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Triumph Collector Stumbles Across Ultimate Collectible, the 1901 Prototype

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from by Daniel Patrascu

At the turn of the last century, a time when horse-drawn carriages turned into automobiles and bicycles into motorcycles, most of the companies active back then wanted a piece of the new action, and turned their businesses around to include the production of the new mechanical wonders.

So did a British enterprise that went by the name Triumph Engineering, which used to make bicycles. Which, if you come to think of it, are just like motorcycles, only without engines, hence easy to re-make.

And that’s exactly what Triumph did with one of its bikes, fitting it with a Minerva engine and opening the doors to a history that has spanned so far for 120 years. That production motorized two-wheeler came to be in 1902, but as you can imagine, a prototype had to be made before that. A prototype that, like many others of its kind, was considered lost for a long time, despite rumors surrounding its existence floating around.

Extremely conveniently-timed, the first 1901 Triumph motorcycle prototype just resurfaced, having been uncovered by a collector named Dick Shepherd, and put back into the spotlight by the company itself.

According to the available details, attesting to the motorcycle’s authenticity are the engine number, “consistent with references in Minerva’s engine records of a 1901 first Triumph engagement,” and a “letter from Triumph, dated in 1937, that outlined the bike’s unique origins and provided key details.”

As far as we understand, the bike was uncovered some time ago, as the collector had time to restore it.

“As a lifelong passionate fan of the history and achievements of this incredible British brand, to have discovered this amazing survivor and restored it to the glorious condition it would have been in when it first went on display in 1901, has given me an immense amount of satisfaction,” Shepherd said in a statement.

The prototype will be, of course, included in the celebration events the British company has planned for next year, and it will be shown, together with the millionth Triumph manufactured in Hinckley, in a special display being set up at the factory.


4 DECEMBER 2021 – An amazing historic find, discovered and restored by leading vintage Triumph collector Dick Shepherd, the 1901 Prototype rewrites the history books, adding a whole new chapter prior to Triumph’s official sales starting in 1902.

Long rumoured to exist and referenced within advertising and reviews that appeared in 1901, this first Triumph prototype was developed from a standard Triumph bicycle, with an engine provided by Belgian manufacturer Minerva, in order to generate interest and gauge the public’s demand for a Triumph motorcycle.

Dick Shepherd said “Having been approached by a friend of a collector, who had sadly recently passed away, to evaluate an old Triumph I was incredibly excited to discover that the bike they had featured unique details that were not present on the first production Triumphs. Along with the bike, the collector had also received a letter from Triumph, dated in 1937, that outlined the bike’s unique origins and provided key details.”

“With an engine number that is consistent with references in Minerva’s engine records of a 1901 first Triumph engagement the historic significance of this motorcycle became incredibly clear.”

“As a lifelong passionate fan of the history and achievements of this incredible British brand, to have discovered this amazing survivor and restored it to the glorious condition it would have been in when it first went on display in 1901, has given me an immense amount of satisfaction.”

First unveiled at the UK’s Motorcycle Live show the 1901 prototype will feature in dedicated event at Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience on the 14th December, where the machine will be ridden in public for the very first time in over 100 years.

This incredible, historic motorcycle will then be on display, alongside the millionth Hinckley Triumph, in a new, specially created 120-year anniversary display, hosted within Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience.

The Triumph Factory Visitor Experience is free to visit and is located at Triumph’s HQ in Hinckley, England and is open daily Wednesday through Sunday, from 10am – 4.30pm.

Steve McQueen’s first Husqvarna motorcycle may sell for a small fortune

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by Gary Gastelu from

1968 motocross bike valued at $100,000.

Motorcycle enthusiast Steve McQueen owned dozens of bikes over the years, but a few are more special than others. This 1968 Husqvarna Viking 360 was the first of the brand’s bikes owned by Steve McQueen. (RM Sotheby’s).

McQueen had a particular penchant for Husqvarna motorcycles, like the one he rode in the “On Any Sunday” documentary, and one is coming up for auction at the RM Sotheby’s Monterey, Calif., event on August 13.

It’s not just any Husqvarna, but the first one he ever owned.

His Solar Productions movie company purchased the 1968 Viking 360 from Swedish motocross rider Bengt Åberg just after he competed in a race on it in California.

The single-cylinder two-stroke was fully restored in 2014 and remains in mint condition, so its next owner will have to decide if they want to chance messing it up to find out what it’s like to ride in McQueen’s riding boots.

RM Sotheby’s estimates the Husky could sell for up to $100,000, which is a far cry from the millions that many of McQueen’s cars have sold for, but quite a lot for a dirt bike.

Final-Year 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead on auction

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by Daniel Patrascu from

How do you prefer you vintage Harley motorcycle? Do you like them restored to their former shine, or would you rather go for some modifications to make them unique, but somehow spoil them in the process? Well, if you’re a collector, there’s only one possible answer to that.

At the end of April, auction house Mecum will be holding its massive, annual motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. This year, a prominent presence on the auction block is that of an impressive Harley-Davidson collection belonging to a single, Tacoma, Washington resident museum owner by the name of J.C. Burgin.

The incredibly well preserved 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead we have here is part of the collection. It entered Burgin’s possession all the way in 1983, and then underwent a careful restoration process that left the two-wheeler looking like it does now.

Wrapped in blue on the body parts that support paint, the two-wheeler retains the chrome shine the bike maker envisioned it for the Knucklehead engine. Most of the FL’s original hardware was preserved, from the front fender lamp to the horn cover. There’s even a red ball tank emblem in there for effect.

The motorcycle is powered by the same powertrain back when it was made, meaning a 74ci unit running a four-speed transmission.

The fact that this bike comes from 1947 might boost its price a bit in the upcoming auction. That was the last year of production for the Knucklehead, as starting 1948, the era of the Panhead began. For reference, back in its day, a motorcycle such as this sold new for around $600 – that would be roughly $7,000 adjusted for inflation.

Now, of course, they sell for a hell of a lot more on the collector’s market. For this particular 1947 Harley-Davidson FL Knucklehead, Mecum gives no estimate as to how much it is expected to fetch.

Evel Knievel Museum adds long lost motorcycle to their collection

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by Keith Horinek from

The Evel Knievel Museum located in the Historic Harley Davidson Motorcycle shop held an unveiling of a long lost motorcycle used by Knievel in his daredevil jumps.

Knievel’s second surviving original American Eagle jump bike was presented to the Evel Knievel Museum by Louis “Rocket” Re and the Stroop and McCormack families. The ceremony took place in the Evel Knievel Museum.

The motorcycle was used by Knievel during his tenure as a motorcycle stunt performer in the 60’s and 70’s.

The motorcycle was purchased by Dave Stroop of Belt Montana in 1972. Stroop then rode the bike for several years and eventually stored the bike in his barn. Years later the bike was found and restored by Knievel’s longtime friend and riding partner Re. Stroop then donated the motorcycle to the museum.

Rescued 1969 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster Is Why Simpler Builds Are Better

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by Daniel Patrascu from

Motorcycle shows and the Internet as a whole are suckers for heavily modified bikes. The more extreme the build, or the more different from what it used to be, the more applause and recognition the makers and two-wheeled machines get.

Unfortunately, this year we had a lot fewer chances of experiencing custom bikes. Most of the 2020 shows were canceled due to the health crisis, and custom garages, having been closed for a few months, didn’t come up with as many new exciting things as before.

Luckily, our generation has the Internet, and ideas like that of Harley-Davidson of bringing 60 builders from 10 countries together on Youtube, in short and separate videos meant to present all the hot builds of 2020 and the past years. Called The No Show, the event brought to light back in June some of the finest creations in the industry.

As you already guessed, most of them were hardcore modifications of existing production bikes, or in some cases rough builds made from scratch. That’s not the case with this kind of pure XLCH Sportster.

Part of the family that was born in Milwaukee in 1957, the XLCH was nicknamed Competition Hot due to its potent 883 cc engine fitted in the frame (1,000cc from 1972) and its sportier appearance: it was less embellished than its siblings, almost stripped-down.

The same can be said about the bike in the video below. Presented during Harley’s The No Show by Dan Sheridan from Sandy Hook, Connecticut, it is less of a custom build and more of a rescue project.

Allegedly the bike sat for an unknown number of years stored away by some Harley dealer, before being rescued. It was sold to Sheridan close to two years ago, and he tended to it with enough care as to make it ready for a number of motorcycle shows in 2019.

The rebuild, says Sheridan, was inspired by photos of bikes from the 1960s that showed custom meant just a few modifications here and there meant to make the two-wheelers not necessarily unique, but special to the one who rode it.

By the looks of things, Sheridan managed to achieve what he set out to do, as the bike does look like a blast from a much simpler and brighter past.


Restored 1st Gen Harley-Davidson Sportster Up for Grabs

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by Daniel Patrascu from

In the entire history of Harley-Davidson, which is over a century, the longest-running nameplate has been the Sportster. It was introduced back in 1957 as a successor to the Model K, and it is presently one of the most appreciate bikes in the world.

When they first hit the market, these bikes were a sight to behold, despite the fact they shared much with the Ks that preceded them, from frame to fenders, and the large gas tank and front suspension in between. Powered by a flat-head engine fitted directly on the frame, it proved to be quite a challenge for riders in terms of vibration.

This doesn’t seem to have been such an issue, though, as the bikes were made in this configuration for years, well until 2003 when rubber isolation mounts and tie links were fitted to reduce the vibration felt by the riders.

Because there were so many of them made for so long, finding a Sportster on the open market is a breeze. It might not be so easy finding a Sportster from the very first production year, though, especially one in what seems to be very good condition.

Exactly such a bike popped up on the list of vehicles that went under the hammer last week during the Mecum Glendale auction in Arizona. For reasons unknown, it failed to sell, so it is still up for grabs.

The seller of the bike claims this is a complete restoration of a 1957 Sportster, but provides no actual details on the work that has been done to it.

With the gas tank and fenders painted red, chrome on the handlebars, parts of the engine and exhaust, and skim tires, this Sportster sure is a sight to behold, especially for those with a soft spot for older versions of one of the most popular motorcycles still available today.