1929 Triumph Motorcycles
Year of manufacture1929
1929 Triumph 494cc Model P
Registration no. KX 1790
Frame no. 1010534
Engine no. 255719
Offered for restoration
The first Triumph motorcycle of 1902 used a Belgian Minerva engine but within a few years the Coventry firm - originally a bicycle manufacturer founded by German immigrants Siegfried Bettman and Maurice Schulte - was building its own power units. The first of these - a 298cc single-cylinder sidevalve - arrived in 1904. This first engine was not without its weaknesses: pistons and bores wore out quickly and the curious 'tandem downtube' frame in which it was installed broke, but these shortcomings were soon sorted and within a couple of years 'Triumph' was a byword for reliability.
The company was soon involved in racing, and the publicity generated by competition success - Jack Marshall won the 1908 Isle of Man TT's single-cylinder class for Triumph having finished second the previous year - greatly stimulated sales. By the outbreak of The Great War the marque's reputation for quality and reliability was well-established, leading to substantial orders for 'Trusty Triumphs' for British and Allied forces. The 3.5hp model first appeared in 1907. Originally of 453cc, its sidevalve engine was enlarged to 476cc in 1908 and finally to 499cc in 1910 before being superseded by the 4hp model in 1914.
Shortly after The Great War Triumph introduced what a landmark machine in the development of the motorcycle in Britain: the Model P. A no-frills sidevalve-engined model, the latter debuted at the 1924 Motor Cycle Show and was priced at £42 17s 6d, at which level it undercut every other 500cc machine then on sale in the UK. Production was soon running at an astonishing 1,000 machines per week, the Model P's outstanding success undoubtedly hastening the demise of many a minor manufacturer. Production continued until the decade's end, by which time the Model P had spawned a plethora of derivatives - Models N, Q and QA among them - and lost penny-pinching features such as guide-less valves and the bicycle-type front brake.
Acquired for the collection in 1993, this delightful Model P is believed un-restored (there are traces of an original decal on the front mudguard) and is offered for restoration. Accompanying documentation consists of two old-style logbooks and a V5C registration document.