Words from Gracysguide, photo's By S. Broberg
Brough of Vernon Road, Basford, Nottingham
The company manufactured motorcycles from 1898 to
1908 William Brough began the legend that was
later to become Brough Superior, the engineering genius of his son George.
He began making production motorcycles in 1908. George and William were
initially partners in the company.
1898 Brough built a small car, soon to be followed
by a tricycle fitted with a 2.5hp De Dion engine.
1902 Appearance of first motorcycle, with an
engine hung from the downtube and braced forks.
1906-1908 Various improvements were made to the
design, and several models were produced. The 1908 modelo had a vertically
mounted 3.5hp engine and sprung forks. That was soon joined by a 2.5hp
and a 5hp V-twin. They were all made by the firm.
1910 Brough developed and built an advanced experimental
engine. It had a rotary valve above the cylinder, which was driven by bevel
gears, a shaft, and spur gears above the head and valve.
1912 A larger, 6hp V-twin model was available
for touring and racing. The 3.5hp single was enlarged and a two-speed counter-shaft
gearbox added. There was also an 8hp V-twin engine for the Brough Monocar
and there was also a ladies' version, with an open frame and a 3.5hp engine.
1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices
of motorcycles see the 1917 Red Book
1913 George Brough was entered in the Senior
TT, on a model with a flat twin engine, but for the race an ABCC twin engine
was used as their own was not ready, but he had to retire early from the
race. Later in the year, the firm announced their own 3.5hp 497cc flat-twin
model with ohv, the U. H. magneto clamped to the crankcase top and the
two-speed gearbox to the crankcase underside. Chain drive was used from
engine to gearbox while the final drive was from an adjustable pulley by
belt. It was also fitted with Druid forks.
1915 Only the flat twin was listed, in two further
forms. One had a three-speed gearbox and the other was for racing.
1916 to 1923 The standard models were joined
by a larger 5hp version. In 1923 they were joined by a larger 5hp version
1919 George left his father's business in 1919,
after an argument, to begin his own company Brough Superior in the same
city of Nottingham.
1924 The larger version continued along with
the 947cc model.
1925 Production ceased.
The company produced motorcycles between 1919 and
1919 Following an argument, George Brough left
his father's Brough works to set up Brough Superior in Nottingham. From
the outset his machines were built for the connoisseur who appreciated
the best available in style and workmanship. Although he used other firms'
products, he was able to persuade his customers that those supplies were
better and special to the normal line.
1920 In December, the press revealed the first
Brough Superior as a magnificently strong, curvaceous machine. This was
to be the hallmark of the brand throughout its history. It had a 986cc
ohv JAP V-twin engine, three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, Amac carburettor,
ML magneto and a strong frame with Montgomery forks. The finish of the
machine was of the finest quality and almost every piece on them was hand
made: nuts, bolts and fittings. There was also an alternative option of
the Swiss 733 cc ioe MAG V-twin engine, or the larger 993 cc MAG. Another
alternative as the 999cc Barr and Stroud V-twin sleeve-valve engine.
||1922 An alternative 976cc JAP sv engine was an
1922 1,000 cc 'Old Bill' motorcycle. Exhibit
at Nottingham Industrial Museum
1923 The model line was revised and the 988cc
sv JAP V-twin engine made its debut. It could power the machine to around
80mph/130kmh, and keep it there all day.
1924 Until now the braking system had been the
weak point in the design. The brakes were changed to drums in both hubs,
and as a reporter had dubbed the model 'The Rolls-Royce of motorcycles',
Brough used this accolade to boost publicity. With the JAP engine came
the three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, modified Harley-Davidson bottom-linked
forks and a stylish tank. Capable of reaching 100mph, this was truly the
1927. V4 motorcycle. (Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial
1928 Black Alpine motorcycle. (Exhibit at Birmingham
1932 By this time many more models had been produced
and/or revised and modified. George persuaded Herbert Austin to supply
him with bored-out Austin Seven 800cc engines, fitted with an alloy head
and he overcame the problem of having to offset the rear-wheel drive by
fitting two rear wheels - one either side of the prop shaft. With shaft
drive it was intended for sidecar use. Shortly after this, William died
and George returned home to continue his production.
1935 A revised SS80 model was produced powered
by a 982cc sv Matchless V-twin engine engraved with the name Brough Superior.
(T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) owned eight Broughs, all called George.
He was killed on May 13, 1935, while riding George VII, an SS100. Only
around 400 SS100s were ever made; about 300 powered by a JAP engine, the
last 100 by a Matchless V-twin).
1935 Produced a car based on the Hudson. Around
1938 Brough exhibited his four-cylinder Golden
Dream. Two of these were built, and the golden finish of one gave it its
name. The cylinders were arranged as a transverse-four layout and did not
need water cooling. The outbreak of war prevented development of this model
and it never went into production.
1939 SS80 with sidecar. Exhibit at Nottingham
1940 Wartime brought all production of motorcycles
to a close and the engineering works turned to the war effort. The capabilities
of the factory to produce high-precision engineering resulted in the supply
of Merlin crankshafts for Rolls-Royce.