A Brough Superior like the one ridden by Lawrence of Arabia has become the most expensive Brough and the third-most expensive motorcycle sold at public auction. The 1929 Brough Superior 986cc SS100 Alpine Grand Sports fetched £315,100 (approximately AU$583,000) at the Bonhams Bond Street Sale in November. That makes it the third most expensive motorcycle, beating a 1910 Winchester 6HP which sold for $US580,000 in 2013 to a gun collector. It is also a record for a Brough as the highest price paid previously was $US463,847 in April for a 1922 SS80 owned by company founder George Brough. The most expensive bike sold at public auction is the Captain America Harley chopper from Easy Rider. It sold for $US1.5m recently at auction, despite questions over its authenticity.
The second most expensive motorcycle is a 1948 Vincent Black Lightning famously ridden by Rollie Free wearing a bathing suit at the Bonneville Salt Flats. It sold for a neat $US1 million in 2011. Meanwhile, a 1939 Brough Superior 1150 SV former police bike has possibly set an Australian record price at auction. It was estimated to sell for $65,000 at Shannons Melbourne Summer Auction on December 8, but almost doubled that with $111,000 after a duel between two floor bidders. Shannons national auction manager Christophe Boribon believes it could be an Australian record and says it certainly outsold the last two Broughs, which fetched in the $50,000-$60,000 bracket. “We’ve seen a massive increase in the following of early bikes in Australia as well as around the world in recent years,” he says. “We’ve sold 150 bikes in the last 18 months in Sydney and Melbourne so there is definitely renewed interest in bikes. I think it’s got something to do with the interest in ‘60s and ‘70s cafe racers and bobbers.”
The sale of the Brough was only one of the highlights of the auction. Other motorcycles to sell well included a restored circa 1948 Harley-Davidson WL “Civilian” motorcycle ($25,000), a Triumph Tiger “GP Replica” 500cc ($14,500), a restored 1968 Norton Atlas 750cc in older restored condition ($10,000), and a rare circa-1961 BSA A10 Super Rocket 650cc ($9000), while a circa 1949 BSA M20 500cc “Military” motorcycle in need of restoration sold with “no reserve” for $8000.