On Sale! 1954 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird

On Sale! 1954 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird

Engine no. 6T 48951
Frame no. 48951

The American market was hugely important to the British motorcycle manufacturers, and energized after their return from World War II, they demanded more power from their recreational and racing machines. Triumph, always quick to respond, announced the follow-up to the pre-war 500cc Speed Twin, the 1949 Thunderbird with an innovative 650cc displacement. A spectacular launch stunt saw three Thunderbirds lap the banked Montlhéry circuit in France at over 90mph for 500 miles, after which they each achieved a flying lap of 100mph-plus and were ridden back to the Meriden factory, quite an outstanding achievement. 

On offer here, is a ’54 Thunderbird fresh from a ground-up restoration to concours standards. This is the last year with a rigid frame, and the first year of the alternator model with coil. The bike is owned and built by a Southern California collector with many years of experience with ‘40s and ‘50s Triumphs and their renovation. He acquired the bike in England in 2016 as a complete bike, but partway through a restoration. In the powder-coated frame, the original, fully rebuilt engine and gearbox were fitted. Pre-unit specialist put a new top end on with +.040 pistons, Hastings rings, Kibblewhite valves, guides, springs, keepers, Cleveland gaskets etc. The barrel painted, aluminum parts polished, cad plating on bolts set the bike off, just as it excited buyers 66 years ago. Air and fuel a mixed through a correct SU carb, vapor blasted to look new. From the frame, all renewed or refurbished cycle parts were fitted. Brakes and suspension were restored, and a new wiring loom were meticulously installed. The lined gas tank and fenders are original and beautifully restored and repainted in the original polychromatic blue.

The matching numbers bike was recently serviced by local Triumph and classic motorcycle experts, Glory Motorworks, to ensure it runs as well as it looks. This is not just a garage queen, but a reliable and fine running machine, ready for any tour or rally.  The bike starts easily, idles smoothly. Brakes and suspension match the power and smoothness of the bike.  Everything works as it should.

This is a fantastic opportunity to acquire a ready-to-go concours show bike, which is ready to be ridden on any rally or tour with great ease and reliability.

Asking $24,900

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