Classic Van Auction Talk

Wednesday 11 July 2018

1935 Brough Superior 4.2-Litre 'Dual Purpose' Drophead Coupé - BONHAMS AUCTIONS Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale Goodwood Race Circuit Chichester West Sussex, PO18 0PX Friday 13th July 2018


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Goodwood Festival of Speed Sale
Goodwood Race Circuit Chichester
 West Sussex, PO18 0PX
Friday 13th July 2018

1935 Brough Superior 4.2-Litre 'Dual Purpose' Drophead Coupé

Coachwork by W C Atcherley

Registration no. WH 7238
Chassis no. 44601/CWC/1
* Owned and driven by George Brough for over 30 years

* Bought directly from his widow

* Present ownership since 1972
* Offered from long-term storage

  • It was surely inevitable that a company whose products had earned the well-deserved sobriquet 'The Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles' would eventually turn to the manufacture of motor cars. George Brough's motorcycles were assembled from the finest available proprietary components, and he adopted the same approach to motor manufacturing, using the Hudson Terraplane chassis – also favoured by Railton – in both 4.2-litre eight-cylinder and 3½-litre six-cylinder forms. Birmingham-based coachbuilder W C Atcherley had bodied Brough's first Meadows-engined prototype of 1933 and was duly commissioned to provide the bodies for his latest venture.

    Introduced in 1935, the production soft-top model featured Atcherley's patented 'dual purpose' coachwork in which the convertible hood folded down into the body rather than projecting rearwards as was usually the case. The result was one of the most beautiful and well-proportioned cars of its day. George Brough came up with the design for the radiator grille, which had been inspired by the shape of his motorcycles' fuel tank, while inside the car was a new dashboard equipped with British-made instruments and switches. There was further 'Anglicisation' in the form of Lucas lighting, Luvax shock absorbers, and a Smiths Jackall hydraulic jacking system, while the electrics were upgraded from 6 to 12 volts. 

    Threatened with legal action by Railton's aggrieved founder, Noel Macklin, Hudson was soon forced to stop supplying the eight-cylinder chassis to Brough, leaving George with a six-cylinder range only. When production ceased in 1939, an estimated 25 eight-cylinder and 50 six-cylinder Brough Superiors had been made, making them among the rarest of fine quality British sporting cars of the 1930s. 

    'WH 7238' is one of the first series of 25 eight-cylinder cars made in 1935 and was first registered on 7th February 1936 in Bolton, Lancashire. Correspondence and a photograph on file reveal that the car was first owned by one William Smithie, a friend of George Brough's. The history file also contains an original letter from Mrs E C Brough, numerous MoT certificates, an original 'Brough Superior' logbook sleeve, old-style V5/V5C documents, and an old-style continuation logbook in George Brough's name (issued 1948).

    Accepted in part exchange for a new six-cylinder Brough in 1940, by which time it had covered around 78,000 miles, 'WH 7238' served thereafter as George Brough's personal transport - being nicknamed 'Old Faithful' on account of its faultless reliability - and was still in his ownership at the time of his death in November 1970. In 1972, the Brough was purchased by the current vendor - already the owner of a six-cylinder Brough - from George's widow, Connie Brough, at the Broughs' Nottingham home, 'Pendine', having been advertised in The Sunday Times. 

    During the war, the rear seats had been removed and George used the car to deliver Rolls-Royce Merlin engine crankshafts (five at a time) which had been manufactured at the Brough works. It was said that he would drive through the night on full headlights, a rare dispensation at a time of total blackout. On one occasion, George collided with some level crossing gates. As might be imagined, this accident had an adverse effect on the rear suspension and the body frame, so in its new ownership, the car was dismantled by Ian Johns, owner of another eight-cylinder Brough. It was then re-framed, repainted, fitted with new suspension, and had its engine rebuilt having covered in excess of 360,000 miles. The car's distinctive foot-plates were fitted at this time. Since then, 'WH 7238' has been used extensively, attending several European rallies, and in 1983 was taken to the FIVA World Rally in the USA, which it won. 

    The car is offered for sale from long-term storage, and it is expected that it will have been got running by the time of sale. Nevertheless, further, re-commissioning will almost certainly be required before it returns to the road. Accompanying documentation consist of a green continuation logbook, numerous expired MoTs, and old-style V5/V5C Registration Certificates. 

    A truly remarkable motor car with impeccable provenance, 'WH 7238' represents a wonderful opportunity to own an example of this ultra-rare and highly desirable 'Post-Vintage Thoroughbred', possessing the unique cachet of having been owned and driven by its maker.



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