Motorcycle Classics

Back in the Saddle: The New Brough Superior

In 2008, Mark Upham, an Englishman whose livelihood has been motorcycles since he opened his first dealership at the age of 19, acquired and consolidated the rights and international trademarks to one of the most hallowed names in motorcycling history: Brough Superior.

A year later, Upham unveiled the first new Brough Superior in almost 70 years, the road-going SS101. (The “1” was added to reflect the new model.) Since then, he’s introduced the race-derived Brough Superior Pendine, as well as the Retro that clinched a new AMA speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats this past September. It had been 62 years since a factory-backed Brough had run the salt.

In keeping with the spirit and tradition of George Brough, Upham and his team are producing made-to-order Brough Superior motorcycles in limited numbers, using a converted 700-year-old farmhouse in the Alps as the firm’s center of operations.

Based on the styling of their 1930s brethren but with uprated specifications, these new Brough models are, yes, “superior” to their elder siblings. This is because metallurgy, castings, machining and components can be made to higher standards today. In fact, some of the castings for the new Brough Superiors are created by the same foundry employed by precision automakers Lamborghini and Audi.

These two-wheeled rockets cloaked in chrome suits come at a premium, however. As each bespoke machine is handmade, and therefore unique, the investment for a new Brough Superior is about $250,000, with a year’s build time — depending on the length of the waiting list.

Still, it’s a significant savings in comparison to the antique Brough Superiors. Whether viewed as a vehicle, artwork or an investment, Brough Superior is, thanks to Upham, no longer a relic, but a legend resurrected, very much alive and growing. MC

For more information on the history of the Brough Superior, check out Brough Superior SS100.

  • Published on Jan 31, 2012
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