This looks like a continuation of Portland, Oregon builder, Kenny Dreer's Norton. He needed investors so he let them get controlling interest and when he finally had a running Proto-Type, the investors, bought him out and stopped the project. Last time I talked to him, a couple of years ago, he was not a happy camper to say the least. The bike in the photo is one of the Dreer Nortons. I wish the new owner the best with his project, the Dreer Norton deserves a chance.
Dreer: word commonly in use in Scotland meaning "sad", or "dismal" or "unappealing" as in "aye, a gey dreer day". A day when that soft, insistent drizzle penetrates Barbour suits and only stops when it senses the marrow in your bones... common in summer...
But a new Commando, using modern technology like the new Bonneville, and as reliable, now THAT's something I might buy.
No , but he invested significant capital into starting what has become a major company. I recall lots of scepticism when the initial range was announced , but I saw the factory ,as my business had become a supplier to them , and immediately realised Bloor knew his stuff and this was going to succeed.
No , he made his money from house building. Actually started out as a plasterer , then started to buy and sell property. He bought the Triumph name etc when the original Triumph eventually collapsed and started the new Triumph with £75M of his own money , never borrowed anything from a bank.
Its a facinating story the reappearance of Triumph,I actually own one of the LF Harris Machines that were made under license from Bloor ,hope the Nortons get off the ground . just a brief story. al
In the late 1950s, the Triumph Motorcycle Company at Meriden, England, produced their most successful, and what was to become their most well known motorbike, the Bonneville.
The bike was a modified version of the previous Thunderbird model - a 650cc with twin cylinders and carburettors to make it the fastest production bike of its time. In the early '60s it was the bike that most coffee bar cowboys lusted after with its wild acceleration and handling. On a good day, with the wind in the right direction, the rider prone and a lack of flapping clothing, the production model could push 115mph, and lightly breathed on could top the ton 20. It was also said that it 'looked as if it were doing a hundred miles an hour while standing still' and was known affectionately by its riders as 'the Bonnie'
It was named after the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, USA, where, in 1959, ridden by a Texan, Johnny Allen, it exceeded the motorcycle speed record with a speed of 214.47 miles per hour. In order to do this sort of speed, the bike itself was encased in a low, cigar-shaped streamliner body with a small stabilising fin and decorated with the Lone Star of Texas on the nose. The record was never officially recognised by the governing body, the Federation Internationale Motocycliste as they alleged that incorrect timing equipment had been used.
The Bonneville remained in production until the demise of the Triumph company in 1983 when, after the closure of the factory, a prolonged sit-in by the work force, and a reopening as a workers' co-operative, they finally succumbed to economic pressures. Even then, such was the enthusiasm for the model that a licence to produce Bonnevilles was granted to enthusiast Les Harris, who carried on producing a limited number of bikes known as 'Harris Bonnevilles' from a small factory in Devon until 1988.
The Bonneville evolved over its 20-odd year production history, but not always for the better. The major part of the production was aimed at the export market, primarily to the USA, and increasing laws on noise emissions took their toll on the bike's performance. Eventually the engine size was increased to 750cc, partly to maintain the bike's sporting abilities. The early Bonnevilles, particularly from 1961-2, known as 'pre unit' models because they had a separate engine and gearbox, are the most sought after by enthusiastic collectors and bikers suffering from fits of nostalgia, while the bikes built around 1968-70 are generally thought to be the most 'sorted'
It could fairly claim to be the 'Fastest Motorcycle in the World' as during the '60s it notched up an impressive list of world records and wins in production bike racing. In '62 another American, Bill Johnson, pushed the record to 230mph and in 1970 Bob Leppan went to 264mph in another streamliner named Gyronaut, this time with two Bonneville engines in tandem. In England and Europe the Bonnie won several endurance races including the Thruxton 500 miles, and in '69 piloted by Malcolm Uphill won the Production TT in the Isle of Man at an average speed of 99.99mph. This included the first lap of the TT course at over 100mph by a production bike.
The site of the old Meriden factory is now a housing estate which includes a 'Bonneville Close' which is probably the only road to be named after a motorcycle. A new company now produces Triumph motor cycles using the old model names on modern bikes. They have not as yet used the Bonneville name; perhaps they will in the future, but hopefully it will be on something rather special as it has a hard act to follow. The Bonnie still has an enthusiastic following and there is an active Triumph Owners Motor Cycle Club whose members still keep the motors running.