On September 13, the National Motorcycle Museum played host to what is believed to potentially be the biggest collection of Brough motorcycles brought together since the factory closed its doors. Seven of the Nottingham-built machines were united, which represents all bar one of those in the UK, with it reckoned there are 14 extant worldwide.
The seven collected were six fore-and-aft flat twins and a solitary single, which is a permanent resident in the museum. One of the flat-twins lives there too, while the other five were brought along to join their siblings.
As well as the complete machines, there was also another engine, plus various other bits and pieces, including several original Brough steering heads. With many redundant William Brough castings, these were used as hardcore for a works extension undertaken by George Brough in the 1930s.
In the 1980s the castings were uncovered when the yard had been sold off for redevelopment. One of these steering heads is used on Dave Clark’s machine, with the nickel tank, which heads the line-up. The engine is the original 500cc factory competition motor, timed at 84mph in 1922, and subsequently polished up and displayed in the works during the 1950s. Dave acquired it in 2012, building the rolling chassis – with genuine, exhumed steering head – over five months in 2003.
The oldest machine is the only single, from 1912, with the oldest twin the museum’s 1914 example, a HS, with William Brough’s own two-speed gear, but no clutch. A 1915 example (model HC) features a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, two 1916 examples (a G and a H, though the H is fitted with a 1918 W engine) are similarly equipped, while another G is a 1919 example.
Former employee Barry Robinson was among those present, sporting an original ‘Brough’ factory badge.