1939 Triumph Motorcycles 3HW


  • Year of manufacture 
  • Motorcycle type 
  • Engine number 
    3HW 46708
  • Lot number 
  • Condition 
  • Colour  
  • Location


1939 Triumph 343cc 3HW
Registration no. to be advised
Engine no. 3HW 46708

When war broke out in September 1939, Triumph's entire stock of completed civilian machines was requisitioned by the War Office. The Coventry firm went on to develop a 350cc twin-cylinder model – the 3TW – specifically for military use, only for the destruction of its factory in an air raid in November 1940 to scupper the project. Installed in new premises at Meriden, Warwickshire, Triumph recommenced production of the single-cylinder sidevalve 3SW and overhead-valve 3HW models. The latter was based on the pre-war Tiger 80 sports roadster, the engine of which was modified to incorporate rocker boxes cast integrally with the cast-iron cylinder head, aluminium alloy being in short supply. Triumph's single-cylinder models were used mainly by the Royal Navy for despatch duties and general liaison, with the less-powerful 3SW reserved for the WRNS.
This 3HW has recently returned to the UK from an elderly gentleman's private collection near Lake Como in northern Italy, where it has been for the last 50 years. The accompanying Italian registration document shows that the Triumph was registered in Vicenza on 22nd June 1950. An older restoration, the machine features an upswept exhaust system, alloy wheel rims and chromed mudguards. Re-commissioned and run several times, it has not been ridden and will require the customary safety checks before returning to the road.