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Help With A C number Triumph 3HW


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Can anyone help me with working out a appropriate tank number for my Triumph 3 SW/HW.

The bike is early SW frame with the number 'TL 9284'  around the top of the headstock and has a later 3HW engine '3HW 52767'.

The engine according to 'Orchard and Maddens' book seems to fall into contract number 'S2956' 5000 machines Dec 43 to June 44.

No problem there, could have been a military exchange or at anytime replaced in the past 70 odd years, either way not bothered as

better than the earlier side valve. I am copying the bike on page '189 or 137' of said book depending which version you have.

I would like to put a C number on the tank that roughly corresponds with the frame number but it would appear that this is in the period

either before or after the the Triumph factory was bombed and records etc were lost.

I think I am about right in placing the frame at around contract number C4631/C5108 but I am no expert at this dating especially with the 

difficulty with all the record gaps during this period.

A question I do have is....the numbers of machines produced from C2073 ( 1st Contract 3SW) to C5108 do not appear to add up to the number

on my frame or is this not how it worked...?

Any suggestions, confirmations of of my findings or just a ;

"Get on with it and stick any number from that time period on the tank"

Will be greatly appreciated......." HAPPY NEEW YEAR...!!


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Chris at that time 1939, they were still producing several different civilian models all using that same frame, so the WD numbers won't follow in sequence.

Another piece of information I can divulge is regarding one of the contracts that you mention ie C4631. By stroke of luck, there's a guy I've communicated with who's granddad was a WD motorcyclist who was issued with a 3SW and who kept a complete log, which included frame/eng/census numbers. From this log and the known census numbers in O&M, I have been able to work out the complete numbers, which are Frames TL 12771-13070 and Engines 3SW 25741-26040. (I've passed this on to Chris Orchard for hopeful inclusion in a future revision (in the meantime I've hand written it in mine).

This would indicate to me that your frame is earlier ie Contract C3398 or C3360. The census numbers are shown but not the frame numbers and also I can only assume that all the contracts are shown as these probably came from the Chillwell records and not from the bombed Triumph offices. 

So in my opinion, in view of the current information, it's a case of pick a number. from those 244.   Ron

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The RAOC 'Chilwell Cards' for C3398 and C3360 simply state that they were 'ex-RASC' and give no frame number info. It's much easier to piece together the details of the RAOC contract machines such as Nortons and most BSAs.

The Triumphs were generally delivered to Feltham and it's clear that they were mixed up before the WD serial numbers were applied. They were issued the catalogue refs 19 and 14,  despite being earlier than C5108 (10) and C6128 (6) which indicates how chaotic things were.

If you use a pre-war WD serial / census number from the early contracts on an OHV machine, it will be a little incongruous, whereas the earlier frame would not stand out to most eyes on a 3HW....Might it not be better to mark it in line with the engine number, or indeed to give it a 'rebuild' series number.

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We are quite lucky that with British bikes and the records compiled by Ron and other enthusiasts and the British forces motor cycles we can get vehicle matching or near those original .. I have a WW2 jeep and it's number is purely fictional..

As a comment a vehicles identity and in particular British bikes is driven by the frame number and identity rather than the engine ..I would consider your bike a re engined 3sw and if it was recorded on the triumph register it would be listed in The 3sw section ..so my gut feel would be to have a census number linked to its frame..



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You mention Jeep records Jenk. My own Jeep has always been configured and marked as British and for 30 years the 'M' number was purely fictitious. But through this forum, I found a guy who is keeping a register of British Jeeps and through him and the records at Kew, I now have it's correct M number. Thank God for the British way!   Ron

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Hi . Bikermoss.

The thread hesitated with the statement that triumph frame is that of a 3sw .. But curious are you confident that this is correct ? Post war many triumph 3 s were 're-engined with the higher performance 3hw engines ..

The evidence of military specification would rest in the frames construction . In the absence of records ! ....



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