Author Topic: 1974-Triumph Bonneville--Strange Animal  (Read 6166 times)

Offline easy1

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1974-Triumph Bonneville--Strange Animal
« on: March 22, 2009, 12:44:11 PM »
Good day to all, new here from USA. A question for anyone. I have a Bonneville, 650, titled in 1974. The most knowledgeable gentleman in my area that has dealt with British bikes most of his life, calls it a "strange animal". This is a T120V model, with a 1973 650 engine, set in a 1974, oil-in frame. My friend tells me that a Canada plant had the 650 engines left over, and the US wanted 650 Bonnevilles, so, they were set up and titled as 1974. My best understanding is that 1974 models were 750cc, this why my friend called it a strange animal and told me to hold on to it. I have now owned this bike for 23 years. I never doubted my friend,but, has anyone ever heard of this particular set-up before? :-?

Offline L.A.B.

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Re: 1974-Triumph Bonneville--Strange Animal
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2009, 10:03:56 PM »
Quote
My best understanding is that 1974 models were 750cc, this why my friend called it a strange animal and told me to hold on to it.



Triumph did indeed build 1973 production year T120 Bonnevilles and also a certain amount of 1974 production year T120 Bonnevilles alongside the T140 models.

 So '73 and '74 production year model T120s (not to be confused with any title date) are not exactly uncommon.

However the factory engine and frame numbers would normally have matched, so the frame could be either 650 or 750, and in any case many late 650s were made using a certain amount of 750 parts  (late 650 engines had the 750's triplex primary drive for instance).

The '74 year model 650s were built around the time that the Triumph workers downed tools and occupied the Meriden factory as they had been told that the factory was to close and that they were to lose their jobs (known as the "Meriden blockade", mid-September 1973 to March 1975), all production ceased, and stocks of assembled and partially assembled 650s and 750s were locked inside the factory, many not being released until May-November of 1974. The last '74 650s finally being assembled by the new Meriden worker's co-operative in early 1975.  

If you can give the two letter code prefix and the first few digits of both the engine and the frame number, then it may give clues as to the origin of the engine and frame?

The only definitive answer is likely to come from either the UK VMCC or TOMCC library sections, as they have access to the Triumph factory records.



http://www.vmcc.net/

http://www.tomcc.org/





« Last Edit: March 22, 2009, 10:12:32 PM by L.A.B. »
L.A.B.

Offline easy1

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Re: 1974-Triumph Bonneville--Strange Animal
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2009, 12:00:01 AM »
Thank you, that is good info.

Offline L.A.B.

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Re: 1974-Triumph Bonneville--Strange Animal
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2009, 12:27:47 AM »
If your T120's engine and frame both carry the two letter date code prefixes for '73 & '74 and the serial numbers fall within the ranges for those years then there's a good chance both left the Meriden factory as parts of two separate machines? I've not heard of any "Canada plant"  assembling Bonnevilles?
Although of course a few spare engines and frames could have been assembled into complete machines in Canada during that period to satisfy demand, as none were readily available from the factory because of the 18 month blockade?

I'd guess that if any were built outside the Meriden factory then they would have had odd serial numbers which were not part of the normal production numbering sequence, as engines and frames supplied as spares would not have had serial numbers stamped on them?
« Last Edit: March 23, 2009, 12:39:54 AM by L.A.B. »
L.A.B.

Offline met9991

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Re: 1974-Triumph Bonneville--Strange Animal
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2018, 10:39:41 PM »

this is an article on the 1974 TRIUMPH T120R/RV BONNEVILLE....


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K84WEnBFwf8&feature=youtu.be