1950 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird
Registration no. KDD 816
Frame no. 13982N
Engine no. 6T 13982N
Always a step ahead of their rivals, Triumph followed up the trend-setting Speed Twin 500 of pre-war days by being first in the field with a 650cc parallel twin. Announced in September 1949, the 650 Thunderbird was Triumph's response to demands for more power emanating from American racers and British sidecarists alike. A spectacular launch stunt saw three Thunderbirds lap the banked Montlhéry circuit in France at over 90mph for 500 miles, after which they each achieved a flying lap of 100mph-plus and were ridden back to the Meriden factory, a quite outstanding achievement. One of the most significant subsequent developments was the introduction of a swinging-arm frame for 1955 but prior to that time Triumph twins could be ordered with the optional 'sprung hub' (designed by Edward Turner) which offered a limited amount of rear suspension movement.
Dating from the first year of production and finished in the 1950-only blue-grey colour scheme, this sprung hub-equipped Thunderbird was purchased as a low-mileage example and restored to a high standard circa 1995. Dry stored for the last five years, the machine is currently SORN'd and comes with Swansea V5C registration document.