1961 Triumph 650cc T120 Bonneville
Registration no. 414 YUJ
Frame no. D15808
Engine no. T120 D15808
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. Unitary construction of the engine/gearbox was already a feature of Triumph's 350/500 range and this innovation was duly introduced on the 650s for 1963, the only significant change made to the Bonneville prior to then having been the adoption of a new duplex loop frame for 1960.
Dating from the final year of production of the Bonneville in its original, 'pre-unit' form, this 1962 model was purchased from Leigh Classics in December 2011 following the completion of a five-year restoration. Only some 200 'shakedown' miles have been covered since then and the machine remains in excellent/concours condition. An earlier 'Slickshift' gearbox is the only notified deviation from factory specification. Accompanying paperwork consists of sundry invoices, VMCC dating certificate, current MoT and V5C registration document.