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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Classics at Beaulieu: 1949 Triumph 6T Thunderbird

1949 Triumph 6T Thunderbird at Beaulieu.
Photo by Kate Tompkins
About a year ago I spent a few days in London, and took a side trip to the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu. While I did do several blogs about the Museum, it seems I never finished my series. So, picking up where I left off, here’s a classic British motorcycle, a 1949 Triumph 6T Thunderbird.

The manufacturer is the Triumph Engineering Company Limited. According to Wikipedia, Triumph originally made bicycles (it was founded in 1885 and started building bicycles in Coventry in 1889), and began producing motorcycles in 1902. There’s been more than one change of ownership since then, but Triumphs are still being built today.

A lot of them were built for the Allies during the First World War. After that, the company history gets complicated. But yes, it is the same company that made Triumph cars. The company was split in 1936, with one half continuing with motorcycles while the other concentrated on cars. They both ran into financial trouble between the war and were bought by other companies.

Just like many of the post-war British cars, the Thunderbird was designed for the American market, based on the already successful Triumph Speed Twin. With a 650 cc 2 cylinder engine, it could do 90 mph. And the Thunderbird name? They ended up licensing that to the Ford Motor Company.

New, this bike would have run you just under 200 quid.

For more information on the Triumph Thunderbird, check out http://www.classic-british-motorcycles.com/triumph-thunderbird.html.


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