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LOT 90

1962 Triumph 500cc 5TA Speedtwin Engine no. 5TA-H23816

Sold for US$9,200 inc. premium
Lot 90
1962 Triumph 500cc 5TA Speedtwin
Engine no. 5TA-H23816

1962 Triumph 500cc 5TA Speedtwin
Engine no. 5TA-H23816

In motorcycling, as in life, not all ideas are good ones. Take this partially enclosed Triumph 500 with its encapsulating rear bodywork, meant to shield the rider from road grime on England's constantly damp roads. In drier America, Triumph biggest export market, the sheetmetal structure that covered the oil tank, battery tray and tool box before continuing on to form the rear fender was seen as less than manly. It was derisively referred to as a "bathtub" for its likeness to an upside-down water closet fixture. Mechanics weren't keen about having to remove the panels to work on the rear of the bike either.

As a result, many of the bathtubs were jettisoned, so it is now uncommon to find a complete machine like this one from a Florida collection. The model was gone after 1964 – rumor has it the point was driven home to the Brits when Bud Ekins took Triumph design chief Jack Wickes behind his California shop and showed him rows of stripped body shells.

It has to be said, though, that viewed through today's eyes the design comes across as "of a piece," from the flared front fender to the teardrop headlight nacelle to that expansive bodywork with its multiple curves. Factor in the type's rarity and it's easy to see why Bathtub models have become more appreciated and quite collectible.

Full restoration of this matching-numbers 1962 example consumed an inordinate amount of the correct Amaranth Red paint. It is complete and authentic, right down to the ultra-rare underseat tool holder with all tools in place.


As with all Lots in the Sale, this Lot is sold 'as is/where is' and Bidders must satisfy themselves as to the provenance, condition, age, completeness and originality prior to bidding.

Saleroom notices

The frame number is H23816.

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  • 23 January 2019, 09:00 - 18:00 PST
  • 24 January 2019, 09:00 - 13:00 PST

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