1969 American Eagle 405 Talon “Triumph 500 Special”
Frame no. AM4051556
American Eagle was an ambitious 1960s company, led by the late Jack McCormack who had previously worked for both Triumph and Suzuki, on a mission to set up what we would call, today, a chain of “powersports” stores across the country. Jack sourced four-season products – motorcycles, go-karts, and snowmobiles – from manufacturers such as Laverda, Kawasaki and Sprite. The English Sprite company was a clever producer of dirt bike kits at that time – the 405 motor came from either Husqvarna or an Italian Husky clone builder – sold separately in the UK to save “purchase tax.” Into the US the bikes came fully assembled. It was in the early 1970s that the AE company flopped.
This bike started life as an American Eagle Talon 405 2-stroke single and was raced by members of the Sacramento Polka Dots Motorcycle Club, California. The 2-stroke engine was removed at some point and replaced with a single carburetor Triumph 500 twin – said to be a 1959 5TA motor. Today’s bike is in what is thought to be its original 1970s racing configuration with a rare oil/gas combination fiberglass tank, Ceriani forks, aluminum hubs and front wheel rim. And topped-off with TT pipes. This one-off special was literally re-constructed at enormous expense by Frank del Monte of Arizona British Bikes, a most reputable builder – using as many of the original pieces as possible, but the rebuilt motor – there is a photo large file of the step-by-step rebuild at a reputed cost of close to $7,000. Note the electronic ignition, total loss battery powered.
The bike offered is a time-warp, custom Triumph 500 off-road play bike with a handmade, artisan frame albeit with known origins. “Unique” is the best adjective if one is limited to one. More would include “period, neat and funky.”
Sold on a Bill of Sale. Located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.