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 Triumphs 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.
- This machines 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.