1961 Triumph 650cc T120R Bonneville
Frame no. D13188
Engine no. T120R D13188
Hurriedly prepared for its debut at the 1958 Earls Court Show (it was too late for inclusion in the 1959 catalogue) the ‘Bonnie’ arrived at a time when young motorcycle enthusiasts wanted style as well as substance and had the money to pay for it. Finished in two-tone Tangerine/Pearl Grey with matching mudguards and black cycle parts, the bike was a real looker and the name ‘Bonneville’, chosen in honor of Johnny Allen’s record-breaking Triumph-powered streamliner at the eponymous Utah salt flats, was inspired marketing.
Although, ostensibly, the Bonneville was little more than a T110 fitted with the splayed-port cylinder head and twin carburetors, 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. The latter now stood at 46 horsepower, an improvement of some 15 per cent over that of the contemporary single-carb T110. Works tester Percy Tait had achieved 128mph at the MIRA test track 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.
Prior to the seller’s purchase in 2009 this Bonneville was restored by James Hiddleston, a recognized authority. It was further serviced by International Motorbikes of Hickory, North Carolina in 2014. In the history file is a VMCC certificate extracted from the ‘Works Record’ that confirms this bike was dispatched on April 29, 1961 to Nottingham, UK dealer Hooleys.
Now, fresh from service to ready the bike for sale, the bike starts and runs perfectly. Brakes, suspension and all electrical systems work perfectly. With its new battery, this represents a great opportunity to have a pinnacle of collectible English motorcycling, in utterly superb condition worthy of a museum.