'66 Desert Sled (Better Late Than Never)

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by earwig, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. earwig

    earwig Crowbar of Embrayage

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    Poor old Trudy.

    [​IMG]

    Twenty years is a good stretch by any measure.

    Far too long to be abandoned to the forgotten corners of uncounted garages, lofts and warehouses, while her master chased one hopeless relationship or business after another.

    She had run, off and on, over the years, had a few laps around the track with other vintage racers, been subjected to the indignities of stripped lights, safety wire and more than a few cheap aftermarket parts. She's rumored to have even worn another bike's plates, when one owner couldn't afford to insure her . . .

    Receiving the occasional polish and wax, or having her valves and timing bits experience the odd slap and tickle kept her alive, but she watched the others get ridden regularly. They'd come and go, sometimes be replaced by shiny new bikes, and all the while she'd wait neglected in the cobwebs.

    Not that she'd lost her pride. Quite the contrary, she stood defiantly oblivious to her neglect, giving her master a sly wink now and then, to keep him enthralled. She knew her power, and was secure in her ability to eventually seduce her master into giving her all of his attention.
    #1
  2. elite-less

    elite-less As above, so below

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    ah yes… the scales always find a way to level out. You best be thankful she only had eyes for you. :evil
    #2
  3. spartanman

    spartanman regret minimizer

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    Your long-lingering lass may need her sludge tube douched out before you jump her frame. :evil
    #3
  4. Boston813

    Boston813 Been here awhile

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    I can't wait to follow along in the hopes that I will have some time this year to get some work done one mine.
    #4
  5. earwig

    earwig Crowbar of Embrayage

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    When I moved back to Portland from L.A., in 1990, I found a live/work loft in an old building on the East side. The building owner was a trust fund kid who had great taste in lots of the stuff I like. He collected cars, motorcycles, guitars, modernist furniture and neglected industrial property. Tough life.

    His primary bike was a beautiful black and white '58 Duo Glide :tb (thanks to Flying Eyeball for Harley history info). I could only afford an old Honda CM450, but he'd talked his brother-in-law into an old British bike. It was a bitsa that had been assembled from whatever was left over in a tired local British motorcycle shop that was closing it's doors. '66 Bonneville frame, '72 TR6R motor, '69 forks and front brake and various other cycle parts of dubious origin.

    Well, it only took one attempted ride and a little spill for the BIL to swear off riding forever. The spill had snapped the sidestand lug and stoved in the headlight, along with the usual torn rubbers and bent 'bars. His pride damaged, he cursed the poor Triumph and left it leaning against a column on the first floor of the loft.

    After walking past her for a few months, and realizing he wasn't about to regain interest, I inquired as to what it might take to get him to part with her. He said he'd paid $650 (a great price, even then) and figured that's what she was still worth. All I had was $500, but the sight of the green cash overcame his objections swiftly, and she was mine.

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. earwig

    earwig Crowbar of Embrayage

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    Now I was going to be cash strapped until the next paycheck, but I had a Triumph!

    Wheeling her into the freight elevator, I started to notice a few bits missing. I asked the BIL, and he said his friend had started to try to "fix" the bike, because it wasn't running anymore. He'd get the missing parts for me. Uh huh.

    A brief inventory showed the zener diode and the entire contents of the timing housing were missing. Well, there's your problem!

    I was able to bump the headlight shell and rim back into shape, and tidy up various things, but the BIL was never able to produce the missing pieces. She spent the next several months, through the Winter, displayed in my loft. By Spring I was able to source the needed pieces and, with the help of a friend, get her running again, but that was only the beginning.

    The BIL had never produced a title. I could have demanded my money back, but I couldn't part with her. I did some searching through the DMVs of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California and came up with nothing. In the intervening months I'd gotten married, had an overseas honeymoon, moved and expanded my business . . . and begun to discover that the marriage wasn't working out too smoothly.

    And thus began Trudy's life of neglect.

    There was never a shortage of running bikes, crises or just general chaos in my life (like everyone's), so she was relegated to garage fixture status. Something I never found the time to address, but could never part with.

    I can't explain to anyone, especially myself, how I could possess a classic motorcycle for two decades without finding the time to put her right. Several attempts to get her titled ended with frustration and the answer always seemed to be spending money on a lawyer to get it sorted. Because she was never a priority, I simply didn't have a budget to deal with it. I was always just going to get to her later . . .

    Poor old Trudy.

    [​IMG]
    #6
  7. earwig

    earwig Crowbar of Embrayage

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    Clearly I'm not keeping your attention, so here's a teaser photo:

    [​IMG]
    #7
  8. Drilldogger

    Drilldogger Been here awhile

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    Wow, I like Trudy in all her outfits. Show us yer panties Trudy!!!!
    #8
  9. adiablolex

    adiablolex Lost again

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    no please carry on :D
    #9
  10. pinocono

    pinocono Husky Dü

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    Ooh, you don't play fair. All right, I'm awake now.
    #10
  11. earwig

    earwig Crowbar of Embrayage

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    So . . . last June it was becoming clear my work schedule would be slower than usual over the Summer. At about the same time a friend explained to me the process to go about getting Trudy titled. I won't explain the details, but within a few weeks she had a title and a plate! :clap

    She's a total bitsa, nothing matches, so it wouldn't make sense to go for a hardcore resto. Also, I wanted to use her for bar-hopping and blasting around fire roads so she couldn't be too precious. I've done a few cafe racers in the past and I thought about a bobber, but I've just seen so many of both in the last few years and wanted to do something different.

    I'm going to be honest and share my actual inspiration, despite the fact that it's pretty embarrassing. :shog My wife was cleaning out some old magazines from her work breakroom and found an old issue of "Vanity Fair" with a cheesy shot of Bruce Willis riding a Triumph on the cover. She brought it home to show me the bike.

    Well, damn . . . it was a cool old desert sled!

    [​IMG]


    OK, I don't usually look to Hollywood for inspiration and I know it's cheesy as Hell, but I don't care. The bike is just plain cool.

    So, that did it. I decided to turn her into a period style desert sled.
    #11
  12. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Very cool. Trudy is lucky to have you, contrary to what you may think. She could have had a hard life, somebody beating her senseless everyday and sitting outside in the cold and rain because she wasn't house-broke. But, now she's ready for action, been resting in wait to pounce on your unsuspecting warm heart. Good for you:thumb Can't wait to see more pictures of the "old girl" and hear tales of heroism and adventure.!:D
    #12
  13. datchew

    datchew Don't buy from Brad

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    Oh my. I'm now seriously interested. The tires really do it.
    #13
  14. Maxacceleration

    Maxacceleration Awol

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    Earwig your desert sled idea is a fine bike. :thumb
    Great bar hopper (and curb hopper :evil). :evil
    It will be good at donuts too. :wink:

    So this is the finished bike?
    The aged seat looks killer
    #14
  15. Xcuvator

    Xcuvator Justa Venturer

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    Bruce Willis or not, good idea. There to many bobbers and street trackers out there trying to be some kind of special cool.
    and:
    In my garage is this 750 Tiger, I have been trying to figure out what to do with ....
    #15
  16. oregoncoast

    oregoncoast Racing Like a Noob

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    :clap
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  17. marksbonneville

    marksbonneville Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #17
  18. guns&coffee

    guns&coffee Gnarly!

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    Mr McQueen would be proud. I'd have to take her by and show her to one of last legends since he's out in CA as well (Mr Smith, of course)
    I'd love to do something like that too. Have to until funds are avail for a crazy idea like that.
    #18
  19. Otis the Sasquatch

    Otis the Sasquatch Long timer

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    PLEASEPLEASE!

    I just got here. I'll pull up a chair and wait.:D




    That would be just the ticket for the Ozark Mountain fire roads I used to wander.


    Otis
    #19
  20. Xcuvator

    Xcuvator Justa Venturer

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    I did a search for old pictures of Malcom Smith for something or another and never saw a picture of him on a Triumph, though he must have been on one or two.
    #20