Bud Ekins 'Tribute Triumph'
1967 Triumph 649cc TR6R Trophy
Frame no. TR6R DU55463
Engine no. TR6R DU55463
By the time Triumph introduced unitary construction of the engine/transmission assembly on its 650 twins for 1963, the TR6 Trophy had long been established as the single-carburetor companion to the twin-carb Bonneville, whose specification in all other respects it closely followed. However, although the pair possessed an impeccable engine, Triumph's larger models were widely recognized as lacking in the handling department, especially when compared to rivals Norton. Following the wholesale changes of frame layout in the late pre-unit era, a single down-tube design was introduced on the 650cc 'unit' twins, although even this would undergo several detail alterations over the next eight years. The most important 'tweak' to the Trophy/Bonneville frame was made for the 1967 model year, when a shallower steering head angle was adopted in the interests of better high-speed stability, and road testers duly reported a marked improvement in that respect. By this time Triumph's two 650 sportsters had been updated with 12-volt electrics and a full-width 8" front brake, while other significant improvements for 1967 included a new oil pump and an increase in the Trophy's compression ratio to 9.0:1, same as the Bonneville's.
This matching numbers Triumph TR6R Trophy has been restored as a tribute to the recently departed Bud Ekins. A consummate off-road racer, bike restorer, occasional stunt rider and all-American hero, Ekins was close friend of actor Steve McQueen and performed the famous motorcycle jump (as McQueen's stunt double) in the movie The Great Escape. (Although set in WWII, Bud's bike was in fact a post-war Triumph dating from the mid/late 1950s). Fittingly, this machine dates from 1967, the year that Bud's Hollywood shop sold more Triumphs than any other outlet in the world. Restored in 2006 while incorporating numerous non-stock improvements, it was signed by Bud on the gas tank during restoration and carries a unique cast-metal license plate frame depicting him performing the 'Escape jump. More recently, the bike was once again mechanically gone through and the vendor advises that it has been very well prepared, with only 54 trouble free miles ridden since the work was completed.
A most desirable piece of Ekins memorabilia. Sold on a Certificate of Title.