Once upon a time, someone somewhere took apart a 1938 Speed Twin and didn’t put it back together again. So when John, its current owner, found it around a decade ago, the rigid / girdered Triumph was in a ‘very poor condition. It had been stored in an old garage for at least 50 years. It was dismantled for some engine repairs which never got completed.’
Despite the decades of decay, at least John had the whole motorcycle to work with, so he set about gradually restoring it. ‘I cleaned up and powdercoated what I could,’ he explains, ‘and had new mudguards made using the originals as templates. I painstakingly rubbed down all the frame and tinware ready for painting, and had new rims and spokes put on the original hubs by Central Wheels.’
Then John reached the pivotal point of any project. He ran out of steam and, as he freely admits, he’d also reached the limits of his mechanical know-how. So the Speed Twin went on hold for several years. Then John met Wesley Walls, who works at the National Motorcycle Museum, and they struck a deal for Wesley to complete the work. Eighteen months later, John was able to collect the revitalised bike; ‘he has done a remarkable job and we are very pleased with it.’
John and his partner Jackie were happily showing off the Speed Twin at this year’s Classic Motorcycle Day at Crich Tramway, and were delighted when it was voted the Best British Bike in the show. They went home with a RealClassic concours award – aboard an 80 year-old motorcycle that now looks as good as new!