Vintage motorcycles hit jackpot for Mecum in Vegas

Terry Gambill and Clara Baker examine a 1950 Harley-Davidson | Bob Golfen photos
Terry Gambill and Clara Baker examine a 1950 Harley-Davidson | Bob Golfen photos

The Mecum motorcycle auction rolled into Las Vegas last weekend for the second time this year, adding the sale of about 400 vintage bikes to the nearly 1,000 that crossed the block in January. This was the first spring Vegas motorcycle auction for Mecum, and with $4.4 million in sales (not including auction fees) and an 80 percent sell-through rate, it most likely won’t be the last.

“Once again, Las Vegas proves itself as the premier vintage-motorcycle enthusiast gathering place,” said Ron Christenson, president of the Mecum motorcycle division. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1964 Triumph TR4

The early Triumph TR4 appears to be in excellent condition
The early Triumph TR4 appears to be in excellent condition

The values of certain cars in the classic car hobby don’t always make a lot of sense.

Take, for instance, the Triumph TR4. The most valuable TR4 roadsters are the later TR4A cars that have independent rear suspension. On the surface, this would make sense as you would think that having IRS would be an improvement over the earlier live-axle models. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1971 Triumph TR6

The Triumph TR6 is powered by a feisty six-cylinder engine
The Triumph TR6 is powered by a feisty six-cylinder engine

A vintage British roadster can be an expensive proposition both to buy and to service, especially if it has a six-cylinder engine. A typical Jaguar E-Type in driver-level condition costs a minimum of around $50,000, and even an Austin Healey 3000 will run you north of $35,000 for any car that can be driven immediately.

Happily, there is a six-cylinder British roadster that’s still affordable, the Triumph TR6, which offers about 60 percent in performance of an E-Type for as low as 20 percent of the price. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1968 Triumph TR250

The Triumph TR250 has a distinctive stripe across its hood
The Triumph TR250 has a distinctive stripe across its hood

British cars in the late 1960s were all about taking what they already had and rearranging it into a sort of stopgap measure to provide performance to their customers without incurring the increased costs of redesigning their old cars. Some of these efforts were weak but others were nothing short of brilliant.

Such as the Pick of the Day, a 1968 Triumph TR250, in which the company took the aging TR4 and TR4A and increased performance at minimal cost. The designers at Triumph thought that by adding an inline-6 to the TR4, they could get a proper sports car up to the task of modern expectations. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1946 Triumph 1800 roadster

1946 Triumph 1800 seats five in a compact package
1946 Triumph 1800 seats five in a compact package

Bicycles starting in 1863, and then motorized two-wheelers in 1902, and even a three-wheeler in 1903, but wasn’t until 1923, well into the automobile age, that Triumph produced its first motorcar.

By 1930, Triumph Cycle had become Triumph Motor Co., although during World War II, its primary product was motorcycles for Allied armies. The British company became part of Standard Motor with post-war automobile production resuming in 1946 with the 1800 sedan and roadster, cars designed to compete head-to-head with Jaguar. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1961 Triumph TR3A roadster

The 1961 Triumph TR3A offers a very British sports-car driving experience
The 1961 Triumph TR3A offers a very British sports-car driving experience

A Triumph TR3 was the first sports car in which I ever rode, and the most indelible memory is how the car was so low and the doors cut away so much that I could easily reach down and touch the pavement. Well, that memory and the one about the lovely driver, a friend of my mom’s named Brenda, was such that my 12-year-old brain was pretty much overwhelmed by the entire experience of riding along the New Jersey shoreline with a gorgeous blonde in a British sports car.

So naturally, the Pick of the Day holds a special place in my heart: a 1961 Triumph TR3A roadster painted Sky Blue and described by the seller as a rust-free original in superb restored condition. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1978 Triumph TR7 coupe

The Triumph TR5's wedge shape sparked controversy when it arrived in 1975
The Triumph TR7’s wedge shape sparked controversy when it arrived in 1975

When the Triumph TR7 was introduced in 1975, the ads called it “The Shape of Things to Come.” That was definitely the case as the wedge-shaped TR7 penned by Triumph designer Harris Mann was definitely a futuristic design, taking off from such shapes as those of the Lotus Esprit and Ferrari 308 GT4. Being this divergent from past Triumph design, though, TR7 was not what the average Triumph owner was hoping for, and the sports car was not very welcomed by the Triumph faithful.

The Pick of the Day is a 1978 Triumph TR7 coupe located in Windham, Maine, and is apparently a legitimate one-owner car with just 37,415 miles on its odometer and, according to the private seller, a completely original car that has been garaged since new. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1967 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle

The 1967 Triumph Bonneville is considered one of the best model years for the classic British bike
The 1967 Triumph Bonneville is considered one of the best model years for the classic British bike

One of the best things about vintage motorcycles is that you get a lot more collectible vehicle for your money that you do with cars. After spending almost a week at the Las Vegas motorcycle auctions, I still have motorcycles on my mind. As a result, the Pick of the Day is a vintage motorcycle, but not just any vintage bike: the legendary Triumph Bonneville. Continue reading

Pick of the Day: 1970 Triumph Spitfire Mk. 3

The 1970 Triumph Spitfire represents an affordable way into the classic British sports-car experience
The 1970 Triumph Spitfire represents an affordable way into the classic British sports-car experience

In the world we live in now, classic British sports cars have become less and less affordable. A Jaguar E-type roadster, even a Series 2 driver-level car, can cost more than $70,000, and a Triumph TR4 or MGA can cost more than $30,000. Compared with the classic car market as a whole, that might not seem like a lot of money. But many people do not have that much to spare for a classic car.

There is hope, though. One vintage British sports car that is still attainable whatever your budget is the Triumph Spitfire. The Pick of the Day is a 1970 Triumph Spitfire Mk. 3, which offers the classic British sports-car experience on a budget. Continue reading

My Classic Car: Petey’s 1973 Triumph TR6

Sketches show the desired look
Sketches show the desired look

I’ve had this car a few years. Like a lot of custom builders, your own car project seems to hit the back burner.

I restored many cars in my day and fell into the foreign car circle. Getting the pleasure of doing the small cars seems to be more fun.

I’m doing this car for SCCA racing. The TR6 is going to be a semi hot rod to my liking after I completely give her a going over. I will sell her to a happy customern in hopes to keep her tradition alive, like the commercial says: Don’t crush them, restore them. Continue reading