I stumbled across this story recently and really liked it. The following is only an excerpt but the whole story is well worth reading. I first saw the 1950 Triumph
Thunderbird when it was introduced at the 1949 Show and decided that it
could be categorized as a 'must have'.
placed my order on December 29th 1949 with Gus Kuhn who at that time
ran an emporium in the Clapham Road, near the Oval. In those days
Triumph were not off the shelf and I was not too disappointed to be
quoted six months or so delivery time. I got the call in the last week
of June and took delivery on the 1st of July.
I was part-exchanging my January 1949 Tiger 100 on
which I had done 16,840 trouble-free miles and so was totally familiar
with most aspects of the Thunderbird. Gus gave me a hard time in the
haggling but I was content with the deal. He had a raging cold, which he
attributed to the fact that his Austin A40 Devon Saloon had a heater
and he was missing out on the fresh air. I would have pointed out that
the windows wound down but felt that that sort of remark could adversely
affect the deal, so stayed shtumm.
I persuaded them to put another quart of petrol in
the tank, completed the administrative aspect and then I cast my leg
over for the first experience of 34bhp. All the Triumphs I've owned have
been easy starters and this one was no exception. First prod and she
was away, quieter than the T100, but then, so much younger. The power
characteristics were different, unsurprisingly, and I was quite pleased
at the level of urge exhibited so far down the rev scale.
I think I've posted photos of this bike before but at the time I had no idea it was built by Von Dutch.
This 1949 Triumph 6T has been reworked by Von Dutch
and converted into a classic bobber, a style of motorcycle that was in
huge demand in Southern California during the 1970s and remains
enormously popular today.
1949 was actually the first year of production for the Triumph 6T
Thunderbird, it was a motorcycle created to appeal to the American
marketplace and as such it was fitted with a bored 650cc version of the
earlier Triumph Speed Twin’s 500cc parallel twin engine. This additional
power made it an immediate success in the US as well as Britain and
slightly further afield in Australia and New Zealand. Many of the
original Thunderbirds are still on the road and there are huge
communities dedicated to keeping them out on the bitumen.
The bike you see here was painted and pinstriped by Kenneth Graeme
Howard (better known as Von Dutch) during the 1970s, a time when he was
establishing himself as the driving catalyst behind the Kustom Kulture
movement, a movement that’s still growing over 40 years later. It’s
suspected that he also customised the bike into its current form,
however he didn’t keep records so authenticity on much of his work is
notoriously difficult to prove.
Olivia and I stopped by Hinshaw today to get a look at the new Norton's and to see if they had a new Indian yet. I immediately saw the new Norton displayed in the from window. I'm ready to buy one...
They had some other Norton's that were pretty nice too.
I didn't have the cash on hand to pick up the Pre War Norton International but they had a nice selection of Norton merchandise so I figured I might go that route. Ultimately I really liked the Hinshaw Norton shirt they had. It looks a lot like the vintage Norton dealer shirts you see floating around. At $10 I had to have one but they didn't have one in my size so I asked the parts guy. He brought one in my size and GAVE it to me. Evidently they are planning to hand them out next weekend but it was a pretty cool thing to do anyway.
I met John from Hinshaw at the South Sound VME meeting a few weeks ago and he seemed like a pretty good guy. I've been in Hinshaw twice now and was pretty impressed with the place both times. The staff is friendly. The vintage bikes are really cool. The store is well stocked, organized and clean. If I was gonna buy a new bike it's probably the first place I'd start looking.
This photo of Ed Black's got me started on a hunt for Albuquerque Automobile Dealers. This photo is from 1966 but the building was essentially unchanged when I walked by it everyday in high school 20 years later. It's a monster Walmart now....
I recalled previously posting the photo of Motorsport on 7833 Lomas Blvd., N.E. Motorsport carried about every British car sold
in the U.S. in 1959: Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Austin-Healey,
Austin, MG, Morris, Rover, Land Rover, Triumph, Hillman, Aston Martin,
and, last but not least, A.C. Ace-Bristol (which later grew a Ford 260
V-8 under the hood, became the first Shelby Cobra).
I was looking for photos of the Galles Chevrolet showroom on Central & University but didn't have much luck. I recall seeing a wonderful photo with a new 50's corvette on the turntable in the showroom window. The same area now houses a huge Linux cluster for UNM's High Performance Computing department. All I could find is this photo of the travertine stonework including what I think are the Oldsmobile and Cadillac logos.
The Galles family has an interesting automotive history having been in the Albuquerque car business for over 100 years. Here are a few photos I did find.
Galles Chevrolet Tow Truck - 1939
I also found this photo inside the New Mexico Motor Corporation on 613-615 Central Avenue. The photo includes owner H.L. Galles. The photo is from 1930.
I also stumbled across some photos of Franciscan Motors, who I was not previously familiar with. The following photos were reportedly taken at their 608-610 West Central Avenue, Albuquerque New Mexico location in 1927
They evidently sold Studebaker and Erskine. Anyone recognize anything else in the photos or know anything else about Franciscan?