Wednesday, August 12, 2009

This Is What It's All About

I had two great emails to read this morning. One was from David Edwards about the Von Dutch Triumph. I'm loving the direction that he is taking with the restoration and part three of the story is up now. And then this classic tale:

I was out of town in Massachusetts on vacation last week and was checking out the local classifieds for the area. I came across an ad that read "1948 Triumph with 1956 Bonneville motor... Fonzie bike." Naturally I intrigued and I gave the owner a call and left a message inquiring about the bike. I didn't hear back after a day but kept calling and finally talked to the owner and made arrangements to come see the bike. I had low expectations since there was no Bonneville in 1956 and most of cool old bikes in this area are long gone. By time I had made plans to see the bike I was already home and had to make a 2.5 hour drive to Connecticut. I arrived at the seller's house and the bike was sitting on the lawn. I couldn't believe what I saw as I really didn't believe bikes like this still existed in this area. It is an early model chrome, rigid frame with a 1959 T120 motor with the correct 8 bolt head. It has plenty of period goodies: starburst inspection
cap, sprung hub, fork covers, bates seat, zirwes side stand, bates bars, end fed webco oil manifold, spare tire ring fender. Needless to say I immediately bought it. The guy selling it was friends with the previous owner who owned it from the early '70s until 8 years ago. I got a chance to talk to him on the phone and he explained that the bike had the t120 motor in it when he got it... but nothing else useful.

I had to make a second trip to pick it up but it is now safe in my garage. The plan is to keep it late 50's early 60's correct so: rebuild motor and trans, relace the wheels to 21" front and 19" rear, renew the chrome and paint and then ride the hell out of it.

Pics are here:

Thanks for putting out a great blog and making those great ads and articles available!


It gets even better Bill. That's a racing oil tank on the bike as supplied in the Triumph Speed Kits. The tank alone is worth $600 to $800. Bates, Webco and Zirwes? Oh yes. And like the Von Dutch Triumph this is another perfect plan by the new owner. Even though I'm lacing a Triumph rear hub now to a 16" rim, I know they only look right on certain types of Triumph's, and a factory rigid frame isn't one of them. A 19" rim on the back will look much better and the rest of it is pure gold. The moral of this story? They're still out there!


  1. Hi, great blog. Just wondered how you can tell the difference between a standard pre unit oil tank and the racing version. Cheers, Mat.

  2. Mat - There are a few easy ways to identify the racing oil tank. The spin on cap with its wing nut type spinner and on the backside there is a pop out that goes behind the frame tube to hold more oil. The tank is also a bit taller than your standard oil bag.