Into the spotlight – The Brough Superior Motorcar

It is an unfortunate aspect of history that certain siblings are relegated to the shadows of their much brighter offspring, no matter how brightly they shine. The Brough Superior automobile is one such example of this, having no chance against the solar beacon that was the Brough Superior motorcycles it shared it’s nameplate with. Nonetheless, with relativity put aside, it’s time to take a closer look at the lesser known member of the Brough Superior vehicle range.


Over a short period between 1935 and 1938, the Brough Superior Motorworks produced approximately 85 motorcars. Rolling chassis were brought to England from the Hudson factory in America, and delivered to the Atcherley bodyworks in Birmingham. Here they were fitted with coachwork of George Brough design, the majority of the bodies being of the Dual-purpose (drophead) design.


The first series of the Brough motorcar, for model year 1935-36, were fitted with a 4.1 litre ‘straight eight’ cylinder powerplant. Good for 114 brake horsepower, the motor could motivate the Superior car up to 90 miles per hour. The Brough Superior cars featured design cues borrowed from the motorcycle range, including the fitment of a reserve fuel tank. At the end of 1936 the Hudson Motor company dropped the ‘straight eight’ option, so the rolling chassis were instead fitted with a 107BHP 3.5 litre engine. It was at this time a forced induction engine was produced, with a power output of 140BHP thanks to a Centric unit.  The 3.5 litre chassis sat 4 inches short of the 4 litre chassis, so the beautiful lines drawn by George Brough were not lost in the transition.


The final hurrah for the Brough Superior motorcar was the XII, a single motorcar produced in 1938 using outsourced componentry fitted to a Brough designed chassis. A Lincoln-Zephyr V12 put the power to Ford sourced axles, the vehicle being pulled up by Girling Brakes. With only one example being produced, the mammoth machine had an overall length of 5.6 metres, and a girth of 1.8 metres. With the quality of the motorcars being as high as that of the motorcycles, it was the stellar reputation of the two wheeled Brough variants that pushed the car out of the limelight. With Brough motorcycle prices reaching astronomical figures, it might be time to consider moving to four wheels in order to be able to own something with a Brough Superior nameplate.


Today’s feature car comes courtesy of an avid Brough collector, who isn’t scared to take the drophead coupe out for a spirited run.  With reports of an amazing torque range, the big coupe’s top gear is able to be engaged at 20kph and wound all the way out to the car’s top speed of 150kph. This performance comes at a cost, with the Brough machine being described as ‘thirsty’. This has not stopped the car from travelling as far afield as Belgium, as well as rallies in Yorkshire and Devon. A testament to the owner’s devotion to the Brough marque, the car shares garage space with two Brough Superior motorcycles.

Many thanks to you my friend, you know who you are. 

One thought on “Into the spotlight – The Brough Superior Motorcar

  1. Lovely pictures of a fabulous car. My mother was born an Atcherley and we share a common ancestor with William Clive Atcherley, back in the early 1800s. I am researching the family and writing stories about their lives on my Atcherley family history website. At some point I will of course write about the Atcherley coachbuilding business – and I would love to be able to illustrate it with one or more of the photos in your article. Would that be possible?

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