Offered from the Fabergé Museum in Baden-Baden, Germany
1961 Triumph 649cc T120R Bonneville
Frame no. D9900
Engine no. D9900
Hurriedly prepared for its debut at the 1958 Earls Court Show (it was too late for inclusion in the 1959 catalogue) the 'Bonnie' 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 Bonneville 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. The latter now stood at 46bhp, an improvement of some 15% over that of the contemporary single-carb T110. 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.
The USA had long been Triumph's most important export market and to cater for local tastes, T120R and T120C models were offered there, the former having a more raised handlebar when compared to its European counterpart, while the latter catered for the American rider's passion for off-road motorcycling.
This well presented 1961 Bonneville has been extensively modified, incorporating many components from the later (mostly 1967 in this case) unitary construction version including the 9-bolt cylinder head and block, rocker gear, crankshaft (balanced) and twin Amal Concentric carburettors. Other useful modifications include an oil pressure gauge, Lucas H4 headlight, Wipac ammeter, Barnett clutch plates, 12-volt alternator electrics and electronic voltage regulator. All of the forgoing, and much more besides, is recorded in 16 typed pages of detailed information and technical data provided by the machine's restorer, Paul Ackerman, clearly a most knowledgeable Triumph specialist. Mr Ackerman's report, close inspection of which is recommended, was compiled in January 1985 for a previous owner, well known Maine photographer Benjamin Magro, from whom it was acquired by Richard C Paine Jr in April 1992 (bill of sale available). The current vendor purchased the Bonneville at Bonhams' sale of the Richard C Paine Jr Collection at Owls Head, Maine in September 2008 (Lot 818) since when it has formed part of the Fabergé Museum collection in Germany.
- The Engine no. is T120R-D9900