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The Spring Sale / Property of a deceased's estate, 1966 Triumph 649cc Thruxton Bonneville Project Frame no. T120DU 40868 Engine no. T120DU 40868

Lot 496
Property of a deceased's estate, 1966 Triumph 649cc Thruxton Bonneville Project
Registration no. AUY 234M Frame no. T120DU 40868 Engine no. T120DU 40868
23 April 2022, 10:00 BST
Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground

Sold for £16,100 inc. premium

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Property of a deceased's estate
1966 Triumph 649cc Thruxton Bonneville Project
Registration no. AUY 234M
Frame no. T120DU 40868
Engine no. T120DU 40868

• One of an estimated 73 Thruxton models built
• Believed a participant in the 1966 Thruxton 500-mile race
• Present ownership since 1977
• Offered for restoration

Like Velocette's top-of-the-range Venom variant, the Thruxton version of Triumph's Bonneville took its name from the endurance race held at the eponymous Hampshire circuit. Intended for production machines, the Thruxton 500-mile race provided manufacturers with a valuable marketing opportunity, known in the trade as 'win on Sunday, sell on Monday'. Stakes were high and no stone was left unturned in the search for new ways of extracting extra performance from what were supposed to be standard street machines. Newly arrived from Norton, Doug Hele was in charge of Triumph's experimental department, which was charged with developing the Bonnie into a race winner.

The first batch of eight specially prepared Thruxton Bonnevilles was completed in 1964 and the model was first listed in Triumph's 1965 catalogue. For the 1965 season a further batch of 52 machines was assembled in May of that year. Exiled from its Hampshire home for several years, the 500-miler was held at Castle Combe in '65 and saw the Thruxton Bonneville gain its first major success when Barry Lawton and Dave Degens brought their Syd Lawton-entered example home first. Ridden by Degens and Rex Butcher, another Lawton & Wilson-entered Thruxton won the 500-Mile race in 1966, held that year at Brands Hatch, which was followed by headline-grabbing victories in the Isle of Man Production TT in 1967 and 1969 for John Hartle and Malcolm Uphill respectively. Production of Thruxton Bonnevilles had ceased by that time, the factory having moved on to develop the BSA/Triumph 750cc triples. It is believed that some 73 Thruxton Bonnevilles were produced between 1964 and the end of 1967.

This is one of seven Thruxton Bonnevilles produced in 1966, of which it is believed that four were used in the '66 Thruxton 500-mile race. 'DU40868' was built on 6th May 1966 and despatched on 20th July that year to H&L Motors in Stroud. The Bonneville was originally registered 'HDD 49D' and almost certainly was ridden in the Thruxton race by Stephen Spencer and Alastair Copland. It was probably used in the Hutchinson 100 later in 1966 and may have also have been used in 1967, again by H&L Motors. The late owner believed that the riders in 1967 were Gordon Keith and Tony Godfrey (see correspondence on file).

How the Bonnie came to be reregistered in 1974 as 'AUY 234M' is not known, although it is possible that it was raced until no longer competitive and only then registered for the road. On 16th June 1976 the machine was registered to Paul Watts of London E17, from whom it was purchased by the late owner on 16th July 1977 (see old-style V5 document on file). The purchaser can apply to the DVLA for details of previous ownership, thereby identifying the owner between 1974 and 1976.

The frame is a later replacement of 1969/1970 type (recorded in the factory records) and it seems highly likely that this Thruxton's other updates were carried out by the factory at around the same time. The crankcases have almost certainly been replaced (cases with the anti-tamper 'Triumph' back-stamping for the number did not start until 1969) and it seems highly likely the replacements were fitted at, or obtained from, the factory, as the engine number looks perfect for a factory stamping. In addition, the front brake has been changed to the twin-leading-shoe 1969 type; the instruments are 1970-onwards; and the Amal carburettors are of the later Concentric type, while the seat and tank are both of the later 1967-onwards Thruxton type.

One of the rarest and most sought-after of post-war Triumphs, this Thruxton Bonneville is offered for restoration and sold strictly as viewed. The registration 'AUY 234M' is recorded in the DVLA and HPI databases; nevertheless, prospective purchasers must satisfy themselves with regard to this motorcycle's registration status prior to bidding. A potentially most rewarding project.
Offered without key

Footnotes

All lots are sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding

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