Classic ‘Bathtub’ motorcycle set to turn heads

East Auckland resident Lloyd Wilson will display his 1959 Triumph Speed Twin motorcycle at this year’s Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show. Times photo Wayne Martin

It may have a nickname taken from a common household fixture but Lloyd Wilson’s classic British motorcycle is anything but ordinary.

His prized 1959 Triumph Speed Twin is known by motorcycle enthusiasts as the ‘Bathtub’ due to the shape of its distinctive rear guard.

It will be among the motorcycles and the more than 1200 vehicles set to be displayed at this year’s Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show, staged at Lloyd Elsmore Park in Pakuranga on March 7.

Wilson, who lives in Somerville, has owned several other makes and model of classic motorcycle but the 1959 Triumph Speed Twin is the first example of the well-known British brand in his collection.

“It was restored in England about 21 years ago and brought out here in 2000,” Wilson told the Times.

“The guy who restored it never finished it.

“It just sat there doing nothing and then it was on [auction website] Trade Me and I saw it and bought it.

“It took me about a year to get it going.”

The motorcycle has an unusual back story, Wilson says.

“I’ve got all the registration data from England from when it was first registered.

“I have photos of the guy [the previous owner] when he was restoring it.

“It was quite interesting because he was restoring it in his kitchen.

“He’s got all the bits on the bench and there’s the toaster and the jug and everything alongside it.”

Wilson says in his five years of ownership he’s replaced several gears in its gearbox as well as the clutch, but he’s done nothing to its engine which has done just 58,000 original miles (93,000km).

And there’s not too many of them on New Zealand roads.

“That one is really rare now,” he says.

“Nobody liked the back guard and most people took it off.

“To find one now like this is just about impossible.”

Wilson says he liked the Triumph Speed Twin when it was sold new in New Zealand in 1959 but he found it difficult to get his hands on one.

“It was just about impossible to buy one because of import restrictions and the [NZ] Traffic Department got most of them.

“All the traffic cops used to ride these. They had a big radio mounted on them.”

Wilson has taken the motorcycle on several long-distance trips and says it’s never let him down.

“I rode it to the Wings and Wheels show in Thames about two years ago.

“I also went down to Morrinsville on it once and it poured with rain all the way back.

“It absolutely hosed down but it never missed a beat.”

The Auckland Brit and Euro Classic Car Show is staged from 10am-3pm on March 7.

It’s sponsored by Times Newspapers, NZ Classic Driver magazine, Protecta Insurance, and the Howick Local Board. Entry is free.

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