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TRIUMPH 3HW WWII Pictures


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Hi everybody,

 

I restored a Triumph 3HW: very nice and pretty powerful model!

I found all the original technical documentation (workshop manual, spare parts list, etc.) but I miss original pictures in WWII.

I've found some photos on the net (I think the most common) but I would like to find others: is there anybody that can help me?

 

Thank You all!

 

Fabrizio

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Hi, yes I second that! I would love to see more photos of the 3HW in action

andy

 

You will be lucky ! Photos of the 3HW "in action" in WW2 are comparatively rare........the few photos showing them in use reveal a few serving in France after D-Day, several taken in Italy, and again several taken in the Middle and Far East......

 

Although manufactured from roughly mid-1942 onward, it seems that the first front-line area that the 3HW appeared in was with certain units during the Italian campaign from late-1943............then north-west Europe after D-Day and both the Middle and Far East between 1944 and 1945............compared with the other makes, they were sadly never common and a great many were sent far away from the UK (and left in-situ) or supplied to other Nations (eg- Greece, India, etc) after WW2 from surplus UK stocks held in depots.........

 

When the 3HW entered production, UK supply of motorcycles was already meeting and in some cases exceeding demand, and large quantities of 3HW's likely remained stored in depots following delivery from the factory...........

 

A nice bike to own, and a good performer too........:-)

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Yep few and far between. There is of course the early pre pannier version shown in Steve's book. And I have these ones also. The first one appears to be a factory photo and good for off side detail. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the 3HW is probably the only British bike to leave the factory with a black exhaust? Ron

1942-350ohv.jpg

1942-triumph-3hw-2-367x570.jpg

Triumph3HW.jpg

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Thank You all for the infos: as a matter of fact here in Italy it seems to be a bit easier to find a 3HW (or part of it).

After WWII all the militar relics left by Allied & German/Italians were sent to special areas called "ARAR" (Aree Raccolta Alienazione Residuati) that more or less means "concentration and alienation surplus area".

In those places vehicles that couldn't be used any more because too damaged were disassembled in order to recover metal or, in case they could be used again, sold to people who needed them.

Thanks to this some italians could start a transportation businness using for example GMC trucks and those who needed a motorbike could buy there one.

This businness lasted up to the beginning of '50s: my Triumph comes from one of this ARAR camps (may be in the area from Asti-Alessandria) and I was told that the cost of a motorcycle (complete but not working) was about 4 month of a worker salary.

Even if in the abyss in which Italy felt in those years, this was a businness opportunity too: many workshop started their activities thanks to "civilization" of military motorcycles.

They used to paint them in black color, chrome the tank and, this is interesting, modify the rear rigid frame assembling a suspension in order to improve the confort.

Benelli restarted its activity after war selling these suspension in kit adapted to the different models.

Due to good engine performance, Triumph 3HWs were preferred for race (motocross too); engine was tuned and front suspension was taken from telescopic Matchless.

Here is my 3HW: it was built in April '43 (under seat is written "TEC443"), frame is marked TL37887 and engine 3HW47887. It took me 3 years to rebuilt it (it was just a mess of pieces...) but now it runs fine.

HMVF1.jpg

HMVF2.jpg

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A very nice restoration ! It seems that the first contract of 3HW's made in the new factory at Meriden during 1942 did not feature pannier or pillion kit, retained rubber fittings (tank knee-grip rubbers, footrest rubbers, grips, etc), had the alloy chain cases and oil-pump cover, non-cutaway tank (for the filter hose), the smaller rear carrier, etc.........some of these items were carried over from 3SW stocks........

 

Most subsequent production went over to economy measures, and many bikes in the later contracts were actually supplied/delivered without tyres fitted according to the MoS ledgers, most probably as heading for long-term storage that included "Littlewoods" premises and the Mars chocolate factory at Slough !!............

 

I think you're right about the exhaust Ron, although I have a feeling that possibly BSA and Matchless also used similar "painted" systems later in the war ? Was it paint or another heat-resistant finish ?

Edited by wdbikemad
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Thank you! I did my best in order to restore it in the best possible way (according to my possibilities...).

For example I avoided rubber parts according to the disposition of that period and I painted it in the "matt brown" that was the second color option up to '43.

I painted the exaust in black high temperature paint.

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Too many ex-WD motorcycles aren't always restored in the original factory colours......the brown shade (SCC No.2) appeared around 1942 and was in common use by 1943 for many motorcycles........it replaced khaki-green No.3 Gas-Proof, probably because the former colour required certain components in the mix (chromate ?) that were in short supply........however, stocks continued to be used whilst they existed........during April 1944 a new shade of olive drab was introduced to replace the brown, but it was probably near the end of the war before this new shade became fairly commonplace.........I have several NOS James ML parts, the bike introduced during 1943, and the vast majority are brown-finished, with a few items in dated packing (1944/45) in olive drab green.........

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I have a new question: did I paint in the correct way the insigna of the 51st Infantry Division (Highlanders) and the 61st infantry anti tank regiment (they served in Sicily)?

What I mean is: I was told that the "rule" was to paint the insigna Division on the left side of the fuel tank and the regiment one on the opposite side.

A friend of mine has a not restored Royal Enfield that shows this scheme but, to be honest, most of the pictures you can find on books or net represent motorbikes just with commission numbers on the tank and insigna on the front mudguard.

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Orders issued in 1943 did away with the Unit of Div sign for motorcycles, thereafter they were only supposed to display the coloured, numbered square on both sides of the tank.......

 

As with everything though, these orders were widely interpreted or just plain ignored......:-D

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  • 11 months later...

A bit late with a follow up to this thread I know. But I now realise that the Velocette MAF also seems to have left the factory with a black exhaust system. Ron

Velocette_1942c_350_MAF_War_Dept_Spec_1_VBG.jpg

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  • 5 years later...
On 8/9/2013 at 5:09 PM, wdbikemad said:

A very nice restoration ! It seems that the first contract of 3HW's made in the new factory at Meriden during 1942 did not feature pannier or pillion kit, retained rubber fittings (tank knee-grip rubbers, footrest rubbers, grips, etc), had the alloy chain cases and oil-pump cover, non-cutaway tank (for the filter hose), the smaller rear carrier, etc.........some of these items were carried over from 3SW stocks........

 

Most subsequent production went over to economy measures, and many bikes in the later contracts were actually supplied/delivered without tyres fitted according to the MoS ledgers, most probably as heading for long-term storage that included "Littlewoods" premises and the Mars chocolate factory at Slough !!............

 

I think you're right about the exhaust Ron, although I have a feeling that possibly BSA and Matchless also used similar "painted" systems later in the war ? Was it paint or another heat-resistant finish ?

I would be interested in any more details /info you know about Littlewoods and Mars invovement please?

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  • 11 months later...

Hi Tony 

You have to be careful.and identify what percentage the bike is original and not ..this is the.main influencer ..a missing smiths speedo.could cost.over 500...then it's condition a replacement petrol tank again could be 250 plus 

Do you have the frame and engine number plus photos you can share ?

Send. Me.a private message if you want or share them on the forum ..whatever helps

Jenkinov

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Thank you for the reply!!

I already made the purchase

The tank is in great original shape, and sealed, the bike seams to be 100% complete, Paint is all original (Black), The previous owner had a receipt for 3k worth of work including new axles, bearings, pistons, and electrical, original smiths speedo showing zero miles (old stock never used), the Speedo gear drive and cable is missing, forks have been rebuilt and work perfect, new carb and just replaced the tires.

For its age id say the bike is in remarkable condition.

Its a blast to ride.

If you could reply by email I would really appreciate it, I can send you pictures via email.

insul@bosteroofing.com

I'm in California

I'm new to vintage Triumphs, this is a learning curve.

 

The Frame Number is TL46008, Still has the original India plate on it.

having trouble downloading pics.

 

IMG-3121.jpg

62536544662--655CC1DF-5E62-488F-9D34-67BCD80A1732.JPG

IMG-2970.JPG

Edited by Tony Bibbins
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Ll)Hi Tony 

Thank you for sending in the photos .. A large number of 3hws went to India and it's a great source for bikes and parts . From your description it sounds as if you purchased it and imported it ..is that correct..

Ron on this thread has included a photo of how triumph 3hws looked when they left the factory .and it's worthwhile comparing it with your bike .. Post war it was popular to civilianise bikes and replicate the pre and post war chrome ..

The wheels would have been painted steel. The exhaust.steel painted black . And the bike itself painted green . The black colour that features on civilianised bike so commonly was often applied straight on top of the army paint .

It's clearly an army frame and if it is numbered tl46008 it's from contract s2956 ..which dares it to 1944. If you look under the seat at the seat post from the rear this should have the month and year stamp ..commonly reading ..something like TE0844 so August 1944.

Triumph were prolific stampers and the engine should have a engine number containing the 3hw if you send photos of the engine number and any visible stamps we can check the engine matches the frame ?

Curious does the petrol tank have a cutaway corner for the 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thank you for the reply.

It does not have the cut away in the tank.

So would it have originally been Green?

under the black is white primer, i assumed the paint was original.

It was imported from India by the previous owner.

will get the engine number, and yes under the seat it shows 1944.

I'm really happy to have found this web site.

 

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On 11/18/2020 at 6:02 PM, jenkinov said:

 

Ll)Hi Tony 

Thank you for sending in the photos .. A large number of 3hws went to India and it's a great source for bikes and parts . From your description it sounds as if you purchased it and imported it ..is that correct..

Ron on this thread has included a photo of how triumph 3hws looked when they left the factory .and it's worthwhile comparing it with your bike .. Post war it was popular to civilianise bikes and replicate the pre and post war chrome ..

The wheels would have been painted steel. The exhaust.steel painted black . And the bike itself painted green . The black colour that features on civilianised bike so commonly was often applied straight on top of the army paint .

It's clearly an army frame and if it is numbered tl46008 it's from contract s2956 ..which dares it to 1944. If you look under the seat at the seat post from the rear this should have the month and year stamp ..commonly reading ..something like TE0844 so August 1944.

Triumph were prolific stampers and the engine should have a engine number containing the 3hw if you send photos of the engine number and any visible stamps we can check the engine matches the frame ?

Curious does the petrol tank have a cutaway corner for the 

 

 

 

 

 

38CBF69A-7F93-455A-B32C-E6EA23BC2C32.jpeg

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Do we know the frame number. Looks right for a 44 with no steering damper. Has someone maybe filled in that corner of the tank?   Or perhaps it's off another model. Are there any signs of two little tapped holes in the middle of the tank near the filler cap?

It would have left the factory in "Service" colour. Most probably Olive Drab but might have been Service Brown,

 

Ron

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Hi Tony

Thank you for the engine photo . Its clearly a 3 hw engine but the stamps show it's from a different bike if your frame number is correct. It would be helpful if ok sent photos of the frame number and seat post date.

Contract S2956 was for 5000 bikes and produced between December 1943 and June 1944 the frame numbers can between TL41418 and TK46417 .. There engine numbers between 3HW 51418 and 56417 . The frame number you gave. Was late in this run so correlates to 1944

Tell engine number appears to be from the following contract for 4000 bikes S5430 and had frames TL46418 to 50417 and engines 3hw 56418 to 60417

During its life with the army the bike would have been through the REME workshop in multiple occasions and whilst collectors are sometimes precious on matching frames and engines the army is not . They just want working bikes and your bike appears to have had the engine switched at some point

the petrol tank does not have the cut out that features on 3hw  tanks but does have 'the features. of a triumph 3Sw petrol tank .These uniquely had the tank badge on the top hence Rons question on the mounting holes. An easier way richest however is the underside of the tank ..if you take a series of photos of its area front to rear i should be able to identify it

Regards

Chris AKA Jenkinov

 

 

 

 

 

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