Motorcycles
Letters of T. E. Lawrence to George Brough

TO GEORGE BROUGH

27.9.26 Cranwell

Dear Mr. Brough, 

     I'm very much in your debt for four years solid pleasure.  Would the enclosed be any use to you? I don't want to sign it Ross, since that only makes the newspapers sit up & take notice: whereas they have already made beasts of themselves over the 'Lawrence' name, & can keep it, so far as I'm concerned.

     I don't mind your showing it to people ( or sticking it up on your stand, if that is a practice at Olympia) but I'd rather you did not print it in a newspaper till after December 15, when I'll have gone abroad.  This is supposing it's of use, as a chit.  What I really meant it for is best thanks, for a hundred thousand very jolly miles.

Yours everJ. H. Ross


The letter above, number 288,  is quoted from Letters of T. E. Lawrence, which notes:
"Lawrence no doubt signed as Ross so as to prevent any chance of the name T. E. Shaw appearing in the testimonial.  But he continued to use the name Ross occasionally long after he had changed to Shaw by deed poll."

The following was enclosed with the letter above:

TO GEORGE BROUGH

27.9.26

Dear Mr. Brough, 

     Yesterday I completed 100000 miles, since 1922, on five successive Brough Superiors, and I'm going abroad very soon, so that I think I must make an end, and thank you for the road-pleasure I have got out of them.  In 1922, I found George I (your old Mark I) the best thing I'd ridden, but George V (the 1922 SS100) is incomparably better.  In 1925 and 1926 (George IV & V) I have not had an involuntary stop, & so have not been able to test your spares service, on which I drew so heavily in 1922 and 1923. Your present machines are as fast and reliable as express trains, and the greatest fun in the world to drive: - and I say this after twenty years experience of cycles and cars.
     They are very expensive to buy, but light in upkeep (50-65 m.p.g. of petrol, 4000 m.p.g. oil, 5000-6000 miles per outer cover, in my case) and in the four years I have made only one insurance claim (for less than £5) which is a testimony to the safety of your controls & designs. The S.S.100 holds the road extraordinarily. It's my great game on a really pot-holed road to open up to 70 m.p.h. or so and feel the machine gallop: and though only a touring machine it will do 90 m.p.h at full throttle.
     I'm not a speed merchant, but ride fairly far in the day (occasionally 700 miles, often 500) and at a fair average, for the machine's speed in the open lets one crawl through the towns, & still average 40-42 miles in the hour. The riding position & the slow powerful turn-over of the engine at speeds of 50 odd give one a very restful feeling.
     There, it is no good telling you all you knew before I did: they are the jolliest things on wheels. Yours very sincerelyT E LAWRENCE

TEL & George Brough
T. E. Lawrence and George Brough October 1930
Photographer unknown.
Bodleian Library (MS. Res.c.54)

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