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Lot 309
1970 TRIUMPH 649CC T120R BONNEVILLE

Sold for US$ 11,500 inc. premium

MOTORCYCLES

8 Nov 2003, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

1970 TRIUMPH 649CC T120R BONNEVILLE
Frame no. HD57754T120R
Engine No. HD57754T120R
Graced by one of the most evocative model designations in the history of motorcycling, the Triumph Bonneville owes its existence to record-breaking successes achieved on the eponymous Utah salt flats in 1958, when a Tiger 110 set a new 650cc production machine record of over 147mph. A new alloy cylinder head with inlet ports splayed wide to accommodate twin carburetors had become available as a tuning aid early in 1958 and it was, chiefly, this innovation that enabled the specially prepared T110 to so far eclipse the performance of the standard version. Of course, the names 'Triumph' and 'Bonneville' were already inextricably linked, Texan Johnny Allen having set a new World Motorcycle Speed Record of 214mph on the famous Utah salt flats in September 1956 in his Thunderbird-powered streamliner.
@ Triumph lost no time in capitalising on its technical breakthrough, announcing a new model equipped with the splayed 'head and twin Amal carburetors in September 1958 - the Bonneville. Testing a T120 'Bonnie' in June 1961, Motor Cycling found that Triumph's range-topping sportster possessed abundant vitality. "With exceptional top-end performance goes extraordinary vigour and tractability at low and medium speeds - a combination which makes it perhaps the fastest point-to-point roadster produced in Britain today." As far as the dedicated Triumph enthusiast was concerned, there was no 'perhaps' about it.
@ Dating from the last year of production prior to the introduction of the oil-in-frame model, this unit-construction T120R was restored by an aircraft technician in Southern California and completed in 2002. Repainted in correct colours and reported as running fine, the machine features a powder-coated frame, re-plated fastenings and rebuilt wheels; the engine top end, carburettors, cables, controls, wiring loom and seat cover are all new.
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