Bodmin Brough Superiors

14th December 2015


Brough Superior | BS4 | Bodmin Moor | SS100


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Brough Superior logoEight Broughs stored in barns for over half a century will go under the hammer at the Bonhams Sale of Important Collectors’ Motorcycles at Stafford on 24th April 2016.


The bikes were unearthed earlier this year at Bodmin Moor, and until that time they were largely viewed as mythical machines.


Relatively few members of the classic bike community, including members of the Brough Superior Club, believed the machines were still around. But the late (and possibly appropriately named) owner Frank Vague had the rare motorcycles squirreled away on a farm on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall.


Brough Superior BS4

Of particular interest is the four-cylinder Brough Superior BS4 model (image right) featuring twin rear wheels with a driveshaft between the two.


At least 8 were built by George Brough at the Haydn Road, Nottingham works, and it seems that with the discovery of this example, all the BS4s are accounted for.

Note that some sources suggest that 10 were built; 8 in 1932, 1 in 1933, and 1 in 1934.


The bikes were all powered by modified Austin 7 engines (aluminium cylinder heads instead of cast iron). These robust, in-line, four-cylinder, water-cooled, 797cc sidevalve motors drove the rear wheels via an Austin 7 three-speed gearbox (with reverse). And if those twin rear wheels make you wonder about the handling, you might be interested to hear that these bikes were intended for sidecar use.


Brough Superior Bodmin Moor auctionThe BS4 (also known as an Austin Four) was a very shrewd move, not least because the Austin 7 engine was a proven piece of technology and was readily available, but also because the publicity value of a twin rear wheel bike was considerable, and George Brough exploited the power of publicity better than most of his peers.


The BS4/Austin Four sold new for around £188, which was considerably more than the price of a standard Austin 7 of that era.


Other Bodmin Broughs at the sale include various SS80s, a couple of SS100s (one shown immediately above), and a few Brough projects.


Read more about the Bodmin Moor Brough Superiors and check the full list of bikes for sale on Sump Classic Bike News December 2015.




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