1914 Triumph 4hp 550cc Model H  Frame no. 252076 Engine no. 32775

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Lot 158
1914 Triumph 4hp 550cc Model H
Registration no. AY 2917 Frame no. 252076 Engine no. 32775

Sold for £ 10,925 (US$ 15,059) inc. premium
1914 Triumph 4hp 550cc Model H
Registration no. AY 2917
Frame no. 252076
Engine no. 32775
The first Triumph motorcycle of 1902 used a Belgian Minerva engine, but within a few years the Coventry firm - originally bicycle manufacturers - was building its own power units. The company was soon involved in racing, and the publicity generated by competition success - Jack Marshall won the 1908 Isle of Man TT’s single-cylinder class for Triumph - greatly stimulated sales.

By the outbreak of the Great War, Triumph’s reputation for quality and reliability was well established, leading to substantial orders from the military for its newly introduced 4hp model. The latter was based on the 3½hp model that first appeared in 1907. Originally of 453cc, its side-valve engine was enlarged to 476cc in 1908 and finally to 499cc in 1910 before being superseded by the 550cc 4hp version in 1914. Equipped with three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox, it was this revised 4hp - the Model H - that did such sterling service in WWI, some 30,000 ‘Trusty Triumphs’ seeing action with Allied forces.

This machine is a fine example of the marque and model, the letters following the stamped engine number indicating manufacture in March 1914. Although no military service is recorded this bike may well have been called in to service in The Great War. The machine is presented in traditional Triumph livery with nickel fittings and is equipped with the most useful three-speed hub gear. Further accessories include a bulb horn, leather tool panniers and a P&H tower-style rear lamp and a Brooks saddle. Final drive is by belt. During the present ownership in 2008 mechanical work completed included removing cylinder and checking bore and bottom end, fitting new inlet guide and valve, checking and cleaning of the magneto and attention to fuel pipe and carburettor. The machine subsequently participated successfully in the Sunbeam Motor Cycle Club Pioneer Run to Brighton. The bike comes with Sunbeam MCC Pioneer Certificate No.898 issued to its previous owner, Dennis Nicholls of Bletchley, in December 1980. This highly practical Triumph is offered with a Swansea V5C registration document and an invoice for the work carried out in 2008.

Saleroom notices

  • This 1914 Triumph pre-dates the Model H and complies in all respects with the 4hp model of 1914. The engine number is 32755.
1914 Triumph 4hp 550cc Model H  Frame no. 252076 Engine no. 32775
1914 Triumph 4hp 550cc Model H  Frame no. 252076 Engine no. 32775
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