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Triumph Relives History With Newly Discovered 1901 Prototype

A view of Triumph's 1901 prototype motorcycle

Recovered and Rebuilt for the Masses

Triumph’s very first prototype has just been discovered, and it’s not often you find something this special in such mint condition. 

The first prototype  from Triumph was, according to an article from Motoroids, “Long-rumored to exist and referenced within advertising and reviews that appeared in 1901…this first Triumph prototype was developed from a standard Triumph bicycle, with an engine provided by Belgian manufacturer Minerva.”

A view of Triumph's 1901 prototype motorcycle

The prototype had a specific use, too – to “generate publicity and see if just maybe the general public might be interested in buying these ‘motorcycle’ things,” according to an article from CycleWorld.

We appear to have been quite interested – so after being restored by leading vintage Triumph motorcycle collector Dick Shepherd, the British motorcycle manufacturer has placed the prototype in the Hinckley museum.

A view of Triumph's 1901 prototype motorcycle

“Having been approached by a friend of a collector (who had sadly recently passed away) to evaluate an old Triumph, I was incredibly excited to discover that the bike they had featured unique details that were not present on the first production Triumphs,” explains Shepherd. 

“Along with the bike, the collector had also received a letter from Triumph, dated 1937, that outlined the bike’s unique origins and provided key details. With an engine number that is consistent with references in Minerva’s engine records of a 1901 first Triumph engagement, the historic significance of this motorcycle became incredibly clear.”

A view of Triumph's 1901 prototype motorcycle

“As a lifelong passionate fan of the history and achievements of this incredible British brand, to have discovered this amazing survivor and restored it to the glorious condition it would have been in when it first went on display in 1901 has given me an immense amount of satisfaction,” Shepherd finishes. 

Oh – and that’s not all. 

Triumph will also be treating us to the pleasure of seeing the old machine run again. On December 14th, we’re told that the prototype “will first be unveiled at the UK’s Motorcycle Live show…[and] feature in the dedicated event at Triumph’s Factory Visitor Experience.”

There, somebody will mount the vintage beastie and take it for a run ‘for the first time in over a century’. 

A view of Triumph's 1901 prototype motorcycle

Be sure to check back for updates, drop a comment letting us know what you think, and as always – stay safe on the twisties. 

*All media courtesy of AutoEvolution*