1953 Triumph 498cc Speed Twin
Registration no. UPB 833
Frame no. 45299
Engine no. 5T 45299
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, and from certain angles looked just like a twin-port single. Performance proved exemplary for a road-going 500, better than 100mph being attainable under favourable conditions.
The example offered here dates from 1953, by which time the Speed Twin had been upgraded with a stronger 8-stud cylinder barrel (replacing the original 6-stud) and Triumph's own telescopic front fork. This particular machine also has the Edward Turner-designed optional 'Sprung Hub', which endowed the rigid frame with a measure of rear suspension movement. Other noteworthy features include a tank-top luggage box and an SU carburettor, as fitted to the contemporary Thunderbird. 'UPB 833' was owned from 1957 until the early 1990s by Roy Ward of Mortlake, London SE14, from whom it was purchased by the vendor. In October '96 'UPB 833' was registered to Michael Trent of Bristol, who was working on it for the owner at that time. The machine is offered with old-style continuation logbook (issued 1957), workshop manual, sundry invoices, expired MoT (November 1997), two old-style Swansea V5 documents and assorted correspondence relating to its restoration by marque specialist Hughie Hancox over the period 1994/95.