• YEAR : 1953
  • MILEAGE : 68
  • EXTERIOR : Black
  • ENGINE SIZE : 650

– Restored and rebuilt
– Matching numbers 650 cc twin engine
– Believed to be 63 miles after restoration


The parallel twin, hailed as a brilliant development, was introduced by Edward Turner in 1938, just before the hostilities of World War II broke out forcing Triumph to switch to war-time production. Once it was apparent the Allies were winning in 1944, Turner went back to marketing his parallel twins before Victory in Europe day! It was also atthis time that he set his sights on the U.S. market and approached Bill Johnson in California, who already had a large product line. They had their own East Coast Distributor.

The postwar twins featured telescopic forks in place of the traditional girders previously used on the Triumph line. Forks could now be covered with a nacelle to give a more stylish look. After the war, rear suspensions became more and more important. Triumph took a unique approach with its “sprung hub.” It was an idea borrowed from the aircraft industry. The beauty of it was that Truimph was able to utilize its rigid-style frames and install this unit. This saved significantly on re-tooling costs. It weighed 17 pounds more than the conventional hub and had internal springs that could be lethal for the novice to remove. Triumph had a warning note on the outside to prevent novices from undertaking repairs.

The Thunderbird was released in 1950. It was the first of the 650cc engines. It had an improved crankshaft and an oil pump with higher capacity. Triumph’s styling now also included the nacelle for enclosing the headlight and enclosing the speedometer, switch gear, and ammeter in the top. The 1950 models were painted “Thunder Blue.” Ironically, the name Thunderbird came to Turner while in the United States.

Movie goers will recognize this as the identical model that Marlon Brando rode in the landmark movie “The Wild One.” The consignor reports that this example was completely restored back to its original condition, including the unique sprung hub that set it apart from others of its era, and presents as it did when it left the factory 67 years ago. A beautiful example of what attention to detail and an investment of time can produce, sale of this rare and highly sought-after motorcycle includes certified motorcycle appraisal.