Rare Find



September 22, 2011

Discovered in its original shipping crate, a 1957 Triumph TRW sold at Pebble Beach last month for $34,500. HVA’s Canada correspondent, Nigel Matthews, reports on this amazing find and provides an interesting quandary in our Facebook question of the month.

The Triumph motorcycle company began designing its 500cc TRW model in 1943, but by the time the bike went into production World War II was over and the British military had a surplus of motorcycles used by dispatch riders.

The production run of the TRW began in 1950 and continued until 1964, producing some 15,939 examples. A number of those were used by the military in countries around the world, including Canada, Germany, Holland, Pakistan and South Africa.

Automobile barn finds have been plentiful of late, but motorcycles aren't typically in that mix.

So I was pretty excited to come across this incredible find at the Mid-America Motorcycle auction in Monterey last month. The pictured 1957 Triumph TRW came out of Canadian Military storage approximately 40 years ago, and has never been out of the original factory shipping crate. This twin-cylinder Triumph has chrome wheel rims and gold pinstriping accenting the green paintwork. It is supplied with the complete tool kit and other accessories, including the hardbound owner's manual and sold for $34,500.

No word on what the Triumph’s new owner plans to do with this amazing find. But with a mere 15 test miles added by the factory, if the new owner would assemble and ride it, every mile added to the odometer would certainly devalue it. A tough decision, to be sure.

What would you do? The HVA would like to know. To answer, please head over to the HVA’s Facebook page and take a moment to answer our online question of the month.

Comments

  1. Bruce L. Pearson Las Cruces, NM

    I would ride it -- but very carefully!

  2. Charles Taylor san francisco

    As recently as twenty-five years ago, these things were still turning up in crates. A local Triumph dealer in Ct. sold several of them-having bought them from the Canadian miltary. I restored one for a customer several years later. He had bought it from the fisrt owner, who had stuffed it in a shed which only covered half of the bike. This presented some interesting problems. When running, it was a zippy little thing for a 500cc side-valve, with excellent low and medium range power, and a 70+ top speed. Fun to ride-but I doubt that the current owner will do so. Motorcycles in crates generally wind up as objects of speculation/ investment. Especially if some one paid almost 35 k for the thing.

  3. John Rose Flat Rock, MI

    RIDE IT!! (Sparingly, of course, and show it.)

  4. Mike IL.

    I would put it together,video the assembly,and ride it,there is more to life then money,100 miles or so would not effect the price that much.

  5. Phil R Trenholme Los Gatos, CA

    I'd keep it intact as purchased. As you indicated any additional mileage would devalue it as it's uniqueness would be greatly diminished.

  6. Dave Rosenfield Smithville, Texas

    He should call a plumber and make a fountain of it... They were crap when they were made ...riding it would be a lot less fun than he paid for! DR

  7. John Polcari Connecticut USA

    Leave it in the box if you are a true collector!!!!

  8. Roger Bosse United States

    I would leave it in the crate as a display if you had room for that. Or have it displayed in a museum. If you want to ride one, they are available for a lot less.

  9. David Nelson Granger, IN

    I have to assume he has money to burn so devaluing it would be no big deal. Therefore, RIDE IT. To me the fun of owning any old vehicle is the driving of it.

  10. Frank Souza Cumberland, R.I.

    If the owner is an invester, He'll leave it alone. If he's a true auto or cycle enthusast, he'll ride it. I'd ride it and show it off.

  11. mike Mars

    assemble it and hire Henry Winkler to jump a shark tank with it. AAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY...........

  12. Lonna Colorado

    I bought a 1973 triumph trophy trail 500, brand new back then. Loved the throaty sound, and power. It was versatile, on and off road, and solid... Weighed lots more than its Japanese counter parts at the time. But the kick start almost cut my Achilles tendon in half, when it kicked back!!!! Not once, but twice! Thank God for some surprising tough Gucci boots! And a motor mount bolt fell out after just 11,000 miles... The carbs worked when they felt like it .. these bikes need a lot of TLC...For this guy, keep it as is, and buy another one that's already put together & running to drive... How many more of these are out there??? If you can afford to pay $34.5K for this, keep the novelty, and buy a 'driver'

  13. David Ross Tampa Fl

    Nice bike and a nice story. When I was a kid back in Toronto, there was a huge army surplus store called Hercules Sales downtown. They sold real surplus stuff. I can recall they had several crated military bikes stacked on the isle for the princely sum of $500. They were Harleys!!

  14. Max E. Stewart Las Vegas, NV

    Personally I would leave it in the crate, and loan it to a Museum, What a great find, don't devalue it by riding it, many people now and the future generation Motorcycle Lover's would love to see this Triump on display and the fact it has never been taken from it's original shipping crate....AWESOME

  15. DrewWilliams Wisconsin

    It stays crated … that’s this bikes true value, that it’s never been out of its packaging!

  16. DrewWilliams Wisconsin

    It stays crated … that’s this bikes true value, that it’s never been out of its packaging!

  17. Chris f Connecticut

    I would put it together, paint it flat black, put on a flame retardant suit, light myself on fire, and ride as fast as I possibly could, and call myself ghost rider!

  18. brian maloney usa

    this one should stay as is in the crate. i would value it more historicly than my 7 indians or my hemi crocker not as much in dollars but its only new in the box once

  19. brian maloney usa

    this one should stay as is in the crate. i would value it more historicly than my 7 indians or my hemi crocker not as much in dollars but its only new in the box once

  20. Makalah I'm grateful you made the post. It's cleread the air for me.

    I'm grateful you made the post. It's cleread the air for me.

  21. Abner What kind of puppy?? Different breeds need a bit dineerfft approach. Nothing crazy mind you, but a terrier is definately dineerfft than a spaniel. See what I am saying??I would take the puppy out for a really long walk later than usual, and cut the water intake a bit earlier as well.The barking should be ignored, and I know it sucks. put the crate farther away from where you are sleeping.The problem with many dogs when you take them out when they bark, thinking that they have to go potty, the little weasels figure out that they can bark, and you come and get them. For many dogs, this is enough to encourage them to bark all the time, and not just for potty.One of the things this could say, is that the puppy is not getting enough exersize, so try that one first. Sometimes if they have a long long playsession at night, that will wear them out enough. Sometimes, they are just smart buttheads and then life is interesting. LOL

    What kind of puppy?? Different breeds need a bit dineerfft approach. Nothing crazy mind you, but a terrier is definately dineerfft than a spaniel. See what I am saying??I would take the puppy out for a really long walk later than usual, and cut the water intake a bit earlier as well.The barking should be ignored, and I know it sucks. put the crate farther away from where you are sleeping.The problem with many dogs when you take them out when they bark, thinking that they have to go potty, the little weasels figure out that they can bark, and you come and get them. For many dogs, this is enough to encourage them to bark all the time, and not just for potty.One of the things this could say, is that the puppy is not getting enough exersize, so try that one first. Sometimes if they have a long long playsession at night, that will wear them out enough. Sometimes, they are just smart buttheads and then life is interesting. LOL

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