1908 Triumph 3½hp
Frame no. 137112
Engine no. 4237
The first Triumph motorcycle of 1902 used a Belgian Minerva engine, but within a few years the Coventry firm - originally a bicycle manufacturer founded by German immigrants Siegfried Bettman and Maurice Schulte - was building its own power units. The first of these - a 298cc single-cylinder sidevalve - arrived in 1904. This first engine was not without its weaknesses, pistons and bores wore out quickly and the curious 'tandem down-tube' frame in which it was installed broke, but these shortcomings were soon sorted and within a couple of years 'Triumph' was a byword for reliability. The famous 3½hp model first appeared in 1907. Originally of 453cc, its sidevalve engine was enlarged to 476cc in 1908 and finally to 499cc in 1910 before being superseded by the 4hp model in 1914.
The company was involved in racing from its earliest days, and the publicity generated by competition successes - Jack Marshall won the 1908 Isle of Man TT's single-cylinder class for Triumph having finished second the previous year - greatly stimulated sales. By the outbreak of The Great War, the marque's reputation for quality and dependability was well-established, leading to substantial orders for 'Trusty Triumphs' for British and Allied forces.
This single-speed, belt-driven 3½hp Triumph was restored in Australia circa 1985 by Eric Langton, one of speedway racing's biggest stars throughout the 1930s. Credited with pioneering the 'foot forward' riding style, Leeds-born Langton spent most of his speedway career with the successful Belle Vue team before moving to Australia in 1957. A fitter, toolmaker and turner by trade, Eric continued his interest in all things mechanical by restoring old cars and motorcycles. He was the first president of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club of Western Australia and the second president of the region's Veteran Car Club. Following his death in 2001, the Triumph was inherited by his wife before passing to the current vendor, another family member.
Described as in generally very good condition, the Triumph is offered with VMCCWA roadworthiness certificate/licence permit (issued 2001) and a 1992 press cutting showing Eric with the restored machine.
- Offered with copy documents only.