1961 Triumph TR5C, customized & signed by Von Dutch, superbly original art piece

1961 Triumph Trophy

Price: US $24,900.00
Item location: Santa Monica, California, United States
Make: Triumph
Model: Trophy
SubModel: Von Dutch signed custom!
Type: Dual-Purpose
Year: 1961
Mileage: 7,842
VIN: TR5C H22827
Color: White
Engine size: 500
Vehicle Title: Clear

An original Von Dutch custom1961 Triumph TR5C Engine Number: TR5C H22827Frame Number: H22827 International Six Days Trial successes in the late 1940s prompted Triumph to develop their range of the 500cc TR5 and the 650cc TR6. introduced for 1956. The 1961 TR5C model as seen here was the direct result of the great Edward Turner-designed vertical twin engine first appearing in the Triumphs of 1938. While the early engines were mated to a separate transmission. by 1957 Triumph had update its design into a "unit construction" whereby the gearbox occupied the same casing as the crankshaft thus promoting a more reliable engine and one that established Triumph as one of the world's leading bike manufacturers. One of the indelible images of motorcycling. and film. history is the scene in 1963 classic The Great Escape when Steve McQueen attempts to launch himself over a wall of barbed wire. Ostensibly he was piloting a German WWII motorcycle although it was a British-built Triumph in disguise. Back home in the USA another Triumph was waiting in the wings to take part in the filming. but the call never came and the 1961 500cc TR5C offered here traveled a different course. landing in the talented hands of a legendary artist/cult hero known as Von Dutch whose signature alone has probably sold a few million T-shirts. Kenneth Graeme Howard. better known as 'Von Dutch'. was one of the 20th Century's great eccentrics as well as being a gifted mechanic. artist. pin-striper. metal fabricator. knife maker and gunsmith. Born in 1929. he learned how to paint from his father Wally. a sign-writer working in southern Los Angeles. and in the mid-1950s was instrumental in reviving the lost craft of pin-striping among US customizers. 'Dutch' started striping bikes but as his fame grew he began attracting clients who wanted their cars painted. Business snowballed to such an extent that 'Dutch. who famously detested money and the commercial side of his work. gave up and went into hiding. He resurfaced around ten years later in Arizona where he made guns and knives as well as continuing his painting and customizing career. In the mid-1970s Dutch moved back to California to take over the job vacated by Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth at the Brucker family's 'Cars of the Stars and Planes of Fame' Museum at Buena Park. When the Museum closed in 1979 Dutch was kept on as custodian of the Bruckers family's private collection in Santa Paula. California. where he died in 1992. The unique Triumph TR5C offered here was customized and autographed by the legendary American hot-rod icon and automotive stylist. Von Dutch. now recognized by aficionados as father of the post-war California custom car art movement. In a private museum setting for the several years. our vendor tells the story of this motorcycle's unique provenance. "When the bike didn't make the cut for the McQueen movie. the original owner sent it to Von Dutch for one of his paint jobs. That was in 1966. The story goes that he wanted an American flag painted on the bike. But Von Dutch. being Von Dutch. ignored the request and did his own thing. as if using the bike as a metal canvas for whatever was moving through his head at the time. In any case. it's a one of a kind Triumph. The bike was a time capsule when I found it. It had been sitting there in North Hollywood for 20 years waiting to be rediscovered. " The bike retains its original black and yellow California license plate. with the last registration from 1972. In short: the motorcycle offered here represents a rare opportunity to acquire a genuine example of American automotive art created by the 'father' of the movement and one of the earliest connections with Steve McQueen. a relationship that would last years and numerous custom bikes. Mechanically. the bike is quite untouched. Obviously. based on the importance of the art. it has been little used. The engine has good compression and I think it would take little re-commissioning to make it run and run well. The forks and shocks are in great working order. as are brakes. It would take very little to be a daily rider – ad the coolest one around! The bike is presented in good condition. superbly original and unrestored. There are a few scratches and blemishes. but it has been left exactly as it was built by Von Dutch 52 years ago. meticulously and caringly preserved. The bike’s uniqueness guarantees it to be the star attraction at a wide variety of events including runs. rallies. shows. concours and club events; anywhere. in fact. where the fusion of art and the motorcycle is appreciated by enthusiasts.

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