The ex-John Griffith,1945 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin
Lot 408
The ex-John Griffith,1945 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin
Sold for £3,105 (US$ 4,873) inc. premium

Lot Details
The ex-John Griffith
1945 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin
Registration no. CNV 545
Frame no. TF4172
Engine no. 45 5T 72084
This historic Speed Twin is one of a handful of machines produced by Triumph late in 1945 as the Meriden factory was struggling to return to peacetime production. Despatched new to P C Spokes & Sons, of Northampton on 17th September 1945, it was bought new later that same year by the late John Griffith, historian, author, curator of the Stanford Hall Motorcycle Museum and one-time President of the VMCC. It has featured in numerous books and periodicals over the years, including Classic Motorcycles by Vic Willoughby and On Two Wheels (Volume 7).

An accompanying letter (dated 29th January 1988) to the vendor from the late Bob Currie, at that time editor of The Classic MotorCycle, confirms that he (Currie) knew of the machine and its origins. Currie’s letter continues: ‘As the engine number implies, it is of 1945 manufacture and has a double claim for the retention of its original registration number ‘CNV 545’ - on the score of rarity and on the score of its significance in British motor cycle history.

‘As Ivor Davies, former publicity manager of the Triumph company, has told you, very few Triumphs were built in 1945 as the works were struggling to return to civilian production after having been given over to military work for the previous six years. For this reason the frame (number TF4172) is actually a 1939 pattern and the machine was finished in black instead of the intended Amaranth Red because supplies of red paint had yet to be delivered from the paint makers.

‘The history of the machine was investigated by the late John Griffith when it was in his possession, and as is confirmed by the records of the Vintage MCC, no other 1945 Triumph is known to exist. Its historic significance is that it marked the return to the civilian market of one of the most world-famous of all British factories.’

‘CNV 545’ was purchased from John Griffith’s son, Stephen, in 1988 by the vendor and since then has been kept as part of his private collection. We are advised that no work has been carried out on the machine in the past 18 years and that it will, therefor, require re-commissioning before returning to the road. Unique and of immense historical significance, this wonderfully original Triumph Speed Twin is offered with assorted correspondence, press clippings, original logbook and Swansea V5 registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note lots 408 and 409 have been transposed in the catalogue. Lot 408, the 1945 Triumph, will be offered before lot 409, the 1936 Ariel.
Auction information

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