which had resulted in a solitary prototype, before making a serious attempt in 1931. George came up with idea of retaining shaft drive and using twin rear wheels, one either side of a central crown wheel and pinion. The wheel centres were 7½” apart which, fortunately, meant that as far as the taxation authorities were concerned the machine still qualified as a motorcycle, albeit one much better suited to sidecar duties than solo riding. Tests of the first prototype revealed that the Austin engine’s 13bhp maximum output made for unacceptable poor performance, and so the second machine incorporated an engine bored out for a capacity of 797cc and fitted with an alloy high-compression cylinder head and a more ‘sporty’ camshaft. Two radiators were provided for the water cooled Austin engine, their bulbous header tanks blending into the front of the fuel tank to maintain the traditional Brough look, though a more conventional arrangement was adopted for the production models.

3broughGeorge Brough’s friend Hubert Chantrey rode the show model, as a solo, in the London-Exeter Trial in December ’31, an account of which appeared in Motor Cycling (13th January 1932 edition). At the end of the article, Chantrey stated that he had ordered one of the Brough Fours. It is assumed that the ’4004′ featured here is the Brough ridden by Chantrey in the MCC’s Land’s End Trial in 1932, run over the Easter weekend. Although he climbed all the most difficult hills and completed the course, he received no award, having finished outside the time limit at the Taunton checkpoint.

That summer, Chantrey entered the Four (as a motorcycle combination) in the MCC’s London-Edinburgh Trial. In the event, he non-started as a protest against cars being allowed to precede motorcycles. Chantrey was killed in an air crash in 1933; ‘GY 989’ then disappears from the Brough Superior records, reappearing circa 1947 in the ownership of Les Dunster of Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. Dunster fitted an Ariel front wheel and telescopic forks, and three years later part-exchanged the Brough against a BSA Golden Flash at the famous dealership Comerfords of Thames Ditton, Surrey. Comerfords used ‘GY 989’ to haul their box-sidecar ‘float’, and some time later sold it to Mr E J Sheridan of Forest Gate, London E7.

In 1958, while still owned by Sheridan, ‘GY 989’ was featured in an article in Motor Cycling by John Griffith, at which time it was still attached to a sidecar and fitted with the Ariel front end; it also had a Solex carburettor. The Brough was last taxed by Sheridan on 24th March 1958. It is worth noting that of the seven surviving Brough Superior Fours (out of ten made) only three retain their original engines. (source Bonhams)

11 Responses to “Barn Found. This Brough Superior Set A New World Record After Selling For £331,900 (US$ 477,205)”

  1. 1 Steal Your Face Apr 26th, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Wow, half a mil for a bike that cost maybe a grand new. Rare.

    Still wondering if you lean that bike over on the inner wheel when cornering fast, and ride like a trike when turning slow?

    Very cool.

  2. 2 mkviz Apr 26th, 2016 at 11:13 am

    That’s a lot of money Brough

  3. 3 nicker Apr 26th, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Doubt that there is much “historic value” beyond the Brough name.


  4. 4 James just another crazy kiwi Apr 26th, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Bought for Rarity not Beauty !!!

  5. 5 NoH2oh Apr 26th, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    That is one rough Brough.

  6. 6 Zenaldo Apr 26th, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Looks like a big, heavy motor..and that 2 rear wheel setup is gonna be trouble for sure…the guy was inventive though..

  7. 7 Emmett Apr 27th, 2016 at 7:41 am

    I’m still looking for my 46 Knucklehead in an old Alabama cotton barn. I know it’s out there somewhere.
    Somewhere in my mind.

  8. 8 Gym Apr 27th, 2016 at 11:16 am

    The German cat has a half million to drop on a POS and doesn’t even have a name??? Is this some kind of Prince thing where he goes by a symbol?

    Brough Superior was acquired at a Bonhams auction was acquired by an unnamed German bidder for £ 331,900 or US$ 477,205. –

  9. 9 Apr 29th, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    History !!!
    But a hell of a lot of $$$
    Hope the guy who bought it does not hide it away somewhere

  10. 10 Uda Apr 30th, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    He is going to hide it alright. He even hide his name.

  11. 11 mazz May 2nd, 2016 at 9:17 am

    cool piece of motorcycle history.

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