1964 Triumph TT Special
Frame no. T120C DU12638
Engine no. T120DC DU12638
Triumph's immense success in two uniquely American forms of racing TT Steeplechase and long-distance desert events prompted Meriden to produce a pair of unique motorcycles, just for Americans. Actually, the Bonneville TT Special (1963-1967) and TR6SC Trophy Special (1961-66) were requested by Johnson Motors. Thousands of owners had stripped down their T120s for TT, scrambles and Hare and Hound events, and modified TR6s were the desert racers' Holy Grail. So the JoMo folks figured that factory-built, race-ready versions of these machines would make sense and could make dollars, too.
The 350lb TT was as businesslike as a sawed-off shotgun. The 12:1 compression, 52-54 hp motor was a development of the one used in Triumph's 1962 Bonneville Salt Flats streamliner which ran over 200 mph and thus it lacked any semblance of civility, save for a tachometer.
This beautifully, correctly restored, Gold and Alaskan white, unit construction, 4-speed TT Special is restored to "Eastern specification", that is, without lights and mufflers, and sold originally by TriCor the East coast distributor. However, the bike has "West coast" specification polished aluminum fenders sometimes installed on bikes from the east. West coast bikes came from Johnson Motors, of course. The pre-1965 bikes, of which as few as 300 or 400 were made in 1964, are instantly recognizable because of the two-high-level pipes, one each side, and as with many competition bikes of this kind its history is murky. Typically, they were not destined for on-road use and thus did not come with titles, only bills of sale. This bike is no exception.
# 12638 is a matching numbers T120C restored to perfection by the highly reputable Triumph restorer John Otto, a long-time Louisville, Kentucky resident for a local enthusiast of some standing in the motorcycle community. John Otto found the bike several years ago disassembled and in several boxes with little evidence that it had ever been raced. He painstakingly refurbished it part by part over a period of 18 months, and then reassembled it. New bearings and bushings throughout, blueprinted motor and transmission, new chrome, new cadmium, new old-stock energy transfer (ET) ignition and a rebuilt Smiths tachometer (no speedometer was ever installed). It has been started and run once, with less than a half a mile under its wheels, and represents a work of Triumph art.
- Please note that the correct engine number for this motorcycle is T120CDU12638.