Villa Erba

27 May 2017

Moto-Icons: From Café Racer to the Superbike

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Lot 117

1928 Brough Superior SS100 "Moby Dick"

  • Frame no. 993
  • Engine no. JTOR/C 20728/T

€500.000 - €700.000

Documents: Bill of Sale

Please note that this lot is sold on a Bill of Sale.

  • ‘Fastest privately owned machine in the world’, Motor Cycling, 1931
  • 1,140-cc engine specially tuned by George Brough and JAP

Nicknamed “Moby Dick” by Motor Cycling magazine tester Dennis May, this SS100 is the original Speed Custom motorcycle. Purchased as a standard Brough Superior SS100 with special oversize cylinders from J.A. Prestwich (JAP) by Charles Hobb, the additional 13 horsepower proved to be not enough for the speed demon. Additional modifications, including an increase in compression ratio, higher-lift cams, lightened valves, and twin Amal carburettors, increased power output to over 65 horsepower – an increase of 21 horsepower over the standard engine. Moby Dick clocked in at 115 mph in top gear, though at that point it was the road that was running out, not the bike.

Sold in 1936 to the Bilbé brothers, who had immense success racing with the SS100, Moby Dick was traded again in 1940 and was subsequently kept hidden away during the war years. Resurfacing in North London, the Brough Superior was purchased by Tom Eccles, who owned the historic motorcycle for the next three decades. Restored in 1997 under the ownership of Roger Bilbé, son of one of the Bilbé brothers, Moby Dick was returned to its current condition. Since restoration, it has remained in the care of enthusiasts. Easily the crown jewel of any collection, a more unique and historic road bike would be hard to find.

• 'La moto privata più veloce al mondo', Motor Cycling, 1931
• Motore da 1140 cc appositamente preparato da George Brough e da JAP

Soprannominata "Moby Dick" dal tester della rivista di motocicletta Dennis May, questa SS100 è la Speed Custom originale. Acquistata come normale Brough Superior SS100 con speciali cilindri maggiorati dalla J.A. Prestwich (JAP) di Charles Hobb, i 13 cavalli aggiuntivi non si sono dimostrati sufficienti per soddisfare il suo demone della velocità. Ulteriori modifiche, tra cui un aumento del rapporto di compressione, camme più verticali, valvole alleggerite e doppi carburatori Amal, hanno portato la potenza ad oltre 65 cavalli – con un aumento di 21 cavalli rispetto al motore standard. Moby Dick è così arrivata a toccare la velocità di velocità di 185 km/h, ma a quel punto la strada stava finendo, mentre la moto ne aveva ancora.

Venduta nel 1936 ai fratelli Bilbé, che hanno avuto un immenso successo in corsa con la SS100, Moby Dick è passata nuovamente di mano nel 1940 per essere poi tenuta nascosta durante gli anni della guerra. Ricomparsa nel nord di Londra, la Brough Superior è stata acquistata da Tom Eccles, che la terrà per i successivi tre decenni. Restaurata nel 1997, quando di proprietà di Roger Bilbé, figlio di uno dei fratelli Bilbé, Moby Dick è stata riportata al suo splendore attuale. Dal restauro, è rimasta sempre in mano, e curata, da degli appassionati. Sarà difficile trovare facilmente un gioiello della corona più importante di questo in qualsiasi collezione, una moto da corsa unica e storica.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more