Brough deal as rare bike is set to sell for £300k
We all know collectors will do anything to get their hands on the one piece to make their collection stand out, but if they're looking for a 1928 Brough Superior SS100 they'll have to pay big money. Especially for this particular model, dubbed Moby Dick, as it has quite a history.
On October 16th, the rare bike is going to be auctioned at Bonhams in Stafford and is expected to go for a record breaking £300,000. The bike comes with its original handles and brakes, too.
To put that into perspective, the lucky winner would be able to spec a Ferrari 458 Spider and have change left over for an Aston Martin Cygnet, or buy Moby Dick.
In its day, Moby Dick was the fastest thing on the road thanks to its 125mph top speed – which might be a worry with 70-year-old brakes.
You see, Moby itself is based on the Brough SS100 which came with a guaranteed top speed of 100mph - quite an achievement in 1928, when few vehicles could reach three figures.
However, Moby's first owner, Charles Hobbs, decided the SS100 wasn't fast enough so ordered a range of modifications to be made. The engine was expanded to 1,142cc thanks to oversized cylinder heads which initially gave it 57bhp.
This was upped to over 65bhp later on, thanks to further tuning.
Hobbs sold the bike in 1936 following an accident. It was bought by Ken and Ralph Bilbé. The brothers throughly enjoyed the bike, exploiting its top speed both on track and on the road. In 1937, before one of Moby's many runs at Brooklands it was tested on the A30 between Stockbridge and Salisbury over a measured mile. It hit 126mph - serious speed for anything on wheels at the time.
Ralph Bilbé earned 32 speeding tickets in his lifetime, 23 were because of Moby Dick.
In 1940 Moby was sold for something more practical, and apart from the new owner (Alfred James Cain) very little is known about what it got up to over the war years.
A new owner was found in September 1945 - Tom Eccles. He fitted it with a large capacity fuel tank and added a four-speed Norton gearbox, raplacing the Brough three-speed unit.
The bike changed hand a few more times until 1980 when Roger Bilbé (Ralph's son) bought it having tracked it down. Since he's owned it the oversize fuel tank has been replaced with an original 1928 Brough unit and the engine has undergone a few changes.
Should Moby Dick take your fancy you'll not only get the bike itself, but also some original photos (on CD), copies of magazine articles, the larger fuel tank, manual and a 100-page history of Moby Dick compiled by Roger Bilbé. Not bad for something that'll cost the same as a house.
A fun Brough fact for you: Lawrence of Arabia owned six of them. He died in 1935 after crashing on one...
Last year a 1928 Brough set the current auction record of £286,000.