Wilbur Ceder, Bus Schaller, Jack Wilson, Burton Albrecht, Chuck Mangham, John Brough, Stormy Mangham, Gene Field and Johnny Allen.
My knowledge of the ‘C’ Range Triumphs is improving all of the time as new facts come to light and even after 20 years I am still learning.
I have researched the Factory Records in detail and am continuing to assemble a library of road tests, brochures, parts books and photograph sources for the ‘C’ range.
Copyright limitations restrict me but I can at least guide you on this site to articles and images for your own research.
Increasingly Road Tests and other articles are becoming available on-line from the original publishers and current copyright holders.
Access to these sources changes regularly so you will need to keep an eye out. Your local library or reference centre will be able to provide copies of magazines held for personal review and I have found collections in many US cities that are mostly untouched.
The VMCC hold the Original Factory Records, Brochures, Parts Books, Factory Bulletins, Confidential documents, Books and Original Photographs not just for Triumph but many other makes of British motorcycle from the dawn of motoring to the present day.
Contact the VMCC using this link www.vmcc.net where they will be happy to help with research and registering your latest restoration or purchase.
I cannot guarantee that the machine information I have detailed is correct as each time I study a restored machine or view photographs I am often left with more questions than answers. I welcome any help and information you can provide especially leads to good quality period photographs as these help me to identify original parts and variations. I have been fortunate to study machines made on the same day or from the same batch, which has helped me to confirm many details not normally visible.
Where possible my research is based on period photographs, parts books/manuals, factory records, employee and owner interviews and studying machines rather than later articles, restorations, books and hearsay. I am indebted to the Triumph Company for allowing me to use illustrations from the original period brochures, to the VMCC for allowing me access to the Triumph Factory Records and for their continuing support and friendship. TRW (Lucas) and Mortons Media have given limited copyright permission to use images and script from their material.
Finally I must also thank the late John Nelson, Jim Lee, Roy Peplow, Johnny Giles, Ray Sayer, David Gaylin, Lindsay Brooke, Bill Milburn, John Healy, Don Hutchinson, Skip Van Leeuwen, Jack Simmonds, Dan Rouit, Bill Getty, Buddy Stubbs and my many Triumph friends for additional information and support.
Sadly we lost Claudio Sintich a few years ago, check out his excellent books on Triumphs.
Dan Rouit also passed in November 2016 (a larger than life and inspiration man in spite of his disability).
I recommend looking through Google Images to familiarise yourself with the various models and the detail differences that you will see. Note that many of the images are relatively modern / incorrect and should be used only as a guide together with other information available to identify the basic specification of an individual machine.
I have been for some time collecting period magazines, brochures and articles as they become available. It is possible with perseverance to assemble a file for your machine.
Period brochures in good condition are expensive. Availability will depend on your location and the period you are looking for. I have obtained all of the single sheet US brochures through EBAY and have completed my collection of UK brochures and the Parts books for the C Range.
My work with the period magazines is detailed in my Magazine Index
It is possible to obtain re-prints of road tests, photographs, copies of magazine articles parts books and technical sheets all which will assist you in the restoration process.
I do not have the relevant copyright permissions to copy all the items I own, but can direct you to the holders of the articles you are looking for.
Contact Jane Skayman at Mortons Media on 01507 529423 if you would like a copy of an article or photograph from their archive which covers “The Motor Cycle” and “Motorcycling” or use this link to reach their main website www.mortonsmediagroup.com
Old copies of “Cycle” “Cycle World” other US titles and Brochures are available through Vintage Mags at www.dadsvintageads.com
To view original copies of ‘American Motorcycling’ magazine go to the AMA site via this link www.americanmotorcyclist.com and then use their Magazine Tag to view any back issue to 1955, a fantastic resource and a nice site to navigate. Each magazine can be searched and this feature is useful if you are looking for articles, features or people.
Both Cycle and Cycle World have at times digitised and made available their back catalogue of magazines for a small annual subscription. Both magazines are an excellent source of historical information and often packed with useful photographs for restorers. Refer to my Magazine List for an Index.
The VMCC retain copies of many magazines including Motorcycle Sport, Motorcycle Illustrated and Das Motoraad, contact the VMCC Library at Library@vmcc.net
Please have a look at the excellent and continually improving site at www.classicbike.biz where you will find many rare and interesting US brochure images.
The readily available Works Manual (Ring Bound Dark Blue) is an invaluable tool especially for the post 1966 machines as it is packed with excellent technical illustrations and technical specifications for the ‘C’ range machines. Good quality re-prints are sometimes available.
The specifications in the Works Manuals apply only to the later machines (66 on).
Haynes used to print a manual for the ‘C’ range models ISBN 0 85696 137 X the machine pictured is a 1968 T100 (H61527).
Occasionally Triumph Factory Bulletins become available and are a very interesting read.
Via EBAY copies of the parts books are now readily available.
Most of the Triumph Parts Books can be viewed using the Classic British Spares website at www.classicbritishspares.com
Please bear in mind that the parts books were printed often several months after production had begun for that model year and additionally some manuals such as No: 4 cover a long period of production and need to be used carefully.
The parts books show some parts that were not actually fitted and so care needs to be taken to correlate the information inside with other material. Please note that parts were regularly improved; changed or substituted. All part changes were recorded and the files survive in John Nelsons Archive.
The Factory Bulletins circulated to US dealers show changes in some parts books and parts that were substituted or never fitted.
The Part numbering system used by Triumph is divided into lettered sections, E for engine, F for Frame etc. And then a number allocated. As parts change and are superseded they are given a new number. When looking at a parts book you will see what at first looks like a confusing mixture of numbers, three, four and five digits.
Parts which remain unchanged year after year will have lower numbers while those that are superseded will have a higher number. By comparing part numbers from several years it is possible to identify when parts were superseded.
Triumph often used parts between models and it is worth checking the parts books for the A and B range machines to compare part numbers, an example is the Knee Pads fitted to the T100C’s which are the same part as the Knee Pads fitted to earlier Cubs.
Many Triumph components such as side stands and camshafts show cast in numbers which do not correspond with the parts books and so these numbers are rather meaningless.
The VMCC Library in Burton on Trent is an excellent source of information on all makes of machine, they have numerous books many out of print, complete magazine back issues and original factory and press photographs. More importantly they also have the Original Factory Records for several manufacturers, these are very interesting and can be used verify a particular machines history and specification. They additionally have an extensive and growing collection of genuine brochures and factory articles including press releases, invaluable for research on particular models from any manufacturer UK and Foreign. Most useful are the complete Lucas Brochure Files for UK manufacturers.
The VMCC are happy to help you in your personal research or for you to visit the library in Burton on Trent but please call beforehand. www.vmcc.net
Burton on Trent is famous for being the home of the Burton on Trent Brewery and Marmite! It has good Rail and Bus access with Lichfield and Derby nearby, with good riding nearby in the Derbyshire Dales. There is some parking available at the VMCC offices.
The Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham Alabama has an extensive archive of original US magazines, currently it is not open to the public. The records held there are to assist the restorers at the museum, if you have material to donate then please contact the Barber Museum Staff.
Dan Rouit (passed Nov 2016) his Flat Track Museum in Clovis CA has an extensive collection of US Race Programs and numerous fascinating posters that he collected as a kid at the various dirt track events throughout California in the 60’s and 70’s.
His Museum has a great collection of machines and ephemera from the period and is well worth the trip. Dan and his lovely partner Kathy are great to talk to and a real inspiration. I had an amazing time there during a visit, make the trip you won’t regret it…
The Modern Records Library at Warwick University (UK) contains several files and volumes from the Meriden Factory. Including the detailed account ledgers from 1946 to 1968, these fascinating documents show great detail, month by month sales volumes and figures, tool and material costs, salaries, pension contributions, charity donations,
bad debts, all the minutia of the company finances !
Other files at the record give details on shipping, air cargo, road transport and complaints and there are some interesting letters to read.
If you are interested in viewing these files for yourself the record reference is MSS 123, you will need to show proof of identity and address.
There is pay parking available on the campus and a café nearby, follow the signs to the University Library, Modern Records is nearby.
The Solihull Core Library and the Central Library in Birmingham have additional Triumph material but are better known for their extensive collections on BSA
Other material from the Meriden Era is kept by John Nelson, David Gaylin, Sean Kelly, Dick Shepherd the Triumph Owners Club and also some private collections.
Information I have received indicates that the University of UTAH holds archive material relating to the Bonneville Speed Records.
I have also been to Mortons Media in Horncastle to study period photographs from the EMAP archive. The photographs are distributed over several files and generally not grouped together as sets, they are not stamped with a date when the picture was taken but stamped with a ‘received’ date, unless I can conclusively verify the picture date; I view the information with scepticism. It is worth remembering that even in the period magazines the photographs used were for illustration and may not be from the date or machine written about. Motorcycle Mechanics often use the test machines for several articles in later editions.
The photographs I have viewed at the various archives; I have seen used again and again in books on Triumph but the information written on the back of the photographs does not always indicate the model pictured or the date the picture was taken. This practice spreads unforeseen disinformation.
The factory photographs of machines taken for publicity purposes were taken at the back of the works canteen and have a distinctive background. This helps to identify the original factory images. The registrations and engine numbers are rarely visible so confirming the exact dates of machines featured is difficult.
When looking at the factory or press photographs take notice of the background and try to identify those which share details.
I have researched the Registration records at the Warwickshire Record Office where the factory machines were registered, mostly the only machine information shown is the make and sometimes the cc. The Competition and Press machines are registered to Triumph, Meriden instead of a dealer or garage. I am still researching this aspect to identify what happened eventually to press and competition machines. Some were re-built at standard machines and then sent to a dealer for sale often some years later.
If you wish to research any vehicle with a Warwickshire Registration, I recommend you try this search page www.warwickshire.gov.uk/archivesunlocked
You will need to use the Document reference Number CR1827 together with the Registration number you are interested in. There is a charge for a search and a copy of the record involved. Also ask if the ‘Surrender’ card survives, issued if a machine is licensed in another county. You can of course view the records yourself at the Record Office. You will need to take proof of identity and address.
There are numerous books on Triumph both current and out of print, I can recommend some over others as these contain more suitable original photographs rather than ones taken in more recent times. Look for titles by Lindsay Brooke, Harry Woolridge, J.R Nelson, Jeff Clew, David Gaylin, Mario Sintich and Roy Bacon. Many of the out of date publications are expensive but can be viewed as investments and sold on at a later date, Ebay is a good source! Alternatively try your lending library, you are legally allowed to take copies of pages for your own private use. (UK. Copyright)
There are also several books and articles covering the history and demise of the Triumph company, the personalities and politics. All make interesting reading and give a perspective on where it all went wrong, and so rapidly too! I recommend Bert Hopgoods rather depressing “Whatever Happened to the British Motorcycle Industry. Jeff Clew’s book on Turner and his Triumphs is also an excellent read as is Neale Shilton’s “A Million Miles Ago”.
I have found that re-reading the period magazines has given me an additional historical perspective and put into context the British motorcycle industry and its changing fortunes during the 60’s and early 70’s. Magazines often feature interviews with well-known industry figures and racers and for historians these articles can be enlightening. More difficult to find is actual data such as production and sales figures.
There is an interesting factory film made in 1957 by Triumph, which can be viewed on www.youtube.com it is in 3 parts and goes into some detail into the manufacturing process. Search for “Triumph Factory Film”. Other films to look for are the news reels by British Pathe and Gaumont News and any of the “Castrol” films,
It is also possible to view Edward Turners original 1937 Triumph Patents and many other Triumph Engineering Company Patents on the internet. The 1937 Patent Numbers are GB474963, GB475860 and GB482024.
Also look at Patent GB713932 of October 1952 describing the Stressed tank GB647670 the Nacelle and GB518456 of 1938, for the Number Plate. There are some 30 other interesting Patent Articles.
For copyright reasons I am unable to display many period photographs on my site but can guide you to the various collections available both on the internet and in various archives. This is very much an unfinished section as there are photographs stored in Libraries both here in the UK and USA I have yet to find.
I was fortunate in 2019 to obtain a substantial collection of photographs originally from Jack Harper of the BSA Publicity Dept. This collection of over 400 images covers the mid 1950’s to mid 1970’s period, and includes many images that do not appear to have been published. I will be uploading some of them here as I progress. Many of the images are untitled and are taking time to record correctly.
Mortons media have an extensive photographic archive associated with the “Motorcycle” and “Motorcycling”. Contact Jane Skayman at Mortons Media (01507 529423) for more information.
Use this link to reach their Archive Pages www.mortonsarchive.com
For UK photographic images I recommend the Stilltime collection at www.stilltimecollection.co.uk here you will find a huge and fascinating collection of British period photographs covering all subjects. Images can be purchased either for personal research or for gifts.
Another collection of original images can be found at British Only Austria at www.vintage-motorcycle.com
This is an excellent collection; formerly the ‘Peter Howdle Collection’, Peter was one of the founding staff members and later Editor of Motor Cycle News.
He was active for many years, popular, unbiased in his opinions and respected by all. He took some iconic images especially of Trials and many of the images I have seen on this site have not seen published before in any of the readily available restoration books.
For photographs of the Triumph Factory and Production line look at Howard Greys Archive at www.howardgrey.com these wonderful images taken at the factory in 1966 show the production line, drawing office, paintshop and testers waiting to take new machines out.
US Motorsport pictures can be found at Mahonyphotos.com. www.mahonyphotos.com
This is just a taste of a huge of collection fabulous and sometimes famous portraits taken by Walt and Dan Mahony as various locations in California
“My late father, Walt Mahony, began shooting photographs of the weekly AMA Class “C” (Flat Track) races around Southern California in the early 1950’s. I went with him to hundreds of races growing up, easily learned from him how to shoot interesting pictures and “took over the business” in 1968, and did it until about 6 years ago, when I was injured by an errant Stock Car at a local track and was pretty much put out of the picture-taking business.”
On Flickr look for bcgreeneiv’s Photostream. Great Colour 50’s and 60’s images taken in and around California. Check out the Kelso Dunes shots 1967, just fabulous. There are some 1200 photos in this stream, all great period pictures.
The VMCC also have a photographic archive which contains a good selection of motorcycling related images including copies of Triumph Factory Photographs. The VMCC have kindly given me permission to feature a few of the photographs from their collection on this site, for more information Contact the VMCC Library for copies.
Additional photographs of BSA are held by the Solihull Core Library and the Birmingham Central Library who have an extensive and very little researched collection of original and mostly unpublished photographs from the BSA Factory. Refer to collection number MS 321/C
I have also amassed an extensive collection of original photographs, brochures, magazines, bulletins and recently engineering drawings from BSA that I intend to share and I urge collectors to consider donating or at least sharing their materials with suitable organisations so that the information is not lost.