Friday, 5 June 2009

God Bless America

Bill Johnson and Edward Turner

There`s no doubt that Edward Turner was a brilliant engineer , his vertical twin designs were the blueprint that all the other British manufacturers tried to emulate. He also had an eye for styling , the pre unit motors , especially , are works of art .
However , it seems like whichever book you you read about Turner or Triumph , you get the feeling that he had very little interest in his bikes being used in competition, because he saw them more in terms of practical transport . I think this was also the reason he wanted , towards the end of the Fifties ,to start wrapping his bikes up in cumbersome bodywork . For me , putting a `Bathtub` on a Thunderbird is like making a stripper wear a Burkha.
Turner also seemed to think 500cc was the optimum displacement for a twin and it seems he would have liked to restrict performance for the sake of practicality.
It was only through pressure from the US (a massive export customer for Triumph)that the 650cc Thunderbird came to be, the rest is history , God Bless America!


  1. Imagine, America exerting power and influence to get what they want!

    At least it worked out.....this time.

  2. Nicely said Aubrey. Politics aside Richie, it is a classic story of two men, one a superb engineer/designer and the other a visionary businessman working together across the continents to create a phenomenon that has become the everlasting Triumph Motorcycle scene!