World’s Most Expensive Motorcycle. 1929 Brough Superior. Auctioned $455,000.

Brough Superior (1919-1938), the brand nicknamed the Rolls Royce Of Motorcycles, has always been the epitome of exclusivity, luxury, elegance, style and extraordinary design. And a private collector proved it again by getting a 1929 model for the outstanding price of 286,000 UK pounds or about US$455,000 during a European auction at the Haynes International Motor Museum. The previous record for the top price achieved by a motorcycle at auction had previously been held by a 1915 overhead camshaft Cyclone board track racer, which sold for 278,400 UK pounds. Classic motorcycles have soared in value in recent years because the reasoning is that very rare items are often considered a money refuge by rich collectors during periods of economic uncertainty and recessions. 

There was only 29 SS100s produced in 1929 with the option of the B and D sprung frame and the three speed “super heavyweight” gearbox, although a few are believed to have been built with the standard unit. 1929 also saw the introduction of the new dual headlight, as fitted to the machine offered, although not all the 1929 SS100s were so equipped. The 1,000cc V-twin was guaranteed to top 100 mph or161 km/h. (Saw 3 Brough Superior in Jay Leno’s garage in Burbank, CA when I visited it, but not sure about the years)

Since 2007 Mark Upham is the CEO of the New Brough Superior Motorcycles Ltd and recently announced that his company will be racing next year at Bonneville Speed Week with a new machine based on the existing 1927 SS100 Pendine model which was first unveiled at Pebble Beach in August 2009. The machine will be known as the Brough Superior SS100 Retroit. Design  style and construction will be the responsibility of Alistair Gibson formerly chief mechanic for Honda Formula One and lifelong 2-wheel enthusiast.

And now, Phillips de Pury & Company is going to offer for sale on December 15th the prototype Brough Superior SS100 “Alpine Grand Sport” built in 1925 by George Brough. Expect a new world record price.

20 Responses to “World’s Most Expensive Motorcycle. 1929 Brough Superior. Auctioned $455,000.”

  1. 1 LENNY SINNET ASTC PERFORMANCE Nov 26th, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    Definitely the best of the best these motorcycles are priceless I have only seen these in person at the National Motorcycle Museum in Iowa well worth checking out.

  2. 2 Slantartist Nov 26th, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    This the highest prices paid in public.
    Much higher prices are paid in private on a regular basis.

  3. 3 ray c wheeler Nov 26th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    That’s a real motorcycle!

  4. 4 Cantrell Nov 26th, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    Pure mechanical Sex!


  5. 5 John E Adams Nov 26th, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    A magnificent machine and long overdue lift for the antique bike market -;0) Saw them live for the first time as well this year – no words!!!

  6. 6 James @ Open Road Biker Nov 27th, 2010 at 12:04 am

    I think Jay Leno’s is a repro done by OCC. I could be mistaken though but they did do a replica for him but it may not be what you saw.

  7. 7 martin Twofeather Nov 27th, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Good job finding that one Cryil,it’s excellent……..

  8. 8 Nov 27th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Leno has a Brough Superior, a real one! Slantartist the “Highest price paid is” a real Number and registered or recorded Selling Price. These “Private Deals” are normally, not taken as REAL. Now If the Bike was not sold at Auction because it did not make the Reserve, and it sold after then that is a different story.

  9. 9 Cyril Huze Nov 27th, 2010 at 8:53 am

    James at Open Road. If I remember correctly my visit at his Garage, Jay Leno owns at least 3 genuine Brough Superior. FYI, he doesn’t really like custom motorcycles and will certainly not collect anything not genuine and evidently never a reproduction of anything.

  10. 10 Slantartist Nov 27th, 2010 at 11:22 am

    You are playing auction semantics, the cash I’ve seen change hands for bikes at more than double your “registered” or “recorded” was most certainty REAL.

  11. 11 Eric O Nov 27th, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Just saw a nice example at Buddy Stubbs museum in Phoenix. A must see if ever in town

  12. 12 Mike Tomas, Kiwi Indian MotorCycle Co Nov 27th, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    Many classic motorcycles are a safe haven and good investment. Where else can you own a bike, ride the living daylights out of it, have tons of fun, insurance is cheap and still sell it for more than you paid for it.
    Since the nuclear melt down of the US financially a couple of years ago many have moved their money into classic bikes. Its a beautiful thing that fuels a usually overlooked sector of our industry.

  13. 13 Paul d'Orleans Nov 29th, 2010 at 9:24 am

    Sorry Cyril, this isn’t the highest price paid at auction. That honor goes to a 1915 Cyclone, auctioned by MidAmerica in Monterey, CA, in July 2008. I was the commentator at the auction, and of course raised my hand at the first bid at $100,000, as I knew it was a safe bid!

    I keep track of auction prices on my website The Vintagent. Follow this link for my continually updated list of the Top 20 Motorcycle Prices at Auction:

    As an aside, you can also watch from the sidelines as another Brough Superior SS100 shoots for the moon at the Phillips de Pury Auction in New York on Dec. 15th. Reserve is rumored at $600,000: will it sell? Watch and see! This is NOT a ‘motorcycle auction’: for the first time, a motorcycle is included is a ‘Design Masters’ sale at an art auction house. Very interesting indeed.
    I’ve written two articles on this sale, as I think it says a lot about motorcycles as future collectibles:

    And some analysis:

  14. 14 bigalyts Nov 29th, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Slantartist, Name One, and then show us, as the figure needs to be part of History, don’t you think?

  15. 15 jatinder pal Nov 29th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Super nice…..

  16. 16 Paul d'Orleans Nov 29th, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    I forgot to mention the sale price for the Cyclone was $520,000. It was not even an ‘original’ bike, having a Cyclone engine, Indian frame, and Merkel forks! I think a genuine Cyclone, ie an original paint item…one of the two in existence…would go for twice that. The only Brough Superior which will go for over $1Million is TE Lawrence’s ‘death bike’; at least, this year.
    we keep track of ‘Auction’ prices as they are publicly recorded. I have personal knowledge of 7-figure deals for bikes, but as they were private sales, they don’t count, as they cannot be confirmed…even if I watched cash change hands! There are many reasons people pay cash, including (effectively) money laundering, hiding assets from the gov’t or spouses, and the desire for privacy and security.
    Don’t expect Jeff to spill secrets on the comments page of a blog!

  17. 17 Rich Dec 1st, 2010 at 8:33 am

    For anyone genuinely interested in these bikes I thought you might like some related breaking news:
    The Brough Superior name & rights were brought a long time ago by a man who’s dream was to resurrect these great bikes. Aftre his death the sons, Les & Dave Card inherited all the rights including the original production drawings and wish to keep his dream alive. They have since sold the Brough Superior name, but retained the rights to the JAP engine design which is being resurrectd as we speak!
    A first design test engine has already been run and is being used as a test bed for further developments.
    The engine is being thoroughly modernised and seven test units are being/ have been built. The first bike to use the finished engine should be on the road for testing by Easter next year. This will not be a replica, but a custom bike built by Expressive Motorcycles & Lamb Engineering in Wiltshire, UK.
    Both guys are extremely talented and well known over here (Lamb Chop, Cafe Rouge, Stealthfighter).
    The engine has been thoroughly overhauled internally & externally and has been modified to accept Harley Evo style primaries. The first seven engines will have the original style, open valve gear but designs are underway for an enclosed valve train.
    The final sale price is currently expected to be around £8k or so, not much for such a unique engine.

    Posted with the permission of Expressive Motorcycle & Lamb Engineering by Rich at Psycho Bikes Ltd.

  18. 18 marc Dec 1st, 2010 at 11:13 am
  19. 19 Wil Dec 3rd, 2010 at 6:53 am

    Is’nt it the one discovered as a rusty wreck in India some 20 years ago.
    I use a 38′ 100 for holydays an trips. Can come along in modern trafic well.

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