Archive for July 1st, 2013

July 1, 2013

Grand Prix Triumph

As hostilities came to a conclusion in ’45 the world was looking for any semblance of normality and fast motorcycles was one such distraction. As all manufacturing had gone into wartime efforts there had to be somewhat of a reuse of surplus items. Triumph had created a lightweight twin engine for use in generators. This seemed like a good start.

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The lightweight square barreled vertical layout could be rehomed in a frame ready for circuit, road; TT or race. Of course the engine geometry had been developed by Edward Turner in ’38 just prior to the outbreak and I’m sure the time spent during wartime tweaking this motor into a reliable power source would stand it in stead post war on the track and the road, eventually becoming the Bonneville.

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The GP engine seen here shows its origins proudly with mounting bosses cast mid fin where the generator components were bolted on.
But it’s the moto we’re interested in… It has a tight geometry for quick steering, 19 inch rear wheel and 20 inch front, low seating stance for a good clip and an intended fast look.

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Twist the throttle with intention and hold on. They were tough guys who rode these at speed for sure!

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Thanks to regular comment contributor Bill in Cumbria who noticed Beck’s sitting atop a GP a couple of days ago; I thought we’d better look into it. They are getting rarer than hens teeth, having been raced hard and blown up. People are now turning to the square barrels used on the early fifties TR5’s (like the Fonz’s ride in Happy Days)

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But what a cracker of a bike it is. I bet it belts out a heart thumping sound. And with an open primary the working mechanations are there for all to see.

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There’s more of a human story to this bike which I will cover later… .. But as an important part of Triumph history this is a key model. I think Hinckley Triumph should come out with a smaller, but fast, 500 twin now, combine it with: commuter, racer off road motorcycle models. Get the young uns onto bikes!