Monday, August 31, 2009


The New Breed, The Show-Bikes. Just in! Another neato article on the early custom bike scene from 1961. My own fascination with customized vintage Triumphs started with a large collection of automotive magazines dating from the '50s & '60s that my uncle gave me when I was a teenager. I had built my share of plastic hot rod models and fighter airplane kits when I was a kid in the 1970's and had drooled endlessly over the 1960's ads in older magazines for Ed Roth Monster gear and all things linked to the Red Baron and Maltese crosses, but the articles that caught my interest the most as a young man were these infiltrators into the car scene. Titles from Peterson Publishing such as Hot Rod, Car Craft, Rod & Custom and other smaller car magazines had hidden treasures inside of these wild bikes built for shows and drags. Most of the bikes were Triumph's, so popular with the American Gearhead due to their versatility, beauty & high performance. After living in Santa Cruz and Frisco in my early twenties and seeing the occasional Triumph street bike the obsession started and a couple project bikes were bought. The task of learning the skill of Brit Bike wrench turning and tuning was taken on with lots of help from my Dad who ran his own automotive machine shop at the time. The life long interest and learning process had begun. The hunt for rare parts, old speed equipment and printed information is a ongoing effort and I still get excited when I get a new to me, 48 year old magazine that I had to pay 10 bucks for even though the cover is taped on and the edges are stained from being in some damp basement for decades. What does it, is that elusive article with some bikes you've seen before and some you have not, bits and pieces of forgotten information that help you put a few more pieces into the puzzle. The musty old magazine smell making the experience that much better. I have been lucky to hold parts in my hands that were used on some of these old magazine bikes and meet and talk to some of the guys that built them. This blog thing has become my outlet for sharing this collection of stacks and stacks of slowly decaying printed paper. Besides the effort to find more bikes and parts, my hope is that this website will educate potential owners of some of the period builds and hopefully help foster an appreciation for what has survived and to inspire traditional custom builds that are PERIOD CORRECT.

1961 Car Craft

Saturday, August 29, 2009

William E. "Bill" Johnson 1905-1962

Leader of the Triumph camp at Bonneville in 1951.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Bonneville Speed Week 1962

For 1962 Rich Richards apparently retired his old pre-unit 500cc land speed bike Lil' Pam in favor of a new unit construction T100S/S. This model was not mentioned in either of the magazine articles I posted. I believe it was the hot street 5oo with low pipes. The rigid rear hardtail frame looks to be a one off fabrication and its narrow lines go real nice with the Triumph Cub gas tank. It also features a home brewed alloy oil tank and big ole GP carbs with a Tach drive timing cover. With the tall brakeless front wheel it looks to be the father of current Triumph bobber style. His son Gary now doing the riding.

Burt Monroe getting on it and holding the purse as shown in the movie "The Worlds Fastest Indian". The Richards Triumph 650, which was probably Pam Too, makes some impressive runs but doesn't crack the record barrier this year. Almost 160 MPH for a unstreamlined factory rigid frame pre-unit is pretty insane though. The overhead cam Triumph pre-unit alloy 500 is really wild and at 131 MPH not too shabby of a performer.

Joe Dudek and California crew take the ultimate speed record from Texans Stormy Mangham and Jack Wilson. There were other streamliners at Bonneville this year, including a Harley, but they couldn't catch Dudeck's new worlds fastest.

The Cycle article and pictures not as good as the Motorcyclist story, but they did put the liner on the cover.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Hi-Mountain Enduro

This Motorcyclist magazine story from 1962 is not only good for the pics of the Triumph Desert Sleds, but the ominous words pertaining to the loss of our freedoms and the beginning of the fight with the Man in green.

Eddie Mulder

A couple magazine clips of Eddie Mulder dominating the dirt and sand on duplex frame, pre-unit Triumphs from 1962. Check the videos below. Forty five odd years later he's the champion of the vintage class in the Pikes Peak race, riding a old Triumph Twin. WTF? What a bad ass.

Mean Hillclimb Machine

Neat little story from 1962. Looks like the same springer and dampner that Stretch is using on his custom pre-unit Triumph.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Cadet Drag Slick Tires

Just found this original Cadet ad listing the sizes of drag slicks available. As far as I know the Cadet and Inglewood retreaded slicks were the only motorcycle drag racing tires available before Avon came out with their purpose built slick around 1963.

I'm pretty sure this is a Cadet in the 5.00 X 16 size as used on Sonny Routt's original dual engine Triumph dragbike. Large post on this bike coming soon.

Triumph Pre-unit Drag Bike Clips from '62

I like the seat/fender combo on this one. Nice looking bike.

The frame design on this one looks ahead of its time for 1962.
Forks look to be a modified early springer.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Rigid Frame Street Racer circa 1962

Big open exhaust pipes with no lights and a license plate mounted so that it can't be seen from behind.

Mason Motors

A modern motorcycle dealer from Pasadena. Duplex frame custom in the showroom and another one of the JoMo style, Chevy shop trucks. Was that bed style an option from Chevy or a custom build???

Webco Ads From 1962

I have stock type 7/8" throttles to trade for 15/16" and 1" throttles.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sept. 19th Motorcycle Run

We're going, but I still have to hone the cylinders to fit new pistons on my chopper, put the whole top end back together, put the magneto on and time the bike again, I wanted to take the clutch off and try and fix a really bad gearbox leak... crap I got to get away from the computer and get my ass in the garage.

Friday, August 21, 2009

1962 Triumph T120 Bonneville Road Test

From the very first issue of Cycle World Magazine we have this Bonneville road test and the Triumph models for 1962 posted below. This issue is a fun read cover to cover and a great start for a magazine that survives today as thee best magazine covering the entire sport of motorcycling like no other title. Cycle World continues to reflect on the past while delivering the goods on what's happening today, and I dig that. This is a good follow up motorcycle test to the 1960 T120 test posted previously by Motorcyclist Magazine. Apparently the mid intersection "conk out" was cured and performance was impressive as usual for a high performance model Triumph from this period.

Here's another interesting article from this issue:
Is it worth painting your entire engine black for .5 HP? I don't know but it was worth posting for the title alone.