Superior price for 'Old Bill'

‘Old Bill’ commanded a huge price

Old Bill was certainly one such model with an extra dollop of speciality. Built in 1923 for George Brough himself, the company founder used the bike to win an incredible number of races – 51 in succession.

Initially nicknamed Spit and Polish thanks to its immaculate appearance, the Brough acquired its secondary name of Old Bill after a popular cartoon character during the First World War.

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Once its original race career was over, Old Bill was sold to help support the factory. Eventually the bike ended up in the collection of VMCC founder C E Titch Allen, and once restored with the help of George Brough, began another, classic, race career.

For the past 25 years the bike, based on an SS80, has been an exhibit in a Nottingham museum and came under the hammer at H and H Classic Auctions sale at the Imperial War Museum Duxford on October 23. The hammer dropped at £260,000 – with 12% commission and VAT on that – to a telephone bidder.

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