by Hugues Jeanneaud
TOULOUSE, FRANCE – Brough bikes, favourites of the author, spy and gentleman adventurer TE Lawrence, are making a comeback – not of their former dwelling in England, however deep within the southwest of France.
Production of Brough bikes, of which the historic determine often called “Lawrence of Arabia” owned seven, led to 1940 when the manufacturing facility in Nottingham was requisitioned for Britain’s conflict effort.
Manufacture did not resume after the conflict, however the bike’s reminiscence was saved alive over the a long time by diehard – and flush — followers, with costs for the bikes generally reaching $600 000 (R8.9m) at public sale.
In the meantime the bike world launched into a nostalgic love affair with famed previous British manufacturers, with Royal Enfield, now Indian-owned, and Triumph main the neo-vintage method.
‘The most stunning’
Brough followers needed to wait for much longer for a revival, which started to take form solely in 2013 when Frenchman Thierry Henriette, a former Toulouse bike salesman, met with Briton Mark Upham, who had purchased the Brough Superior trademark 5 years earlier.
Within three months Henriette got here up with a prototype for a new Brough that gained cheers when he offered it on the Milan bike present.
Henriette began manufacturing, first below licence, earlier than taking up the brand in 2018.
“I always thought Brough was the most beautiful motorbike brand,” Henriette advised AFP.
Production relies close to Toulouse in southwest France, however Henriette wished continuity with the brand’s English custom.
It was an vital second when members of the Brough Superior Club made the journey to France on their Nineteen Thirties bikes to present the enterprise their blessing.
‘The English will forgive you’
“What we’re doing is heritage theft,” acknowledged Albert Castaigne, Brough Superior’s CEO. “But if you do it well, the English will forgive you.”
The reminiscence of TE Lawrence, bike lover, supporter of an Arab rise up throughout World War I and writer of the “Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, is a huge issue for the longevity of the Brough legend.
Lawrence saved a common correspondence with Brough’s founder George Brough, acquired a say within the bikes’ design, and purchased seven, 4 of which had been SS 100s, the mannequin that also will get the hearts of aficionados racing.
He died within the Dorset countryside when he crashed his sixth Brough earlier than he might take supply of the seventh, a scene memorably captured in David Lean’s 1962 epic movie starring Peter O’Toole as Lawrence.
The ultra-modern manufacturing facility in Saint-Jean will ship round 100 Brough bikes this year, at a price ticket of 60 000 to 100 000 euros (R1.07m to R1.79m), with customisation costing additional.
Brough affords three neo-retro fashions: a modern model of Lawrence’s SS 100, a scrambler and an art-deco effort to mark the brand’s centenary.
“We have customers in a dozen countries in Europe, in Russia, Australia, Mexico and soon in the United States,” Henriette stated.
‘Worth the money’
One of them is Patrick Blandinet, a businessman in his 60s based mostly within the French Caribbean division of Guadeloupe, who came visiting to see the manufacturing facility, customise his bike and “indulge myself”, he stated.
“I asked for a gold-leafed logo on the tank,” stated Blandinet, calling his brand-new bike “a gem” and “worth the money”.
The availability of certified sub-contractors within the Toulouse area, because of the Airbus manufacturing there, is “indispensable” for Brough, which requires high-value supplies together with titanium, carbon fibre and speciality metal, Castaigne stated.
“You should be able to place every component of the bike on a table and consider them to be both technically accomplished and beautiful,” Henriette stated.
Brough has additionally began a collaboration with Aston Martin of James Bond fame, whose first bike, referred to as the AMB01, can be made by Brough.
Ten items of the futuristic-looking Aston Martin bikes are already on the meeting stage.