1962 Triumph 650cc T120R Bonneville
Frame no. D17506
Engine no. T120 D17506
Hurriedly prepared for its debut at the 1958 Earls Court Show (it was too late for inclusion in the 1959 catalogue) Triumph's Bonneville arrived at a time when young motorcycle enthusiasts wanted style as well as substance and had the money to pay for it. Finished in striking two-tone Tangerine/Pearl Grey with matching mudguards and black cycle parts, the bike was a real looker, and the name 'Bonneville', chosen in honour of Johnny Allen's record-breaking achievements with his Triumph-powered streamliner at the eponymous Utah salt flats, was an inspired piece of marketing.
Although, ostensibly, the 'Bonnie' was little more than a T110 fitted with the splayed-port cylinder head and twin carburettors, there was, of course, more to it than that. As well as the performance-enhancing top end, the Bonneville, together with the rest of Triumph's twins, incorporated a new, stronger crankshaft assembly that development had shown was necessary to cope with the increased power. Works tester Percy Tait had achieved 128mph at MIRA on a development bike, and even though this figure proved beyond the reach of the production version, the Bonnie was at least as fast as the opposition and much better looking, which was all that mattered.
Triumph's 650cc models had entered the 1960s recognisably similar to the first Speed Twin of 1938. Unitary construction of engine and gearbox was already a feature of the 350 and 500 twins but this innovation would not appear on the 650s until 1963.
Dating from the final year of production of the Bonneville in its original, 'pre-unit' form, this example was purchased from Clarkes Classics of Northfleet, Kent by the lady vendor in 2006 as a gift for her partner, now deceased, and comes with the sales invoice. Factory records show that the machine was built on 16th February 1962 and despatched to Ticketts Ltd of Southend-on-Sea, Essex. It was fitted with a tachometer, Lucas K2F auto-advance magneto, quickly detachable rear wheel and gearbox number '128942'. Why the Bonnie has been restored in what might be termed 'US style' is not known. Described as in generally excellent condition, the machine is offered with old-style logbook, MoT to February 2014 and Swansea V5C document.
- The registration is 437 UXT. There is no old style logbook with this lot. Offered with original owners handbook, UK spec handlebars, old exhaust collets, pudding basin helmet and goggles.