1939 Triumph Speed Twin
Lot 388
1937 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin Frame no. TH8962 Engine no. 9 5T 19780
Sold for £12,650 (US$ 21,240) inc. premium
Lot Details
1937 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin
Registration no. FUL 912
Frame no. TH8962
Engine no. 9 5T 19780
Although Edward Turner's Triumph Speed Twin caused a sensation when it appeared at the 1937 Motorcycle Show, few of its admirers can have guessed how influential the design would prove to be. True, there had been vertical twins before; indeed, Turner's predecessor at Meriden - Val Page - had designed one a few years previously, but Triumph's newcomer established a formula that would be adopted by all of Britain's major motorcycle manufacturers in the succeeding decade. And whereas previous vertical twins had suffered from excess bulk, Turner's was lighter and narrower across the crankcase than the contemporary single-cylinder Tiger 90, whose cycle parts it shared, and from certain angles looked just like a twin-port single. This was just what the conservatively minded motorcycling public wanted and the Speed Twin proved an enormous success for Triumph, lifting the company out of the economic doldrums and setting it on the road to future prosperity. Performance proved exemplary for a road-going 500, around 85mph being attainable by the Speed Twin while the Tiger 100 sports version could reach the 'ton' under favourable conditions.

This 1939 Speed Twin was dated by VMCC marque specialist Harry Woolridge in 1994 and apart from a saddle set slightly too high was judged to be an 'excellent example' (see correspondence on file). In its late owner's possession since at least that date, the machine is offered with old-style continuation logbook (issued 1954), copy old Swansea V5, current Swansea V5C and a quantity of expired tax discs and MoTs (most recent expired April 2006). Representing a wonderful opportunity to acquire a fine example of Turner's landmark masterpiece, 'FUL 912' will require re-commissioning before returning to the road.
  1. Ben Walker
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