Understood to be the first eight-cylinder chassis completed and the third one registered, this wonderful Brough Superior 4.2-Litre Drophead Coupé has been in its current family ownership since 1960. It has had just four owners from new.
The first was Major Michael Wills of W.D and H.O Wills Tobacco, known for the square yellow tins their cigarettes came in.
This Brough Superior Dual-Purpose was manufactured in 1935 and fitted with the potent 4.2 litre Hudson eight-cylinder side-valve engine, of which only 25 examples were built, mated to a three-speed manual transmission.
A performance match for a contemporary Alvis, Bentley or Lagonda, the Brough was used by Wills until the 4th February 1937 when it was involved in an accident. It was subsequently purchased by Wing Commander Sykes of Buckinghamshire who had the coachwork re-worked before using the car until 1943.
It is said that while on RAF leave the commander removed the eight-cylinder engine (placing it into storage) with a smaller, more fuel efficient 16.9hp six-cylinder engine. The car was laid up for approximately ten years prior to purchase by the vendor’s father in 1960. A comprehensive restoration started in February 1961 with the body and 16.9HP engine removed and chassis restored. The original engine was subjected to a full refurbishment, the bodywork restored and repainted, and a new hood produced, returning the Brough to the road.
Retained in the same family ownership from 1960 until being offered for sale through H&H by the vendor now, ‘BYN 486’ was fitted with a new starter motor in April 2020 and is due to be driven some sixty miles to the sale. It is offered with a current V5C, copy of the ‘Ninety in Silence’ sales brochure and some assorted paperwork.
After earning the well-deserved sobriquet 'The Rolls-Royce of Motorcycles', it was possibly inevitable that George Brough’s attentions would eventually look to the manufacture of motor cars as well. George Brough's motorcycles were assembled from the finest available components, and the same approach was adopted to motor manufacturing, using the Hudson Terraplane chassis (also favoured by Railton) with 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. Resulting in one of the most beautiful and well-proportioned cars of its day.
George Brough came up with the design for the radiator grille, with inspiration originating from the shape of his motorcycles fuel tanks. A new dashboard equipped with British-made instruments and switches featured inside, with 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.