George Brough established his own motorcycle manufacturing company at Haydn Road Nottingham, having fallen out and left Brough, the company owned by his father, W.E Brough due to a disagreement concerning cylinder angles. W.E. Brough had become an advocate of the flat twin, adopting ABC engines for his motorcycles before moving on to the production of his own engines retaining the configuration with capacities of 496cc to 810cc, a move that George did not support and which prompted the production of some of the most iconic motorcycles ever produced. George was well known as a competitor in motorcycle racing, highly regarded as a technician and understood the value of marketing. He successfully utilised all of these talents in elevating his machines to being objects of desire, items that did more than simply provide transport.
His flair for marketing was highlighted when he successfully sought permission from the illustrious car maker to describe his machines as "The Rolls Royce of Motorcycles", combined with his insistence that only the best components were used in the creation of the motorcycles bearing the Brough Superior script and that they were then assembled with a level of care and precision beyond that of other manufacturers ensured that the motorcycles leaving his premises were more than the sum of their parts. His competition background resulted in machines that handled and went as well as they looked, whilst the "bespoke" nature of the machines (although a catalogue was published the machines therein represented a starting point for the would be owner, in 1939 the range consisted of the 680, SS80 and SS100 and 11.50 side valve, which would then be tailored to your specific requirements) attracted a clientele that included the "A" list celebrities of the day.
The SS80 had originally entered the Brough Superior catalogue in 1922 and quickly established itself as a favourite. Guaranteed to achieve 80mph it went on to become a mainstay of the range with over a thousand being built between 1922 and 1940. Although the SS80, like its overhead valve brother, the SS100, had originally been built using a JAP engine, both models had adopted Matchless vee twin power units in the mid thirties (the SS80, in 1935 and the SS100 in 1936).
For the 1939 season, when the example offered was built, the SS80 represented the middle machine in the range, for those with deep enough pockets there was the overhead valve SS100, whilst the more impecunious would look to the pretty, but slightly small (in George Brough's eyes) 680, with the 11.50 catering for those seeking a sidecar tug par excellence. Those desiring a machine that balanced performance and stamina would opt for the SS80. The introduction of the 982cc Matchless vee twin also marked the adoption of a four speed gearbox as standard equipment.
This machine was professionally restored approximately ten years ago and has subsequently been sympathetically stored including a stint as part of the window display in the Polo Ralph Lauren's London premises. Presented to a very high standard throughout with a Swansea V5 it was the subject of an article published in the "Classic Bike Guide" shortly before its acquisition by the vendor, a photocopy of which is provided with the motorcycle. The article concluded "When you ride a machine of pensionable age that's as fast, smooth and comfortable as this one, it's easy to understand why Brough Superiors have an unmatched reputation among bikes of their era. And why that old advertising line about the Rolls Royce of Motorcycles rang so true.