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Lot 364: 1961 Triumph 650cc Thunderbird

Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles, Bonhams & Butterfields (12 November 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 sidecarists alike. 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. The model remained in production in its original form until introduction of a new duplex-loop frame in September 1959. An improved front fork was fitted from this time together with 18" wheels and ‘bathtub’ rear enclosure.

Dating from 1961, the pre-unit 650s’ final full year of production (the ‘unit’ version arrived in October 1962) this ‘matching numbers’ Thunderbird represents the model in its final form.

Lot Details
Auction Sale of Collectors' Motorcycles
Bonhams & Butterfields, Petersen Museum, Los Angeles, CA
TypeMotorcycle
Lot Number364
Estimate$5000-$7000
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price$2200
Hammer Price (inc premium)$2530
Year1961
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