1959 Triumph 650cc T120 Bonneville
The ’59 Bonnie was quite a game-changer. It was rushed to the 1958 Earls Court Motorcycle Show in London to capture an audience of post-war Adrenalin junkies, who had been modifying their machines for café to café racing around London’s north Circular. And here, Triumph offered them a machine fit for the purpose, right off the showroom floor. And it was named after the Utah salt flats in honor of the recent speed records achieved by Johnny Allen in a streamliner. What great marketing.
Works tester Percy Tait had achieved 128mph at MIRA 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, which was all that mattered.
The motorbike offered
This very early Bonneville was fully and meticulously restored by a Southern California restorer, collector and enthusiast with a fantastic track record of producing stunning and very useable restorations. Over and above the only year to feature the headlight nacelle and livery, the 1959 Bonnie has many one-year only parts making for an arduous restoration, but the result is this matching numbers example in striking and correct two-tone Tangerine over Pearl Grey, supplied by Triumph paint guru, Don Hutchison. The engine with correctly stamped ‘59 cylinder head and gearbox were fully rebuilt by a true marque expert, Dean Collinson, and hangs in a restored frame and cycle parts. It sports new correct model Amal carbs, completely rebuilt mags/dynamos, and a new wiring harness.
Now, completely dialed in, the bike starts within a kick or two and rides perfectly. This is a rare machine, and a fantastic to ride.