Vintage Superbikes at Bonhams 2008 Stafford Sale

AuctionPublicity.com – Bonhams is delighted to announce the early consignment to its first major collectors’ motorcycle sale of 2008 of two of the Vintage era’s most highly regarded and sought after ‘superbikes’“ Brough Superior SS100 and Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 “ to be sold at The Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford on 27th April 2008.

1934 Brough Superior 8/75hp ‘Two-of-Everything’

Legendary superbike of motorcycling’s between-the-wars ‘Golden Age’, Brough Superior “ ‘The Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles’ – was synonymous with high performance, engineering excellence and quality of finish. Always the perfectionist, Brough bought only the best available components for his bikes, reasoning that if the product was right, a lofty price tag would be no handicap. And in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ there were sufficient wealthy connoisseurs around to prove him right. One such was T E Lawrence “ ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ – who owned several Broughs and was killed riding an SS100.

First shown to the public in 1924, the SS100 employed an entirely new 980cc JAP v-twin engine. And just in case prospective customers had any doubts about its performance, each machine came with a written guarantee that it had been timed at over 100mph for a quarter of a mile – a staggering achievement at a time when very few road vehicles of any sort were capable of reaching three-figure speeds. Broughs set countless speed records in the 1920s and 1930s, and the outright motorcycle lap record at Brooklands was set on one. A measure of the Brough Superior’s exclusivity may be gained from the fact that in 20 years only some 2,800 machines were produced, a figure BSA could better in a single month. Of those, around 280 were JAP-engined SS100s.

Representing the JAP-engined SS100 in its ultimate form, the 8/75hp ‘two of everything’ (carburettors, magnetos, oil pumps) example to be sold is one of only six made to this specification in 1934 and retains its original frame, engine and registration mark. The machine formed part of the Murray Motorcycle Museum Collection in the Isle of Man from 1973 to 2005, when it was acquired by the current owner, and is offered fresh from a mechanical and cosmetic restoration only completed in 2007.

Estimate £120,000 – 140,000

1928 Coventry-Eagle 1,000cc ohv Flying-8

Established in Victorian times as a bicycle manufacturer, Coventry-Eagle built a diverse range of motorcycles, the most famous of which was the Flying-8. With its 1.0-litre JAP v-twin engine and muscular good looks, the Flying-8 was a worthy rival for the Brough Superior and a formidable Brooklands racing machine. Introduced in 1923, the Flying-8 was not Coventry-Eagle’s first v-twin, but it was the first to establish a sporting reputation thanks to its special 976cc sidevalve engine that guaranteed a top speed of 80mph, an exceptional performance at the time. In 1926 the sidevalve version was joined by a new overhead-valve engined Flying-8. Within a few years however, the onset of the Depression had forced Coventry-Eagle to change tack, the firm concentrating on bread-and-butter lightweights until it ceased motorcycle production in 1939. The last ohv Flying-8 left the factory in 1930 and the final sidevalve model the following year.

One of only a relative handful of overhead-valve-engined Flying-8s known to survive, this 1928 example has been in the vendor’s family’s possession since December 1982, having previously belonged to VMCC Coventry-Eagle marque specialist, Ken Hodgson and to motorcycling journalist/publisher, Bruce Main-Smith. Highly original and presented in ‘oily rag’ condition, the machine has not been used since undergoing mild mechanical re-commissioning in the early 1990s and is offered for sale for the first time in 25 years.

Estimate £50,000 – 60,000

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