I own a ’79 T140D myself. It’s pictured above, on display at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel CA in 2011. The day after this show I rode it in the Quail Ride, which took us through the hills around Carmel. It happened to be my birthday, and what a day! The T140D ran flawlessly, I was in the company of an eclectic collection of classic bikes, perfect weather, great riding country, nice folks…happy birthday to me.
1979 TRIUMPH 140D BONNEVILLE SPECIAL
Triumph did one of its best cosmetic redux of the classic T140 Bonneville, but it wasn’t purely cosmetic. The 1979 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special, as it was named, featured the Silver Jubilee’s upside-down shocks, a two-into-one exhaust header, and Morris mag wheels. Unfortunately, any potential power gains from the header were more than muted by the new ‘smogger’ cylinder head and Amal Mk II carburetors, designed to reduce emissions. Compression was reduced to just 7.9:1 in an attempt to reduce engine vibration. All 1979 Bonnevilles got the new head and carbs, along with Lucas’s new ‘Rtia’ electronic ignition system. The 1979 and 1980 T140D Bonneville Special was differentiated from run-of-the-mill T140E Bonnevilles by it’s all-black paint paint scheme with gold pin stripes, the 2-into-1 exhaust, and a set of stunning Morris mag wheels. I actually own one (pictured above), and they’re decent bikes to ride. The stepped seat isn’t all that comfy, they don’t have much power, and the smog-era carbs are finicky, both to tune and to ride. The 2-into-1 header sounds like crap, I like the sound of dual pipes much better. But, it was a handsome machine, and it did fairly well in the marketplace at the time, ringing the bell for Triumph yet again. There certainly are a lot of T140D running around today, I see them at auctions and shows all the time.
ABOVE: A rare color combo, blue and silver was available on the 1979 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special, but few were done so.
(Photos courtesy of MidAmerica Auctions.)
1979 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special SPECIFICATIONS