Sunday, December 10, 2006


This is the grandaddy Sartorialist sportsman of all motorcycling, George Brough, on his own creation, the famous Brough-Superior 'Spit and Polish', so called because of the always-immaculate finish he kept. This used a highly modified JAP engine (see post below), 980cc sidevalve, with the internals lightened to nearly nothing. He was famous not only as a manufacturer of fine motorcycles, but as a competition rider second to none in his day. He only retired from racing competition when his sprinter 'Old Bill' crossed the finish line ahead of its rider, and George spent 8 months in the hospital receiving skin grafts! Pre-penicillin.
What is George wearing? The classic collegiate racer getup of the day, in what I think is an Oxford sweater, with shirt and tie (with tiebar) of course, wool jodhpurs, and proper calf-high boots, which were rare at the time for racers. Gloves too were rare apparently, but George sports some lightweight leather items with what looks like the fingertips cut off. As all the controls on the motorcycle were levers (no twistgrip throttles until the 30's), fingertip control might have been important to George. He certainly wouldn't have been caught dead with worn-out gloves. He's also wearing a fur-lined aviator's 'helmet', which would have done nothing but keep his head warm. Useful helmets, made of layered fabric held together with varnish ('dope'), and lined with cork and leather, had begun to appear by this date, so George has made a choice of headgear.
I'll post more pix of George in the future, as his outfits are always inspiring.