Two Brough Superior SS100 basket cases sold for big money at the Bonhams Stafford sale last weekend – one for $400k, the other for $365k.  Both have landed high on my ‘World’s Most Expensive Motorcycles’ list, which had no less than four additions from Stafford (a Series A Rapide with replica frame, and an Indian 402 with sidecar also qualified). The purchase price makes financial sense, on the assumption there’s still money left to fabricate a bunch of missing pieces, and make a full restoration from a pile of parts.  But paying $400k for a basket case 1927 Brough Superior SS100 is still wacky; one imagines a future when three scraps of metal with engine/frame/gearbox numbers stamped on them fetching the same as a fully restored machine. This was exactly the situation with vintage Bugattis, when whole machines were parted out to make 3 new ones, since the owner’s club would authenticate a machine as ‘real’ with any one of these 3 parts present. At least Mike Leatherdale, machine registrar of the Brough Superior Club, has no truck with such foolishness.

This 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sports basket case fetched $365k at Bonhams

Looking at the numbers; the highest price paid at auction for an SS100 (intact) is $494k, with two more sold nearer the $450k mark.  Presumably, that means there’s up to $100k left to finish up the basket cases in question, which seems a reasonable figure.  You can fabricate a whole motorcycle for that price, and while you’re at it, you might as well make 10.   It’s been done with Broughs many times…(and for a road test of one click here).

Half price HRD? This 1938 HRD-Vincent Series A Rapide with a replica frame took $196k at Bonhams. More typical for an intact model is $350-420k…

In the car world, people drive, race, crash, and rebuild multimillion dollar vehicles without too much fuss; let’s hope motorcyclists who own such treasures will keep them alive by riding them now and then.  After all, you can’t ride a Rembrandt…but you can ride a Brough.