1959 Triumph Thunderbird
ABOVE: This 1959 Triumph Thunderbird has more than a healthy amount of patina. In fact, if it wasn’t all in one piece, it might be a basket case. Sorry I couldn’t do better on a photo, but it was the only one I could find that I had the rights to use. If you have a ’59 T-Bird, please send us some pictures.
T-BIRD – BY THE NUMBERS
For the 1959 model year, all continued the model designation of “6T” and had an engine prefix of 6T as well. Engine and Frame Numbers ran from 020581 to 029362, a span of 8,781 units, built from October 9, 1958 to February 9, 1959, which was a production run of only 4 months exactly.
The prior 3-piece crankshaft was replaced by a stronger, lighter one-piece forged steel crank with a bolt-on central flywheel. The vacuum SU carburetor was replaced with an Amal Monobloc Type 376/210. A Lucas RM15 alternator was installed to increase output over the RM14 unit it replaced.
From engine #023941, the gearshift camplate was induction-hardened to reduce wear. From engine #024029, the clutch sprocket was also induction-hardened. An oil level indicator was added to the inner gearbox cover.
1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD CYCLE PARTS
The front brake cam lever was modified to improve its braking abilities, and those thus-modified were marked with an “X” on the lever. US models now came with a safety strap on the seat. This was the alt year for the single downtube frame (aptly nicknamed “Whip Iron” for it’s tendency to flex so much as to be dangerous. The last Triumph 650 with a Whip Iron frame was a 1959 Triumph Thunderbird, Engine & Frame #029362.
1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD PAINT COMBOS
The standard paint colors for the 1959 Triumph Thunderbird were as follows: The petrol (fuel) tank was Charcoal Gray. The tank badge had white lettering on a black background. The mudguards (fenders) were also Charcoal Gray with a Black center strip, lined in White. The front fork covers/headlight nacelle were solid Charcoal Gray. And the oil tank and battery box were Gloss Black, along with all the other painted parts on the bike. The one exception is the front hub, which was painted an Eggshell Black.
1959 Triumph Thunderbird SPECIFICATIONS
Bore & Stroke
Final drive sprockets
Air-cooled OHV vertical twin, non-unit
649cc / 40.0 ci
71mm X 82mm / 2.79″ X 3.23″
8.5:1 (US & export); 7.0:1 (UK)
34 bhp @ 6500 rpm
1/2″ X .335″ X 5/16″ chain, 70 links
24T X 43T
4-speed constant mesh, right foot shift
5/8″ X .400″ X 3/8″ chain, 101 links
18T X 46T
Brazed lug, rigid
Telescopic fork, hydraulic damping
Swing arm, 2 Girling dampers
8″ SLS drum
7″ SLS drum
3.25″ X 19″
3.50″ X 19″
55.75″ / 141 cm
31″ / 77.5 cm
5″ / 12.7 cm
3 Imp gal (US); 4 Imp gal (UK & export)
395 lbs / 179 kg