1952 Triumph Thunderbird,
Lot 626
c.1951 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird
Sold for £1,782 (US$ 3,008) inc. premium
Lot Details
c.1951 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird
Registration no. MUV 969
Frame no. 15462
Engine no. 6T 014317
Always a step ahead of their rivals, Triumph followed up the trend-setting Speed Twin 500 of pre-war days by being first in the field with a 650cc parallel twin. Announced in September 1949, the 650 Thunderbird was Triumph’s response to demands for more power emanating from American racers and British sidecarists alike. A spectacular launch stunt saw three Thunderbirds lap the Montlhery circuit at over 90mph for 500 miles, after which they each achieved a flying lap of 100mph-plus and were ridden back to the Meriden factory. When displayed at the Earls Court Show in October, the new twin featured the headlamp nacelle and fuel tank with luggage grid first seen the previous year. An interesting change to the Thunderbird for 1952 was the adoption of an SU carburettor in place of the original Amal, a specially prepared machine managing a staggering 155mpg at a steady 30mph on a factory organised economy run. This example benefits from considerable refurbishment carried out between 2005 and 2007 including a cylinder head rebuild; new wiring loom and battery; and carburettor overhaul. New components fitted include the shock absorbers, petrol tap, front wheel spindle, headlamp rim, horn, Miller horn/dip switch, Wipac stop-lamp switch, etc. Bills related to the foregoing totalling £616 come with the machine, which is offered with Swansea V5C registration document.

Saleroom notices

  • This machine’s frame and engine were most likely manufactured circa 1958, and not 1951 as printed in the catalogue. It should also be noted that the aluminium alloy cylinder head was not fitted to the Thunderbird until the 1961 model year, and that the tank badges are of the type used prior to the introduction of the 1957 range.
Auction information

This sale is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future sales, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this sale, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:

Buyer's Premium Rates
25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at the current rate of 20% will be added to the Buyer's Premium and charges excluding Artists Resale Right.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.