1964 Triumph Thunderbird

Price: US $9,500.00
Item location: Chicago, Illinois, United States
Make: Triumph
Model: Thunderbird
Year: 1964
Mileage: 27,896
Vehicle Title: Clear


In the 1960’s, ith the British motorcycle craze in full swing, he Triumph Motorcycle Company turned out one of its most well known machines. Please note that unlike other motorcycles on the internet for sale, ven the ones that say their bikes run perfect, his one really is in top running condition.

The condition of this machine is completely restored. Everything from the frame to the motor to the fenders has been restored back to the original factory specifications. The restoration was done approximately 15 years ago, nd it has held up very well over the years.

I believe I am the fifth owner from new, ut can’t be positive. This machine has been a part of my collection and is ridden. The bike is stored in a temperature controlled environment throughout the entire year.

When I purchased this particular machine, t was in the condition you see in the photos. Over the years, have kept up with the maintenance and go through the bike every year before the season making sure everything works correctly. All of the major engine, ransmission, nd braking components are operational.

The tires and tubes are in nice condition and are the correct type and size for the Triumph. The brakes have also been completely rebuilt, ront and rear.

The engine and transmission are original and are in perfect running condition. The bike is very easy to start and a new battery was also installed recently.

The paint was done when the bike was restored and in very nice condition. The paint scheme is original and the emblem on the tank was also restored. The set could be either original or restored, ut I can’t tell for sure. It is in very nice condition right down to the pan.

The Triumph on the road is very easy to handle, nd rides down the road tight, ith no shakes, himmies, r rattles. It shifts and accelerates smoothly and holds the road as it should.

There is absolutely nothing that needs to be done to this machine to ride, how, nd enjoy it. The new owner will have a fantastic machine that can be ridden and enjoyed as well as shown at any vintage motorcycle show.

I’m also always looking for interesting motorcycles to add to my collection, o if you have something interesting to share, lease contact me. I also have other British bikes in my collection, mong them a 1974 Triumph Trident, 974 Norton 850 Commando, nd a 1978 Triumph Bonneville 750 as well as an extensive rotary motorcycle collection made up of Hercules pre-mix and oil injected machines and Suzuki RE-5s. If you have specific questions, ust want to learn more, r are looking for something in particular, r just want to talk shop, lease contact me!


The description of this motorcycle is written to the best of my knowledge. However, am by no means an expert on Triumph motorcycles. Please don’t hesitate to ask for more photos and, f possible, ome and look in person before the auction ends. ALL SALES ARE FINAL! If you have any questions, lease contact me before the auction ends.

If you have any questions, lease contact me. If you live close to Chicago, encourage you to come and inspect the motorcycle in person.

In an effort to protect the eBay user information and to help ensure the authenticity of correspondence between sellers and bidders, Bay’s new listing format does NOT display any bidder information. Nevertheless, STRONGLY encourage bidders to contact me directly to answer questions or to verify correspondence. Seller reserves the right to not accept bids or sell the vehicle to anyone with a zero or negative eBay feedback rating.

This motorcycle is being sold as is, here is with no warranty, xpressed, ritten or implied unless there is a warranty in effect from the factory. The seller shall not be responsible for the correct description, uthenticity, enuineness, r defects herein, nd makes no warranty in connection therewith. No allowance or set aside will be made on account of any incorrectness, mperfection, efect or damage. Any descriptions or representations are for identification purposes only and are not to be construed as a warranty of any type. It is the responsibility of the buyer to have thoroughly inspected the motorcycle and to have satisfied himself or herself as to the condition and value and to bid based upon that judgment solely. The seller shall and will make every reasonable effort to disclose any known defects associated with this motorcycle at the buyer's request PRIOR to the close of sale. Seller assumes no responsibility for any statements regardless of any oral statements about the item.

Please remember that your bid constitutes a legally binding contract to purchase this item. If you require an inspection, ave it done prior to bidding. I strongly encourage all bidders to inspect the motorcycle personally or enlist the services of a professional inspector prior to placing a bid. After the sale, nspections are not recognized as a contingency to completing your obligation to your winning bid. If there are any questions regarding the above terms, lease e-mail prior to bidding.

Please do not waste my time or yours bidding on an item you do not intend to pay for. If you bid on this motorcycle and win, ou are expected to pay and pick it up in a timely manner!

I welcome ALL international bidders and am happy to assist with making shipping arrangements. I can also arrange crating for shipment on my end for a nominal extra charge. If you are an international buyer, understand it can take some time to arrange shipping, o I do not mind keeping the motorcycle for a longer period of time until pick up. Please contact me before the sale ends, f possible, o discuss the specifics.

Thanks for your interest!

For more on the Triumph motorcycle company and the Thunderbird, lease read on past the photos…


Triumph Motorcycles is a manufacturing company founded by Siegfried Bettmann in 1884. Bettman was a German immigrant who travelled to England and, t the age of 20, ounded his own company. The first name of the company was S. Bettmann & Co. Import Export Agency and his main activity was actually to buy motorcycles and sell them under its own brand.

Two years later, n 1886, ettman renamed the company to Triumph Cycle Company but, hanks financial backing provided by Dunlop Tyre, e registered it as New Triumph Co. Ltd one year later.

Schulte, Bettmann friend who joined the company, ecame a member of the management team of Triumph, upporting the evolution of the company in the manufacturing process.

The first Triumph motorcycle came in 1902 when the manufacturers installed a Belgian engine on one of their bikes. In 1903 they sold no less than 500 units of this model. One of the most important milestones in the company's history took place in 1905 when Triumph started producing completely in-house designed motorcycles.

Once the World War I started, ost companies stopped the production of motorcycles except Triumph which struggled to roll out new bikes. Moreover, he company supported the Allied war effort and even supplied the alliance with more than 30,000 bikes, ost of them being the model H Roadster.

After the war ended, chulte and Bettman didn't see eye to eye anymore because Schulte wanted to go into automobiles manufacturing but he ended up leaving the company. It turned out that automobile manufacturing was not such a bad idea so the Triumph company bought the Former Hillman car factory in Coventry and even built a car saloon in the city.

Back in 1939, riumph started experiencing financial problems and was bought by Standard Motor, hich was owned by John Sangster. It's interesting to note that Sangster was also the owner of Ariel motorcycle, ne of the main Triumph competitors.

Because their main production facility in Coventry was destroyed in the second World War, riumph set up another plant at Meriden, est Midlands in 1942. After that, heir biggest market, he US, equired more Triumph long distance riding bikes so the 650cc version of the Speed Twin was officially launched.

In 1951, riumph Motorcycle was sold by Sangster to BSA, ne of their main rivals, o he could become a member of the BSA board and finally the Chairman of the BSA Group in 1956.

During the 1960s, riumph came out with only a few notable bikes, ncluding a small performance 100cc 2 stroke vehicle called Triumph Tina and a more powerful one called Triumph Tigress.

During the 1970s, riumph struggled to become one of the leading motorcycle manufacturers, eleasing two advanced motorcycles, amely the Triumph 350cc Bandit and the Trident. Due to some financial problems, he Trident production moved in the BSA factory in Small Heath in 1974.

Unfortunately, 002 was quite a bad year for Triumph as a devastating fire destroyed the main factory just when the company was getting ready to celebrate its 100th anniversary. However, he manufacturer managed to revive the production line and set up a new factory in Thailand.


Model: 6T

Engine: 649cc OHV vertical twin

The Triumph Thunderbird is a British motorcycle introduced by Triumph in 1949 and produced in many forms until 1966. The name was used three more times for new and distinct Triumph model.


To capture the American market, he 6T Thunderbird used a variant of the earlier Speed Twin's parallel twin engine, ored out from 500 cc to 650 cc to give the added horsepower American customers demanded. The concept of enlarging the Speed Twin, he Thunderbird name and its 'paper dart' logo were thought up by managing director Edward Turner on one of his regular trips to Triumph's operations in the USA. The 'paper dart' logo was embossed onto the chain case cover on Thunderbirds from 1955 to 1962 and can be seen upon closer examination on the supplied photograph of the 1962 model. Previously, t appeared as a decal on the headlamp nacelle.

The 6T Thunderbird was launched publicly at Montlh?ry near Paris, here three standard-production bikes were ridden around a circuit by a team of riders who between them averaged a speed of 92 mph (148 km/h) over a distance of 500 miles (800 km). All three machines were ridden to the circuit and back to the Meriden factory.

Triumph obtained further lasting publicity with Marlon Brando's 1953 motion picture The Wild One, n which he rode a 1950 6T Thunderbird. In the book Triumph Motorcycles In America, here is reproduced a letter from Triumph's importers objecting to the producers as to the use of their machine in this film about rowdy motorcycle gangs.

From 1960, he Thunderbird acquired Turner's rear fairing nicknamed the 'bathtub' on account of its shape. This unpopular feature, ropped quickly in the USA market, emained in ever-abbreviated forms for the home market until disappearing altogether for the final year of production, 966. Before then, n 1963, he Thunderbird, long with Triumph's other 650 cc models, as given the Turner-designed unit engine. Throughout this time, owever, he Thunderbird retained its distinctive nacelle. A 1966 Thunderbird was prominently used by the leads in the popular 2006 romance film, nce.



The Triumph Thunderbird came when the quest for more power took the Triumph 500 as far as it would go & the decision was made to "punch it out" to a 650. The bore & stroke were increased, he same basic engine castings were used, long with the same rigid frame & running gear as the existing 500 line. But the 650 6T Thunderbird was all new! And it set the new standard by which all other motorcycles would be measured & soon virtually all other British motorcycle manufacturers were building 650 vertical twins.


Pre-Unit Construction refers to any 650 twin built prior to the 1963 model year (in other words, 962 was the last model year for 'Pre-Unit Construction'), ecause in 1963, riumph came out with a new "Unit-Construction" engine. Pre-Unit, r Non-Unit Construction means that the Engine Crankcase, he Primary Case and the Transmission are all separate components which are bolted together with brackets, n the frame. In the case of Pre-Unit Triumphs, nd many other Classic British Motorcycles, he transmission was actually rotated in it's mounts as the only means of adjusting the primary chain. Once the primary was adjusted, he final drive chain then needed to be readjusted. Non-Unit Construction was adopted by nearly every British bike maker as well as Harley-Davidson & Indian Motorcycles. Most position the final drive sprocket between the transmission and the clutch, andwiched behind the primary drive. This was done to keep the whole package rigid.


The 'Golden Years' for the Triumph Thunderbird were definitely the 1950s, hroughout which they were pre-unit. By the time unit construction had arrived in 1963, he Thunderbird line was already relegated to 'entry level-status' behind the Triumph Bonneville & Triumph TR6. In England they referred to this as the "cooking version", eaning a workingman's commuter bike, eant as basic transportation, ot a sporting bike. But, uring the 50's, ntil the arrival of the Triumph TR6 in 1956, he T-Bird was the hottest bike on the market.


In 1963, riumph introduced their 'Unit Construction' engine, hich incorporated the Engine, rimary and Trans all in one unitized housing. The cast aluminum case split vertically into two halves, ith the inner primary case going with the left crankcase half, nd the transmission housing going with the right. The result was an engine that was lighter, tronger, ore modern and cleaner than the Pre-Unit engine it replaced. And it made it possible to pull even more power out as the 1960s progressed. With all this, he age of the Pre-Unit Triumph was over, he 500 twin already gone unit-construction in 1959.

Unit construction brought with it many benefits, ome for the public, ome for the factory. They were certainly easier & less expensive to manufacture & assemble & were easier to maintain. Unit Construction saved 30lbs compared to the Pre-Unit Engine, rimary, earbox & Mounting Plates.


But the new engine wasn't the only big news. A whole new frame with a single front downtube replaced the 'flexy' duplex frame, irtually eliminating all the handling problems overnight. From this point on, riumph Motorcycles would gain a reputation as some of the best-handling motorcycles in the world.

The Unit Construction Triumph 650 twin soldiered on until it was punched out to a 750 in 1973 & beyond, ll the way to the end of Triumph & the last of the British Motorcycle Industry as we knew it. In fact, he 1983 Triumph Bonneville (a direct descendant of the unit construction engine introduced in 1963) was THE last Classic British Motorcycle to be built.


Throughout the nearly 4 decades since the release of the Unit Construction Triumph 650 twin, t remains one of the most attractive motorcycle engines in history. It's clean, ell-defined lines are distinctive & instantly recognizable.

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