Sweet Nostalgia: 1965 Triumph T100SC
My love for all things old has roots in the small farm I grew up on in rural Pleasant Grove, north of the bustling state Capitol of California. I had a childhood full of climbing trees that had grown up through old cars, and building forts out of broken down tractor parts, swimming in creeks and canals and camping every summer. My grandparents (who owned the farm) had an area out back we all lovingly referred to as "The Junkyard", but to me, especially in my early teens, it was anything but junk; it was gold.
"Growing up in the country has it’s perks..."
Growing up in the country has it’s perks for grease monkeys and speed freaks. Long straight roads, barely any police presence, and if you did get caught blazing down Pacific Avenue at a buck ten on your old ratty 70s BMW motorcycle, headers glowing red, you’d usually get a yellin’ like none other, instead of jail time. Of course, Officer M knew my parents, so his wasn’t the only yellin’ I got. And it didn’t stop with Mom and Dad, or the Grandparents. I’d get it from everybody in town for a day or two…
"He told me it was an older Triumph..."
Fast forward to the winter of 2016. I found myself living an hour and a half south of my hometown. Still had my pre-unit. My Dad called me to tell me my old superintendent Mr. H was retiring, and that he went to his party back in Pleasant Grove. He also told me that Mr. H has an old motorcycle in his garage he wants me to take from him. Of course, I’m interested. At this point, not much else was said, as Dad didn’t have much more information. The suspense was killing me! Once I got in contact with him, he told me it was an older Triumph, and that it would just be easier if I came over and took a look.
I was blown away. It was an almost completely original (minus tires and fluids, etc.) 1965 Triumph T100SC “Sports Tiger”. The original mustard and white tank with the pale blue stripe separating the colors, black and grey seat, and an awesome dorky aftermarket rack on the back. It was a diamond.
I asked him where he got it, and he told me he picked it up 50 some-odd years ago from the original owner. The original owner was an Italian immigrant who had moved to San Francisco and just needed something to get around on. He saw the little scrambler while walking by the Triumph Dealer while in SoCal, and loved its “froggy look” (Mr H.’s words) and snagged it. He rode it around San Fran for a few months impressing the local ladies and managed to get the odometer up to 1800 miles before deciding that maybe San Francisco got a little too cold to have a motorcycle be your only form of transport. Pretty girls don’t like the cold.
Enter Mr. H, who bought the little machine, and then promptly moved to my neck of the woods, tucked it in his garage under a cover and mostly forgot about it for the next 50 years. Now it’s 2016, and he suddenly remembers he had an old bike in his garage, and put a little effort into getting it going again. New tires, air filter, fuel lines etc. During its resurrection from the dead, he managed to put another 22ish miles on the clock.
My dream machines are these sorts of Time Capsules. Bikes tucked away and long forgotten. Bikes lovingly cared for, before they begin their long sleep to be awakened by ones who would cherish them, ones who see them as more than just “that old bike,” or “that pile of stuff in the corner.” Bikes that are Original and Unrestored. In my opinion, low mile original and unrestored bikes like these are the closest we can ever get to the bike’s original feel.
I’m serious. The way an original, unrestored bike in this condition feels, is better to me than a totally restored bike. It has retained its original spark of life given to it at the factory at it’s birth. It’s something special, really. If you find one like this, grab it up and enjoy it before someone who doesn’t know any better destroys it. For all its inevitable leaks, squeaks and creaks, you’ll love it. I promise. Your garage floor might not, but you will.
For me, it’s a throw back to those innocent summers of my childhood. Bringing a discarded, tattered little motor sputtering to life and listening to it’s ragged heartbeat run up into a howl as I hurtled down that dirt road. I still can smell and taste the dust kicked up by my wheels, hear the crickets frantically trying to make way. I can feel the heat of the sun above, the wind whipping through my hair out there in the country, without a care in the world, but what Mom was making for dinner.
It is sweet nostalgia.