'Old Bill' Brough Superior sets $469,500 motorcycle auction record

The historic Brough Superior "Old Bill" has set a new world record for the most valuable classic motorcycle ever sold at auction.

Old Bill Brough Superior SS80
Old Bill achieved 51 sprint victories in the hands of George Brough

The famed bike sold for an impressive £291,200 ($469,359) at a UK auction on Tuesday (October 23), after much anticipation from the classic motorcycle collecting community. It achieved a 7.8% increase on its £270,000 high estimate.

The SS-80 was built especially for the company's founder, George Brough, in 1922, who raced it to over 50 sprint victories. It made its debut at the Brooklands race track in Surrey, where it became the first side-valve motorcycle to complete a lap at over 100mph.

Originally dubbed the Spit & Polish due to its shining exterior, it was renamed Old Bill by George Brough himself after the first world war cartoon character .

Old Bill Brough Superior SS80
George Brough rides the restored Old Bill

Brough sold the bike in the 1920s, shortly after a crash, in order to pay his workers' wages. Following damage caused by a cast iron bath falling through a ceiling during world war two, Old Bill remained in storage until the 1950s.

It was then passed to the Vintage Motorcycle Collector's Club (VMCC) founder Titch Allen, who restored it back to its original condition. Raced just a few times since, Old Bill has been on display at the Nottingham Industrial Museum since 1992.

The bike has now been purchased by an American collector, who plans to ship it back to the US.

The sale follows the auction of two Brough Superior SS-80s at Bonhams on Sunday (October 21), including Black Bess, the model owned by Titch Allen himself.

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