Author Topic: Research on Triumph 3HWs or 3SWs  (Read 9201 times)


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Research on Triumph 3HWs or 3SWs
« on: May 18, 2005, 10:18:34 PM »
I'm in the process of research for a book, and I'm running into a problem with one of my characters, who has managed to get his hands on one of the excess motorbikes sold off by the British Army after WW2.  (The book mostly takes place in 1948 England.)

The problem is that I know nothing about motorcycles.  I've spent a few days doing research, but most of what I've found is way too technical for me to understand it.  

I've figured out that what he owns is a Triumph 3HW or 3SW (both historically accurate, and according to the pictures are similar to what I had in mind).  While the British Army had refurbished and repainted their bikes before selling them on the civilian market, I'd rather this guy have found his in a dilapidated state, and thus be involved in trying to get it back to prime working condition.  

Is there anyone who can point me in the right direction for what he might need to do with his "new" bike?  What sorts of things would be involved in refurbishment, things it might have been difficult for him to find or replace, or any technical jargon he can spew?  I don't want either of us to look like we don't have a clue.



Offline 2nd_chance

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Re: Research on Triumph 3HWs or 3SWs
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2005, 03:29:42 AM »
From what I remember being told (not young enough) most bikes sold from the WD were well bulled up so would have been OK.
I am doing up a Triumph 3SW at the moment that my Father-in-law dragged off a dust cart way back 1960's some time. Its a bit sorry at the moment but nearly all there pity there is no clutch. Its been sprayed over the green paint with black its been well looked after before it was dumped I guess someone came a cropper and it got thrown out.

Tim Barker

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Re: Research on Triumph 3HWs or 3SWs
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2005, 04:52:23 PM »
Most surplus bikes were sold back to the trade and refurbished, I have a copy of The Motorcycle magazine from 1946 with lots of adverts for ex-military machines.

Have you considered a black market machine. Mine left the factory for a depot in Wales in 1945 and doesn't re-appear untill 1948. There are also lots stories of people buying lorries at auction and finding bikes dumped in the back. There must has been many stolen or lost. A friend tells a story of an uncle who was employed filling in gravel pits with bikes and jeeps at the end of the was so as not to destroy the market for new machines. I'll bet a few of those walked.

By 1948 Triumph were totally committed to their twin programme so they were not making any spares for the pre war singles, therefore your guy would have to rely on stuff the dealers had left on shelves from before the war. Apparently a firm called H&L Motors of Stroud (glos) & Birmingham bought a lot of surplus spares from the WD so that would be a possible source.

In terms of what would be difficult to come by suggest that you could contact the Vintage Motorcyle Club they still have many members who around at the time.

If required I could let you have details of the things I've had to do to mine, I've also got some manuals of the period so the various jobs are detailed in the language of the time.
Good luck with the book