Triumph 1939 “ Speed Twin” 498 cc OHV vertical twin frame # TH 8559 engine # 8-5T-9799
In 1936 the Triumph Cycle Co. that had been struggling for a number of years, is taken over by Jack Sangster and renamed Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd. Edward Turner becomes the new Works Manager and he immediately starts to rationalize things: he reduces the range of machines, but keeps the excellent bottom end designs of the Page designed singles.
The “Tiger” range is introduced in September 1936 for the 1937 model year.
There are three models: the 250 cc T 70, the 350 cc T80 and the 500 cc T 90.
Apart from the bottom ends, everything is new.
There is a new, compact gearbox and a new, enclosed valve mechanism.
The brakes are improved and the oil pump is given a larger capacity.
The machines have compact frames and silver and blue enameled tanks with chrome panels.
Attention to styling has always been a strong point with Turner: the Tigers look good and they are good and this new range of machines helps Triumph back to the top.
In September 1937 the range is expanded by a revolutionary new design, the “Speed Twin”.
The press is elated: the machine is relatively light, handles and steers excellently, is very powerful and not overpriced.
And it’s good looking too, in its dark red “Amaranth” color setting: the “Speed Twin “ will become the first of many successful Triumph twin models.
The engine delivers 28.5HP @6000rpm at a compression ratio of 7:1. Top speed is more than 90 mph and the machine weighs 360 lbs.
In The Classic Motorcycle of November, 1992 there is an interesting article about two 1938 Speed Twins by Patrick Click.
This elegant and sporty machine comes with tank top instrument panel and Smiths speedometer and has been restored a number of years ago; in that process she has been fitted with a 1938-type engine.