The first Triumph motorcycle of 1902 used a Belgian Minerva engine, but within a few years the Coventry firm – originally a bicycle manufacturer founded by German immigrants Siegfried Bettman and Maurice Schulte – was building its own power units. The first of these – a 298cc single-cylinder sidevalve – arrived in 1904. This first engine was not without its weaknesses, pistons and bores wore out quickly and the curious ‘tandem downtube’ frame in which in was installed broke, but these shortcomings were soon sorted and within a couple of years ‘Triumph’ was a by-word for reliability.
The company was soon involved in racing, and the publicity generated by competition success – Jack Marshall won the 1908 Isle of Man TT’s single-cylinder class for Triumph having finished second the previous year – greatly stimulated sales. By the outbreak of The Great War the marque’s reputation for quality and reliability was well-established, leading to substantial orders for ‘Trusty Triumphs’ for British and Allied forces. The 3.5hp model first appeared in 1907. Originally of 453cc, its sidevalve engine was enlarged to 476cc in 1908 and finally to 499cc in 1910 before being superseded by the 4hp model in 1914.
Another very early Triumph motorcycle this example has been stored very well in the collection and is offered in good overall structural condition, although in ‘barn find’ condition it will require complete restoration. A fantastic opportunity to acquire one of the earliest Triumph motorcycles.