1908 TRIUMPH 3½HP MOTORCYCLE COMBINATION
Bonhams | 16-Oct-2016 | The Autumn Stafford Sale Important Collectors Motorcycles | Venue : Stafford, Staffordshire County Showground
Category : Classic Motorcycles
Lot No. : 187
Year : 1908
Engine Size : -
Chassis No. : # 138826
Engine No. : # 4802
No longer available - Sold or withdrawn from sale
 
Please note this lot is subject to 5% Import Tax.
 

• Exported new to Australia
• Off the road, dismantled, for many years
• Extremely original and with good provenance
• An older estoration
The first Triumph motorcycle of 1902 used a Belgian Minerva engine, but within a few years the Coventry firm - originally a bicycle manufacturer founded by German immigrants Siegfried Bettman and Maurice Schulte - was building its own power units. The first of these - a 298cc single-cylinder sidevalve - arrived in 1904. This first engine was not without its weaknesses, pistons and bores wore out quickly and the curious 'tandem down-tube' frame in which it was installed broke, but these shortcomings were soon sorted and within a couple of years 'Triumph' was a byword for reliability. The famous 3½hp model first appeared in 1907. Originally of 453cc, its sidevalve engine was enlarged to 476cc in 1908 and finally to 499cc in 1910 before being superseded by the 4hp model in 1914.
The company was involved in racing from its earliest days, and the publicity generated by competition successes - Jack Marshall won the 1908 Isle of Man TT's single-cylinder class for Triumph having finished second the previous year - greatly stimulated sales. By the outbreak of The Great War, the marque's reputation for quality and dependability was well-established, leading to substantial orders for 'Trusty Triumphs' for British and Allied forces.
This 3½hp Triumph was first registered in 1908 to J Cuming of Underdale, South Australia, and was rediscovered in 1975 at Hardy's Road in neighbouring Torrensville (see 'as found' photographs on file). A Mr McAskill had bought and partly dismantled the Triumph before WWI, with the intention of reconditioning it, but was enlisted in the Australian Army. His wife said that by the time he returned, the machine was considered too old fashioned to be worth rebuilding. The removed parts were spread around a large workshop, and to ensure that nothing was lost the current owner purchased its entire contents.
The Triumph was found to be complete to the last detail except for the wicker sidecar body, so a replica of the latter was made. The sidecar was produced by the Adelaide Bullock cycle and motorcycle works, and still carries their transfer on the mudguard. The Adelaide Triumph agent was Eyes & Crowle, whose silver badge is on the rear of the machine. Other noteworthy features include a Jones 60mph speedometer, rear hub gear (possibly Sturmey Archer), bulb horn, and a P&H headlamp. A spare period-correct magneto and crankcase are available as separate lots.