Thursday, January 5, 2012

1951 Triumph Thunderbird restoration

Rod has owned this Triumph for over 30 years and it has sat for close to that in his shed by the beach. Over the years the machine started to deteriorate. It's funny how we look at the things we love most and know we have to do something about it before they are lost forever but never do. I know this first hand as i've let go many a rare car due to time, money issues and sometimes just a loss of motivation.
Rod decided to do something about it, he bit the bullet and rolled the Triumph into Trojan Classic Motorcycles to give it a new lease on life.
We gave the Trumpy a look over with Rod and layed down a plan which would suit his budget and acheive the best possible result without doing a concourse restoration.

Sit back, grab your favorite beverage and enjoy the show!

Rod explained that the engine was a runner in it's past life and he did ride the bike. We decided to prime and check compression etc to attempt a start. Although heavily corroded and dirty, we managed to give the old girl a kick and with a few splutters and coughs, the bike started. We then proceeded to do some mild tuning and checking. The result was quite good and we were confident that this one will be OK with a carb and magneto rebuild.

The gearbox was also working and all gears shifted smoothly. But the outside needed work to get it looking decent as did the engine. The alloy and chrome parts on both were in a sorry state. The cast iron head and barrels were also rusty and dirty.
To get things on the road we started to strip the bike down to a stage where only the engine and gearbox remained.

Both wheels require complete strip down and rebuild. The rims are too far gone so we are replacing them with a new set.

Staunchions and bearings were ceased into the triple trees and took some time and effort to free.
These will also be completely torn down and replaced with new parts.
The nacelle needs to be aligned and made to fit properly. The heart of the wiring loom starts here.

 Header pipes and mufflers will be sent away for re-chroming along with other parts. Petrol, oil tank, fenders and nacelle had a reasonable coat of paint so we agreed that a good clean and detail would be enough to get them back up.


Most parts still work but look tired due to corrosion. Where ever possible we try to restore rather than replace genuine parts with repro.

 Chrome parts to be sent away for re-plating.
 Forks ready for inspection and re-build.

Carb stripped, inspected, cleaned and re-kitted. Wheel hubs also stripped, blasted and painted two pack black.

Frame, mounting plates, footpegs, rear stand, brake lever and assorted parts colour matched and painted. We now begin to detail and build the bike.

New UK rims laced to fully rebuilt hubs with SS spokes and fitted with Avon classic tyres.

Inner primary cover Hydrotech cleaned and repaired, outer cover satin polished as with timing and gearbox cover. Clutch and cush drive re-built and re-aligned.

Wiring in place and all electricals are functioning. We also fitted the completely re-built front end and nacelle. The saddle is an after market universal large type with 6" chrome springs. Some slight modifications to make the saddle suit the frame but it turned out great. The petrol tank, oil tank and battery tray are fitted along with the rear guard, chainguard and rear stand. The rear section of the guard will be removed to fit the wheel to the frame at a later stage. Control levers and throttle fitted and ready for adjustment.

The original regulator was cleaned, checked and adjusted. The unit as a whole is meant to be black but the cover looks nicer bare. We also designed and fabricated a stainless steel battery strap system and mounted a 6V battery inside a black rubber dummy box.

Rear wheel, chain and brake fitted and adjusted. The complete  re-chromed exhaust system looks beautiful and sits well.

 Magneto reconditioned and timing set.                         Front wheel in place with brake.

 Extensive work to get this engine looking good considering we did not strip it down. The head and barrels were wire brushed and painted. Outer covers satin buffed and polished.

More detail and polishing to get the paint and chrome back up to a more than acceptable finish.

With some final tuning and adjusting we prepare to test ride the Triumph. It's a great feeling to get on a machine like this knowing it has been dormant for so many years. The ride is sweet and everything is fine. We call Rod and give him the good news. Rod has not seen his bike since the day it came to us so he's in for a pleasant surprise.

Trojan CM mechanic Niel takes the Thunderbird for a test ride.

And Rod is a happy man indeed, the owner of the Triumph above left (the one without the beard). We helped Rod load the bike onto his truck and he was on his way.
That was the beauty of a restored motorcycle!

1 comment:

Quaffmeister said...

Nice.... Very nice!