Sunday, August 4, 2013

Steib on Triumph

Admittedly I'm not a huge sidecar fan. I can however appreciate their historical significance, especially on British bikes. In the UK post WWII a sidecar rig was a more affordable family car for a lot of folks so sidecars were pretty common. Some brands, like Panthers, were specifically built to be tugs. Lot's of the cars you see on early Triumphs don't fit very well stylistically. Bullet nosed Steib's are one of the few sidecars that really look to me like they are supposed to be on a Triumph. Ironically they are actually German built.

This one is on a BMW R67 but you get the idea
Steib's have an interesting American lineage. Jack Mercer, who worked for Triumph's East Coast American distributor TriCor persuaded Dennis McCormack to become the national distributor for Steib sidecars. Mercer fitted twin Steibs on a Thunderbird, dubbed the "Steib-Bird," that was taken to the Daytona races in 1952 as a publicity stunt.

Word has it when a TriCor racer later needed a replacement front wheel it was raided off the Steib-Bird. One commonality you find in photos from both American Distributors (Johnson Motors and TriCor), the guys involved all appeared to be having a pretty good time "at work."

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