Sunday, September 1, 2013


My buddy English Stephen is building a Pre-Unit Triumph based on a mid-50's Speed Twin. Stephen is also building the Speed Twin 500cc engine as 650cc. When Triumph first offered the Trophy model as a 650 the press and others fondly referred to it as a "TrophyBird." In other words the fusion of a 500cc Trophy and a 650cc Thunderbird. Somewhere along the way I began calling Stephen's bike the "SpeedBird" as somewhat of a tribute to that legacy.

I been reading and very much enjoying Edward Turner - The Man Behind the Motorcycles. I was very much amused by the following excerpt:

An unexpected spin-off to the Thunderbird was that, on overseas flights, factory employees wearing ties sporting the Thunderbird logo found, to their surprise and delight, that they received priority treatment when on a British Overseas Airways flight. Amongst other things, they were offered a visit to the flight deck when the aircraft was airborne. The Thunderbird logo was very similar to that of BOAC’s Speedbird motif and it had been mistakenly assumed that they were BOAC staff. Few bothered to explain!

Given Stephen's fondness of both motorcycle and aviation history I suspect he'll also enjoy the reference.


Flathead45 said...

It will not be lost on Stephen that the radio call sign for all British Airways flights even now is "Speedbird XXX" where XXX is the flight number.

english stephen said...

I love that BA still has the name in use!

I used to fly on B.O.A.C as a child and had a B.O.A.C log book. I also inherited a blue leather B.O.A.C folio from my dad that I used for a briefcase for work for ages. It had a the B.O.A.C gold speedbird in the corner.