1922 Brough Superior Mk1

Pre-World War II motorcycles dominate the high-end collectable market, and Brough Superiors sit at the pinnacle


Much of the Brough’s appeal is due to its association with T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, who owned eight examples and was killed on one in 1935. But the Brough Superior also harked back to an era where bikes were built in smaller numbers with an emphasis on quality. And as they are now around 90 years old and extremely rare, the Brough’s status is even higher.

George Brough was originally involved in a partnership with his father, William, producing the Brough motorcycle. After World War I, George wanted to build a luxury motorcycle for gentlemen, but William wasn’t so enthusiastic. So in 1919 the 29-year-old George decided to go it alone. George bought a small plot of land on Haydn Road in Nottingham and erected a small workshop, office and store. He then bought some engines from J.A. Prestwick in Tottenham. These engines were about 6 years old at the time. Recent research suggests George probably offered to take the first examples off JAP’s hands for a job lot price. With frames and other accessories emanating from Coventry and Birmingham, the Mark 1 Brough Superior was born.

Known as the “90 Bore,” the JAP engine was a 986cc 50-degree V-twin with a 90mm bore and 77.5mm stroke. The two overhead valves were set vertically, with the valve guides set in detachable port blocks and the valve seats in the top of the cylinder barrel top. As the special alloy steel valves were removed by unscrewing the valve guides, working on the JAP engine required special skills. The three-ring pistons were aluminum and the valves operated by external pushrods and two camshafts. After August 1920, George Brough requested JAP incorporate several modifications, including four rows of rollers for the big-end, a heavy duty ball bearing for the drive side of the crankshaft and straight rockers.

Fit and finish

The engine finish was exceptional, with plated valve gear and cylinders, sandblast finished crankcases, and finned aluminum heat-dissipating exhaust ports. A beautiful cast-aluminum silencer connected to a perfectly straight exhaust pipe on the left. The silencer shape was replicated in a specially designed aluminum casting attached to the multiple jet AMAC two-lever carburetor and forming an induction pipe.

The Brough uses a “paint-scraper” block stirrup bicycle-style front brake setup. This bike also has an Acetylene headlight, which was optional.

6/13/2020 1:06:09 AM

Das beste oder nicht!

6/12/2020 3:08:57 PM

With this model I really think they begin to branch away from the bicycle into a 3rd or 4th entity in their own right. No longer 'a bicycle w/an engine'. Not till 4 yrs later did the car really move away frm the 'horseless carriage' (modelA) style. 'S great to see here, thank you~ - -Chad

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