The ex-Mission Impossible III
c.2005 Triumph 865cc Bonneville Scrambler
Frame no. SMTTJ910TM4201514
Modified in 'street scrambler' style, this Triumph Bonneville is one of five built for the filming of the Paramount motion picture, Mission Impossible III, starring Tom Cruise, and is one of two used in the actual production. The bike began as a stock Triumph Bonneville that was customised for the movie by the staff at Triumph's factory in Hinckley, England.
Ever since the re-emergence of a newly revitalised Triumph in 1990, enthusiasts had been eagerly waiting the revival of the Bonneville brand, one of the most evocative names in motorcycling history. Ten years would elapse before Triumph felt ready to do so, having by then emphatically established its credentials as a builder of thoroughly modern motorcycles rivalling the best from Japan and Europe. Triumph's design brief for the new Bonneville was to emulate the classic style of the late 1960s version while incorporating the best of modern technology in the engine, transmission and running gear. The need to recapture the sound and feel of the original meant that the power unit had to be an air-cooled parallel twin with 360-degree crankshaft, while applying similar criteria to the cycle parts dictated wire-spoked wheels and a twin-shock rear end. At 790cc (initially) the new 8-valve engine was bigger than any preceding Bonneville, while a balancer shaft - something the original could have done with - was deemed essential to dampen vibration inherent in the traditional engine layout.
The new Bonneville debuted to critical acclaim at Munich in 2001 and before long the concept had been expanded to include cruiser-style Bonneville America and super-sports Thruxton models. There had never been a 'street scrambler' version of the original Bonneville, that place in the BSA-Triumph's line-up having been allocated to BSA's Spitfire and Firebird models, so the arrival of an off-road styled Bonnie in 2006 was unexpected. Featuring custom paint, fenders and seat unit, hand-made exhaust system and knobbly tires, this MI3 Bonneville 900 street scrambler, although different in detail from the production version, may well have played a part in the factory's development of the concept.
Purchased by the current vendor at Bonhams & Butterfields' sale at The Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles in November 2006 (Lot 409), the machine is offered with a signed letter from Todd K Andersen, Vice President, Marketing, Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd authenticating its origins and history, together an image of Tom Cruise riding one of the two machines used during film production. It should be noted that this motorcycle is a movie prop, sold for show and display purposes only, and may not be registerable.