1938 Brough Superior SS100 Lifelong Fascination Beyond the new Auction Block

1938 Brough Superior SS100

The world of classic motorcycles is replete with tales of engineering marvels and legendary rides, but few can match the allure and prestige of the 1938 Brough Superior SS100. This motorcycle, often dubbed the “Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles,” recently made headlines when it fetched an impressive £241,500 (around $300,000 USD) at the 2023 NEC Classic Motor Show Sale in Birmingham, England.

Classic Motorcycle Auction

1938 Brough Superior SS100 Sells for £241,500 at NEC Classic Motor Show Sale

  • A 1938 Brough Superior SS100 sold for a staggering £241,500 at the NEC Classic Motor Show Sale in Birmingham, England.
  • This is equivalent to nearly $300,000 American dollars.
  • The bike is powered by a Matchless 990cc overhead valve SS100 V-twin engine.
  • Only 102 Matchless-powered bikes were ever produced, of which only 34 had sprung frames.
  • This particular bike is a well-known, multiple award-winning example.
  • It was fully restored in 2010 by Tony Cripps, a renowned Brough restoration expert.
  • The bike comes with a comprehensive file of old photos, documentation, MOTs, tax discs, and other historical paperwork.
  • It is in good running order and was awarded “Best Ridden To Show” in the past.

Additional Information

  • Brough Superior motorcycles were known as the “Rolls Royce of Motorcycles” in their day.
  • They were favoured by the rich and famous and were built using the best components and most powerful engines available at the time.
  • Brough Superior motorcycles are now highly sought-after collectables.

NEC Classic Motor Show Sale

The sale not only underscores the enduring appeal of classic motorcycles but also highlights the extraordinary legacy of the Brough Superior SS100. With its rare combination of luxury, performance, and historical significance, this motorcycle stands as a pinnacle of vintage motorcycling.

  • Historical Significance: The Brough Superior SS100 is often referred to as the “Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles” due to its exceptional quality and performance. These motorcycles were the epitome of luxury and performance in their era, and owning one was a symbol of status and sophistication.
  • Rare and Limited Production: With only 102 Matchless-powered SS100s produced, and just 25 known to exist in 2023, this motorcycle is extremely rare. Rarity is a crucial factor in the valuation of collectables like vintage motorcycles.
  • Performance and Engineering: The SS100 was renowned for its performance, particularly its capability to reach 100 mph – a remarkable feat for a motorcycle of that era. Its Matchless 990cc V-twin engine, Norton four-speed gearbox, Castle forks, and twin float carburettor represent the pinnacle of motorcycle engineering at the time.
  • Provenance and Documentation: This particular motorcycle has a well-documented history since 1954, adding to its value. The extensive documentation, including old photos, MOTs, tax discs, and other historical paperwork, provides a rich historical context that is highly valued by collectors.
  • Restoration and Condition: The motorcycle’s restoration by Tony Cripps, a renowned expert in Brough restoration, ensures that it remains in excellent condition, preserving its historical integrity while maintaining functionality. The fact that it is in “good running order” and has won awards for being ridden to shows adds to its allure, as it is not just a static display piece but a functioning piece of history.
  • Cultural and Emotional Appeal: For enthusiasts and collectors, the emotional and cultural appeal of owning a piece of motorcycling history cannot be overstated. The Brough Superior SS100 is more than just a motorcycle; it’s a symbol of a bygone era of craftsmanship, luxury, and performance.

The combination of these factors makes the 1938 Brough Superior SS100 not only a valuable asset in a monetary sense but also a cherished piece of motorcycling heritage. Its sale price reflects the deep appreciation and passion that collectors and enthusiasts have for such iconic machines.

Vintage Motorcycles and Luxury Classic Bikes

Pros and Cons

Analyzing the acquisition of a motorcycle like the 1938 Brough Superior SS100, particularly for a collector or enthusiast, involves weighing various pros and cons:


  • Historical Significance: Owning a piece of motorcycle history, especially one as revered as the Brough Superior SS100, is a unique privilege. This motorcycle is an emblem of the golden age of motorcycling, offering a tangible connection to the past.
  • Rarity and Value Appreciation: Given its rarity, the SS100 is likely to appreciate in value, making it not just a passion purchase but a potential investment. The fewer the models available, the higher their value in the collectors’ market.
  • Cultural and Aesthetic Appeal: The SS100 is a stunning piece of design and craftsmanship. It’s as much a work of art as it is a functional vehicle, appealing to both motorcycle enthusiasts and those who appreciate historical artifacts.
  • Prestige and Exclusivity: Owning a Brough Superior SS100 places one in an exclusive club of collectors. It’s a symbol of prestige and discerning taste in the world of classic motorcycles.
  • Functional and Restored Condition: The fact that this particular SS100 is in good running order adds to its appeal. It can be both a showpiece and a functional vehicle for occasional use.


  • High Acquisition Cost: The significant initial outlay to purchase such a rare and sought-after model can be a major deterrent. It’s an investment that requires considerable financial resources.
  • Maintenance and Upkeep: Vintage motorcycles, especially of the calibre of the SS100, require specialized care and maintenance. Finding skilled professionals for upkeep can be challenging and costly.
  • Insurance and Security Needs: Such a valuable and rare item would necessitate high insurance premiums. Additionally, ensuring its security and safety from theft or damage is a crucial consideration.
  • Limited Usage: Given its value and rarity, using the SS100 as a regular ride is impractical. It’s more a collector’s item than a daily-use vehicle, limiting its practical utility.
  • Market Risks: While classic motorcycles like the SS100 typically appreciate, the collectables market can be unpredictable. External factors can influence market value, posing a risk to the investment aspect.
  • Specialized Knowledge Required: Understanding the history, authenticity, and specific maintenance needs of a vintage motorcycle like the SS100 requires specialized knowledge, which might necessitate a learning curve or reliance on experts.

Acquiring a 1938 Brough Superior SS100 can be a dream for collectors and enthusiasts, offering a blend of historical significance, aesthetic beauty, and investment potential. However, it also comes with considerations of cost, maintenance, practicality, and market risks. The decision to purchase such a motorcycle should be made with both passion and pragmatism in mind.

Historic Motorcycles


The 1938 Brough Superior SS100 is much more than a mere collectable; it is a testament to the zenith of early 20th-century motorcycle engineering and a symbol of the era’s luxuriant craftsmanship. The sale of this motorcycle at the NEC Classic Motor Show for a substantial sum is a reminder of the timeless allure these machines hold.

It encapsulates a rich history, unparalleled engineering excellence, and a legacy that continues to captivate and inspire motorcycle enthusiasts and collectors around the world. As we reflect on the significance of this sale, it becomes clear that the Brough Superior SS100 is not just a part of motorcycle history; it is a vibrant piece of cultural heritage, cherished and revered as much for its storied past as for its mechanical brilliance.

Iconic Auctioneers

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