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Lot 379: 1949 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird

Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams (16 October 2005)

Always a step ahead of their rivals, Triumph followed up the trend-setting Speed Twin 500 of pre-war days by being first in the field with a 650 parallel twin. Announced in September 1949, the 650 Thunderbird was Triumph’s response to demands for more power emanating from American racers and British sidecar drivers alike. A spectacular launch stunt saw three Thunderbirds lap the Montlhery circuit 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. When displayed at the Earls Court Show in October, the new twin featured the headlamp nacelle and fuel tank with luggage grid first seen the previous year. Dating from the first year of production, this very early Thunderbird has the optional Sprung Hub that offered a limited form of rear suspension. The machine was acquired by John Logan Thompson in 1991 (sales invoice included) and comes with letter and dating certificate from marque specialist Harry Woolridge, together with Swansea V5 registration document and instruction manual.

Lot Details
Auction Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams, Classic & Motorcycle Mechanics Show, Stafford
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number379
Estimate£2250-£3000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£2300
Hammer Price (inc premium)£2645
Year1949
Condition rating
Registration number
Mileage-
Chassis number
Engine number
Engine capacity (cc)
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors