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windsorguyone

Triumph 3HW Gas Tank...

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Restoring a '44 Triumph 3HW and had a question regarding the gas tank... more specifically the military markings and the art work.

 

I can't seem to track down where my bike was placed so will most likely just make up the number markings... but was curious if there were specific placements on the gas tank (or anywhere else on the bike) that the markings and art work were supposed to go. IE. only on left side or tank, both sides, fenders, etc.

 

Anyone have any idea?

 

Ian

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I have several original pictures, which all show just the C number in the same location on both sides of the petrol tank. It's extremely rare for any of us to know what unit our bikes served with, so any such markings would be 'artistic licence'. It was the general rule that unit markings were not applied during the invasion, so as not to advice the enemy who was where, although the arm of service patch might have been applied to both sides of the tank or to the front mudguard, depending on the room available or the unit involved.

 

Earlier in the war, it was normal practice to display the divisional patch on one side of a vehicle (usually the left) and the arm of service patch on the other side.

 

Even so, some guys like to portray their vehicle in the markings of a unit that they are interested in or as a mark of respect for someone who served with it.........Which then requires it's own research!

 

If you privide your frame number, we can work out the correct C number for you. Ron

DSC_0452_zpsargazcra.jpg

Schermafbeelding 2016-02-05 om 17.51.47.jpg

Schermafbeelding 2016-02-05 om 17.53.25.jpg

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Hi Ron,

 

Great information... thank you. Was it standard to have the Triumph logo on both side of the tank... as well as the 'C" number?

 

My frame number is: 50936

 

Thanks again!

 

Ian

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Yes Triumph on both sides and a quick calculation is C4854691. But I'll double check and get back tomorrow with more info as I'm just off to see a 'Queen' tribute band. Ron

Edited by Ron
correction to number

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I was too hasty last night and got my calculations wrong.... It's a bit complicated! Frame TL 50936 is from contract C8886 which was demanded in Oct 44. The original contract was for 3000 machines. the frame numbers being TL50418 to TL 50431 and TL 50439 to Tl53417. So I make it that there are 7 machines missing in the early stages of the contract so a total of only 2993. (maybe the missing bikes were supplied to the Admiralty?) The census numbers were C4854180 - C4857179

 

I make TL 50936 the 512th bike from this contract and calculate the census number as C4854691. Perhaps you'd like to play with the numbers to confirm?

 

There should be a date stamp on the top of your saddle tube eg:- T.E.C. 10.44. (Triumph Engineering Co Oct 1944)

 

The correct waterslide transfers are available from Marcia here:-

http://www.classictransfers.co.uk/transfers/triumph-6512-112x32mm-3-75-each/

 

My own 3HW is from the previous contract in 44 and I wanted something different in the collection, so I prepared it in desert trim. Strangely your later contract has lower census numbers? Ron

 

PS. your terms "Gas Tank" and "Fenders" leads me to think you're in the US?

3HW 235.jpg

Edited by Ron

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Ron, the difficulty here is that although Orchard & Madden list a gap in the frame numbers, they still allocate 3000 WD serial numbers for the contract. It is impossible to tell if the numbers for the missing bikes were never issued or if the numbers were re-allocated and the last few numbers cancelled.

 

The Chilwell record card simply shows 'Complete' and makes no reference to a short delivery.

 

After 1940, the manufacturers were paid to apply the WD serial numbers (which is why each make tended to have a house style). Did Triumph work from a prepared list showing which number was allocated to each frame number and simply leave a gap if frames were undelivered / rejected ?) or did they number each one in random order as they came off the line and end up having used less serial numbers ? Based on how other manufacturers had a link between frame and serial number, I'd suspect the former.

 

As far as I know, there are no post-war Triumph 'Key Cards' which would have let us analyse the relationshships between numbers as we have been able to do with BSA, Matchless and Norton.

 

C8886 had an October 1940 demand date and would originally have related to 3SWs but was never delivered due to the destruction of the Triumph factory during the Coventry blitz. In all probability, the canny Edward Turner saw towards the end of the war that Triumph had a signed contract for 3000 motorcycles and insisted on it being honoured. Serial numbers were issued but production was delayed until existing contracts had been completed. Triumph seem to have been given rather favoured treatment by the Ministry of Supply. They were a minor motorcycle supplier in 1940 but had a huge new factory built for them at Meriden while others struggled on in cramped inner city locations.

 

If it were my machine, I'd base the number on the fuel tank on what it ought to have been rather than try to calculate any unknowns in.

 

I'll try to look in my Ministry of Supply ledger copies later to see if a rebate was given for undelivered machines but I haven't catalogued the Triumph stuff so it's a long job squinting at hand-written entries.

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Rik I had completely missed that Oct 40 demand date even though I had already mentioned the earlier census numbers and I even glanced through previous contracts. I was blinkered by the 1944 build period.

 

Better still if you have more info regarding the census number for this machine. I based my calculations on it being the 512th machine according the frame number sequence and then as if they were numbered in sequence off the production line. But I guess the factory ledgers were lost during the bombing? Ron

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All the records up to and including 1940 were destroyed but the VMCC state that they hold records from 1941 to 1983. This may well be where O&M got their information from as I know that they viewed the factory records when they were at the Science Museum.

 

An enquiry via VMCC or possibly TOMCC might shed some light but I think that you'd have to be a member of each. Most clubs these days see this sort of record as a source of revenue.

 

A gap in the records could just as easily indicate that for instance already-delivered test models were taken into account or maybe proptotypes of another model that were paid for under this contract rather than all the bother of getting the unwieldy MoS to process an amendment.

 

My impression is that the factories provided the War Office with a list of frame and engine numbers and the WO in turn issued a block of serial numbers. It would seem logical that omitted machines simply dropped off the list and that the link was retained for all others. The situation is not the same as pre-war or 1940 when contracts were made up from whatever could be delivered.

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Hey Ron,

 

Great bike... and thanks again for putting in the leg work on finding the C number.

 

And yes, you are correct, I am located in southern California. Although I am Canadian and just hear for the year to warm up. ;)

 

Ian

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