Thursday, December 31, 2009

Murray & Cook's "Flustration" Triumph Double Engine Dragbike


Cycle World 1967

This is a somewhat early version of the bike when it was still running stock triumph 650 cylinders. This drag bike was one of the fastest in the world all the way up to the early 1970's.

Here's a neat email I got last month concerning Boris and Flustration after I posted some Boris Murray quotes:

"Hello gentlemen,
A pal of mine in Melbourne Australia, sent me the article of yours regarding twin Triumph motors bikes. I met Boris Murray and Don Cook in the late '60s. I am a retired sign painter, muralist and billboard painter who traveled with a Romany kumpania for 37 years. A kumpania is a traveling Gypsy tribe by way of explanation. My pal and I are both Gypsies and former riders of bikes.
When I met Boris, I was in the town of Pomona, CA where I was born. I was returning to visit old friends and kin. It was in the local Harley Davidson shop that I met Boris. He had a friend there, the friend said I was a sign man and Boris then asked me to stop by the Murray and Cook shop to letter a drag bike. I had a small lettering kit in my Harley's saddle bag, so followed Boris to his shop. The bike in question was a twin engined stretched out machine with two Triumph engines. The gas tank was within the black painted frame. I put orange gold letters on the top tubular frame piece that said, Flustration. I couldn't charge much as it was a small job and not much area to paint on.
Later on, I believe it was Don Cook who rode it in the Pomona Drags. I can't remember now, but I think the time was something like 8:14 seconds and 164+ mph. I may be wrong here, but that seems right to me. Boris rode the bike at Bonneville Salt Flats, it could have been Muroc Dry Lake (?) and reached a top speed of, I believe, 212 mph with the open frame. I think they added a small fuel tank of sorts. The wind tore off the leather edging of Boris' helmet, ripped edging from his goggles and loosened one lens,ripped the top off his gloves and tore his jacket stitches. He only had the palms of his gloves and as the wind was up, no return run. I saw Boris afterward and asked him how he held on. He grinned and said, "Pretty damned tight!"

Have a good day, nice article too."
Baxtalo Juki, (Lucky Dogs in our tongue)


  1. I read your bit about Boris Murray at the Salt
    Flats (it definitely was Bonneville, not Muroc)and found it reminding me of my own chat with Boris after his run.
    Boris worked for a while at a Triumph shop on Route 66 between Upland and Claremont in the late sixties where a lot of motorheads gathered, myself included.
    This bike was a drag bike and fairly successful, nationally. But, being in SoCal, we got to see alot of Murray and Cook at Lions, Fontana, and other SoCal strips. Interestingly, the engines employed TR6 heads; not splayed Bonnevile heads. And it wasn't for the fit. Boris said they ran better, contrary to commonly held head wisdom of the time. The bike was simple and elegant; but the engineering worked. What amazed me was how Boris pretty much just added a little tank, changed sprockets, rear tire, and jetting and then went up to Bonnevile, unfaired, and went so fast. Pity there was no return run. He would have had a record.
    I, too, asked him what the ride was like and was told the same things but with one other descriptive tidbit: at 200 mph the air flow across his face created a vacuum under his nostrils - which pulled the snot out of his nose. At the end of his run, he told me he had acquired a light green Fu Manchu.
    Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Amphetamine speedway!
    Well, the seventies saw the Japanese-engined bikes take over the strips with their stretched out forks and wheelie bars. Top fuel dragsters were no longer slingshots as engines went to the rear. Funny cars morphed into the indistinguishable (but wicked fast) rockets they are today. It wasn't so compelling for me anymore - even though I worked at the Fontana Dragstrip as an announcer and sometimes starter (pre-Christmas tree era). But in the late sixties it was still simple, raw, and up close. Maybe I just didn't evolve. Maybe the machines being slower gave time for better human theater. Not to sure, but certainly Murray and Cook had one of the best acts on our stage.

  2. Great comment Eric. Thanks for writing it up!

  3. Jody Mayer - St. Louis

    I raced out of MOTORCYCLES UNLIMITED (OKC) in the early '70's. Single engine BSA fuel bike. Not TOP FUEL; but pretty cool & quick. What I remember about Boris Murray was that he was a consumate gentleman. I was just a "little guy" privateer; but he treated me just as respectably as he did Joe Smith, Leo Payne, Carl Ahlfeldt or any of the other Top Fuel guys. He's retired now and living in New Mexico. I have fond memories of those days; especially Boris Murray.