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1969 Triumph T100C Part 2
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After years of lusting after a Triumph 500 twin, Richard Holt located the classic bike of his dreams on eBay - being sold by one Jim Pogson. Tell us about it, Jim!

In the late 1980s I renovated several 1960's Triumphs re-imported from the USA. These were mostly non-runners which made rewarding projects. Our American cousins seemed to have spent more time on light customisation than on maintenance. Luckily, they generally lost interest in the bike before clocking enough miles to do serious damage. In contrast, UK bikes often appeared to have been run into the ground by owners who regularly serviced them using chisels and lump hammers!

One of the final re-imports I acquired was a 1969 T100C 500cc twin. Something in the quirky specification of this supposed off-road model appealed to me. The one I bought had typical cosmetic tweaks: a repaint and sawn-off drag pipes instead of the original high level exhaust with 'chip basket' heatshield.

The T100C relaxing at Jims... 1969 Triumph T100C

Fast forward 15 years and life has moved on. I still own Triumphs, but not so many miles go under their wheels and some are visibly deteriorating. I resolve (not for the first time) to sort things out in the bike shed.

My eye falls on the T100C. Untouched since purchase, it has moved house with me and sat patiently awaiting attention. I have never even put petrol in the tank! Rational thought tells me that this project will never happen. There are higher priorities on my time - including a T150T Trident I last taxed for the road in 1992. The T100C becomes an acid test of my resolve to sort out my motorcycling life. It must be humanely despatched for the benefit of its stablemates.

I wheel the machine out for a closer look. It's still a promising project. Dirtier and furrier than on previous acquaintance, but everything rotates, cranks or slides as appropriate. There are a few minor battle scars, but nothing is seized or smashed. How should I approach a sale? I've previously disposed of some spare parts through eBay. The classic motorcyclists in that community seem a good bunch. For the first time I'll try selling a vehicle through eBay. I truly don't know the internal condition of the T100C - I never did 15 years ago - so auction seems an appropriate way to sell.

I whack in a 10 day listing, supported by a photo pack showing the T100C from all angles. The number of people watching my listing rockets, but bidding is slow. I'm surprised how little contact I receive from either watchers or bidders.

I enjoy a series of emails with 'Bob'. He is concerned that the bike may not have the late crankshaft and timing side main bearing which my sales pitch describes. Weren't these improvements introduced at the same time that the crankshaft breather was upgraded from the rotary style on my machine?

To reassure him, I quote the 1969 factory parts catalogue and a reference from Triumph guru John Nelson. He bats back a contradictory reference from Triumph guru Harry Wooldridge. Then, at the eleventh hour, Bob writes to say we should both look at the bike instead of the books. In the photos he can see the oil pressure switch and timing cover blip which clearly indicate an end-feed crankshaft!

Bidding closes with a final flurry. The winner scrapes in on auto bid, beating 'snipers' in the closing seconds - but by less than one auto bid increment. He is someone I had spoken to on the telephone, but who was unable to travel to view. We converse by email and make arrangements for collection of the T100C.

Random Triumph stuff on

The following Sunday my buyer arrives with a rented van. I hope and believe he will not be disappointed with his purchase. He accepts the offer of coffee and we stand in the kitchen discussing geese and chickens, Cornwall, herbs in the garden, etc., etc.. I guess he's assessing whether I'm a reasonable person with whom to do business. When I eventually suggest we view the T100C, he appears very pleased and soon hands me the stipulated wad of folding money. From there, he will tell you his own tale.

In retrospect, I consider the whole experience a reasonable result:

  • I completed a sale pretty quickly from start to finish, without having to invest too much time overall

  • I achieved a price I considered reasonable in the circumstances. Not top dollar, but recognising some degree of risk as to the engine internals

  • The buyer picked up a good project at a fair price. Judging by restored T100Cs recently for sale, he could turn an attractive profit if he can find time which I can't

    This story may seem very matter of fact, but I enjoy classic vehicles without becoming sentimental about them. No bike of mine ever had a name! I do hope this episode will generate a few more classic miles. I can focus on getting another machine on the road, whilst the buyer progresses the T100C. Using classic bikes is surely what our hobby is all about!


    So there we are, says Richard Holt, on 14/5/06 I finally got the bike that was coming home to me all these years, and from a fellow RealClassicist (By a cosmic twist of fate, Jim Pogson, the T100C's seller was also an RC reader). Nice.

    We've no idea who 'Bob' is, though!

    Moody Johanna the 69 Triumph T100C 1969 Triumph T100C

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