Dave has been moving ahead with the restoration of our 1958 Trophybird. It hasn’t all been smooth sailing but he should still be done before the deadline to enter the bike in the Vintage Motorcycle Festival at the end of this month.
As usual with machines of this age, the engine posted a few challenges. The crank was a three piece unit used up until 1956 versus the 2 piece design introduced in 1957. The magneto advance unit is incorrect. It is for a BTH magneto which Triumph used before switching to Lucas. Dave has the correct unit in his stockpile that he will install on the bike.
The oil tank needed a lot of work as Dave had to remove a hose fitting on the top and fill it in, and repair the top shrouding which somebody had trimmed back. It isn’t unusual to find this type of issue on 55+ year old machines.
Here are pictures of the extensive process necessary to restore it back to stock.
The front fender was purchased from Tiger Spares which has proven to be a reliable source for our pre unit restoration parts.
The ’58 gauges were delivered to Greg Poirier in Arizona for refinishing. Greg reported these were two of the nicest chronometrics he has ever worked on. They are now complete and awaiting installation in Portland. As usual Greg’s work is impeccable and we are proud to have his gauges on our restorations.
One of the most difficult parts to find for bikes of this era is the Lucas L594 taillight lens. The first thing I look for when evaluating the quality of a restoration is whether it has the correct tail light lens which should have the correct raised Lucas marking on a real L594 versus the smooth finish of the cheap aftermarket lenses. Unbelievably, we have seen many restorations that were fine otherwise but have an aftermarket lens.
Our parts supplier usually has a supply of the real Lucas L594 lenses, but they have been out of stock for some time. Checking other sources proved unproductive so we turned to Ebay in hopes of finding a real unit. Luckily on Ebay, we were the high bidder ($57) for one that we just received. It came from Venezuela still packed in its original Lucas box, wrapped in paper as they were back at that time … very nice lens and a lucky find.
Throttle lock …
One very interesting period piece on our TR6 is the throttle lock. We are going to keep this on the bike after restoration.
A throttle lock was a simple means to provide at least a bit of security back in the late 50s, as ignition locks weren’t standard on Triumphs until 1963. Up until then, if you knew how to start and ride a Triumph motorcycle, anyone could jump on and ride off … unless you had a throttle lock. The early 1960sTriumph ignition locks were side cover mounted and had a simple key that looked like it could be used for winding up a toy car. It was replaced several years later with a standard uniquely keyed lock which was eventually moved to the headstock.
Dave has just a few parts to receive back from before he can start his final assembly. The biggest challenge will be getting the wheels laced and trued. There should be no problem delivering the bike to Tacoma for the show in a few weeks.
Although this restoration was fairly straight forward since the bike was a complete machine, it is proving once again that the restoration of any pre unit is now a pricey undertaking. We paid $5900 for the bike back in 2007 which would be a bargain price these days for such a highly desirable model in good condition. Restoration expenses so far include $7400 to Dave for outside services and parts and about another $500 to others, for a total expended so far of $13,800. We will still have to pay Dave for his labor for paint and restoration. Even so, the finished machine should still be worth more than we will have invested.
Next posting … The 1958 TR6 is finished and entered in the 2015 Vintage Motorcycle Festival …