Although Edward Turner's Triumph Speed Twin caused a sensation when it appeared at the 1937 Motorcycle Show, few of its admirers can have guessed how influential the design would prove to be. True, there had been vertical twins before; indeed, Turner's predecessor at Triumph - Val Page - had designed one a few years previously, but Triumph's newcomer established a formula that would be adopted by all of Britain's major motorcycle manufacturers in the succeeding decade. And whereas previous vertical twins had suffered from excess bulk, Turner's was lighter and narrower across the crankcase than the contemporary single-cylinder Tiger 90, and from certain angles looked just like a twin-port single. Performance proved exemplary for a road-going 500, better than 100mph being attainable under favourable conditions.
The example offered here dates from 1953, by which time the Speed Twin had been upgraded with a stronger 8-stud cylinder barrel (replacing the original 6-stud) and Triumph's own telescopic front fork. This particular machine also has the Edward Turner-designed optional 'Sprung Hub', which endowed the rigid frame with a measure of rear suspension movement. 'UFC 987' benefits from a full 'last nut and bolt' restoration carried out regardless of cost in 2006, since when the vendor has only ridden it for 36 miles (the engine is still running in). Kept in dehumidified storage with a collection of other classic vehicles, the machine is offered with an old-style logbook and old/current V5/V5C registration documents.