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Picture story: Brough Inferior – the mad supertourer even the engine builder said would never work

Published: 20 September 2015

Updated: 14 September 2015

Tig, bold and batty, 1938's Brough Superior 'Dream' was a 996cc, unit construction shaft-drive grand tourer with Castle forks and sprung rear designed for the most discriminating motorcyclist. Only problem was, even Harry Stevens of AJS – the firm contracted to build the engine – confessed privately ‘This bloody thing will never work!’.


The Dream's design called for two contra-rotating crankshafts but the prototype built and finished in gold for the 1938 Earls Court Motor Cycle Show, had no engine internals. No more than five Dreams were assembled by the time development was halted by the outbreak of war, when the Brough works were turned over to production of Rolls Royce engine components.


One of only two or three surviving Dreams is in the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. The museum says it found a 'rude note' inside the engine's empty cases when they were opened for restoration prior to the bike going on display!


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