Barn Find Unearths Rare British Motorcycle Treasures
Long-lost trove of Brough Superiors will be worth a fortune at auction.
There’s patina, like the Dodge Charger Daytona we recently featured, and patina’s neat. Then there’s decay. Rust. Entropy. Metal returning to the earth. It’s a sad state of things when cancer starts to eat up something special, like these incredible Brough Superior motorcycles from the Twenties that were plucked from a barn on an English moor.
Motorcycles aren’t like cars: They have to be special to be worth a damn when they’re all used up. The Brough Superior was as special a thing as England could assemble between the World Wars. And just to be sure, they were assembled twice: once to assure every part fit correctly, and again after every part was painted. They were the mount of choice for England’s playboys, adventurers and intellectuals. George Bernard Shaw was an owner. So was T.E. Lawrence, who famously had seven, and died riding a Brough before the factory could deliver his eighth. The Superior was a rightfully rare and expensive bike when it was new. Today they’re worth a damned fortune.
This depository of priceless British steel includes well-rusted examples of Bough’s best and rarest: An Austin-engined, dualie BS4; two decomposing SS100’s; a handful of SS80’s. Were these bikes in perfect shape, this would be the discovery of the century for collectors. Alas, the Broughs are in truly miserable condition and most are unlikely candidates for restoration. Still, they’ll bring good money when they go up for auction at Bonhams in April. Even in a decrepit state, the elegance of a classic shines through.