Triumph prototype rewrites history books

Riley Riley

Triumph motorcycles has revealed the discovery of the very first prototype ever built.

Long rumoured to exist and referenced in advertising and reviews in 1901, the first Triumph prototype was developed from a standard Triumph bicycle.

The engine was provided by Belgian manufacturer Minerva, in order to generate interest and gauge the public’s demand for a Triumph motorcycle.

An amazing historic find, discovered and restored by leading vintage Triumph collector Dick Shepherd, the 1901 Prototype rewrites the history books, adding a whole new chapter prior to Triumph’s official sales starting in 1902.

“Having been approached by a friend of a collector, who had sadly recently passed away, to evaluate an old Triumph I was incredibly excited to discover that the bike they had featured unique details that were not present on the first production Triumphs,” Shepherd said.

“Along with the bike, the collector had also received a letter from Triumph, dated in 1937, that outlined the bike’s unique origins and provided key details.

Triumph 1901 Prototype 4
Triumph 1901 Prototype

“With an engine number that is consistent with references in Minerva’s engine records of a 1901 first Triumph engagement, the historic significance of this motorcycle became incredibly clear.

“As a lifelong, passionate fan of the history and achievements of this incredible British brand, to have discovered this amazing survivor and restored it to the glorious condition it would have been in when it first went on display in 1901, has given me an immense amount of satisfaction.”

The Triumph prototype will be placed on display, alongside the millionth Hinckley Triumph, in a new, specially created 120-year anniversary display, hosted within Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience.

The Triumph Factory Visitor Experience is free to visit and is located at Triumph’s HQ in Hinckley, England, and is open daily Wednesday through Sunday, from 10am – 4.30pm.


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