Classic motorbike and sidecar, a 70’s sitcom star, is up for sale


A classic motorbike and sidecar with an impressive racing record from the 30s, which went on to appear in not one but two popular seventies sitcoms, is coming up for sale.

The 1933 Brough Superior 1096cc 11-50HP and Cruiser Sidecar is coming up for auction by Bonhams at The International Classic MotorCycle Show at Stafford on April 27. The classic motorbike and sidecar is valued at £60,000-£80,000.

According to Bonhams sale notes the Brough has an “unusually rich history”: not only did it appear in two hit TV series – ‘Dad’s Army’ and ‘George & Mildred’ – it started life as a Brough Superior works entry for the 1934 International Six Days Trial (ISDT).

A 1934 model manufactured in 1933, this machine is believed to be one of the earliest 11-50s in existence.

The Brough was used by racer Freddie Stevenson to compete in the 1934 ISDT held in the Bavarian Alps. Despite leaving the road and overturning the outfit, Stevenson came away with a coveted Gold Medal, demonstrating the abilities and durability of George Brough’s rugged 11-50 machine.

The Brough changed hands several times before May 1965 when it was purchased – a snip at just £40 – by the late owner, who together with his father ran Stan Gilks Ltd, a motorcycle dealership in Ickenham, Middlesex.

Classic motorbike and sidecar loaned to TV

The Gilks dealership would regularly loan classic cars and motorcycles to television production companies, which is how the Brough came to feature in ‘Dad’s Army starring Arthur Lowe, Clive Dunn, John Le Mesurier, Ian Lavender and a host of others.

It first appeared in the much-loved comedy series in 1971, featuring in the Christmas Special, ‘Battle of the Giants’ (Episode 40) which was first broadcast on Monday, December 27.

In this famous episode Captain Mainwaring’s Walmington-on-Sea Platoon takes part in an initiative test against their old rivals, the Eastgate Platoon. The contest is umpired by Warden Hodges, the Vicar, and the Verger using Hodges’ Brough Superior 11-50.

The classic motorbike and sidecar made its second ‘Dad’s Army’ appearance the following year in Episode 52 – ‘Round and Round Went the Great Big Wheel’.

Classic motorbike and sidecar, a 70’s sitcom star, is up for sale

Classic motorbike and sidecar cruised at 70mph

The Brough later appeared in ‘George & Mildred’ (1976-1979), starring Brian Murphy and Yootha Joyce, and featured in each episode’s opening sequences.

Some years later the machine was loaned to the London Motorcycle Museum.

Launched in 1933, the 1,096cc 11-50 was the largest Brough Superior to enter series production.

It had been conceived as a long-legged, effortless tourer and was claimed by its maker to offer 85mph performance in solo form and pull a heavy sidecar at a comfortable 70mph.

Only 308 Brough Superior 11-50s were produced between 1933 and 1939. Sale notes add that the Brough is “offered in ‘as last run’ condition and will require some re-commissioning before returning to the road having been on static display at the London Motorcycle Museum for many years.

Classic motorbike and sidecar is a ‘TV icon’

“As one would expect of a machine of this age, it has been serviced and maintained over the years, including several repaints; if anything, the resulting patina only adds to this TV icon’s appeal.”

You don’t have to own a classic motorbike and sidecar as unique as the Brough Superior to hanker after a superior insurance deal – that’s when the classic bike insurance experts at Bikesure come in. Call 0330 123 1028 for an immediate quote.

To view the full Bonhams sale click here.

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