1959 Triumph Thunderbird

ABOVE: This 1959 Triumph Thunderbird has more than a healthy amount of patina. In fact, if it wasn't all in one piece, it might be a basket case. Sorry I couldn't do better on a photo, but it was the only one I could find that I had the rights to use. If you have a '59 T-Bird, please send us some pictures.

1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD - BY THE NUMBERS
For the 1959 Triumph Thunderbird, all continued the model designation of "6T" and had an engine prefix of 6T as well. Engine and Frame Numbers ran from 020581 to 029362, a span of 8,781 units, built from October 9, 1958 to February 9, 1959, which was a production run of only 4 months exactly.

1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD ENGINE UPGRADES
The prior 3-piece crankshaft was replaced by a stronger, lighter one-piece forged steel crank with a bolt-on central flywheel. The vacuum SU carburetor was replaced with an Amal Monobloc Type 376/210. A Lucas RM15 alternator was installed to increase output over the RM14 unit it replaced.

1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD GEARBOX IMPROVEMENTS
From engine #023941, the gearshift camplate was induction-hardened to reduce wear. From engine #024029, the clutch sprocket was also induction-hardened. An oil level indicator was added to the inner gearbox cover.

1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD CYCLE PARTS
The front brake cam lever was modified to improve its braking abilities, and those thus-modified were marked with an "X" on the lever. US models now came with a safety strap on the seat. This was the alt year for the single downtube frame (aptly nicknamed "Whip Iron" for it's tendency to flex so much as to be dangerous. The last Triumph 650 with a Whip Iron frame was a 1959 Triumph Thunderbird, Engine & Frame #029362.

1959 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD PAINT COMBOS
The standard paint colors for the 1959 Triumph Thunderbird were as follows: The petrol (fuel) tank was Charcoal Gray. The tank badge had white lettering on a black background. The mudguards (fenders) were also Charcoal Gray with a Black center strip, lined in White. The front fork covers/headlight nacelle were solid Charcoal Gray. And the oil tank and battery box were Gloss Black, along with all the other painted parts on the bike. The one exception is the front hub, which was painted an Eggshell Black.

1959 Triumph 6T Thunderbird SPECIFICATIONS

Engine type

Displacement

Bore & Stroke

Compression

Carburetor

Ignition

Engine output

Primary drive

Primary sprockets

Clutch

Gearbox

Ratios, overall:

1st, bottom

2nd

3rd

4th, top

Final drive

Final drive sprockets

Frame Type

Suspension, front

Suspension, rear

Brake, front

Brake, rear

Tire, front

Tire, rear

Wheelbase

Seat Height

Ground Clearance

Fuel capacity

Dry weight

Air-cooled OHV vertical twin, non-unit

649cc / 40.0 ci

71mm X 82mm / 2.79" X 3.23"

8.5:1 (US & export); 7.0:1 (UK)

1-Amal Monobloc

Lucas magneto

34 bhp @ 6500 rpm

1/2" X .335" X 5/16" chain, 70 links

24T X 43T

Multi-plate, wet

4-speed constant mesh, right foot shift


11.9:1

8.25:1

5.81:1

4.88

5/8" X .400" X 3/8" chain, 101 links

18T X 46T

Brazed lug, rigid

Telescopic fork, hydraulic damping

Swing arm, 2 Girling dampers

8" SLS drum

7" SLS drum

3.25" X 19"

3.50" X 19"

55.75" / 141 cm

31" / 77.5 cm

5" / 12.7 cm

3 Imp gal (US); 4 Imp gal (UK & export)

395 lbs / 179 kg


MORE THUNDERBIRD PAGES:
Triumph 6T Thunderbird
.....Pre-Unit Thunderbird
.....1950
.....1951
.....1952
.....1953
.....1954
.....1955
.....1956
.....1957
.....1958
.....1959
.....1960
.....Unit-Construction Triumph Thunderbird
.....1963
MORE TRIUMPHS:
Triumph T120 & T140 Bonneville
Triumph TR6
Triumph TR7
Triumph T110 & T110 Tiger
Triumph 6T Thunderbird
Triumph 5T Speed Twin
Triumph T150 & T160 Trident
Triumph X-75 Hurricane

Check out these TRIUMPH BOOKS

COMPLETE BOOK OF CLASSIC & MODERN TRIUMPHS


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES IN AMERICA


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION, PRE-UNIT


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6 RESTORATION GUIDE: 1956-1983


TALES OF TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES & THE MERIDEN FACTORY


TRIUMPH 650 & 750 TWINS OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL, 1963-1983


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: ESSENTIAL BUYER’S GUIDE


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE: PORTRAIT OF A LEGEND


ILLUSTRATED TRIUMPH BUYER’S GUIDE, by Roy Bacon


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE, 2001-2015


TRIUMPH: PRODUCTION TESTERS TALES FROM MERIDEN


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLE RESTORATION GUIDE


TRIUMPH OWNERS HANDBOOK, UNIT-CONSTRUCTION 350 & 500, Kindle


TRIUMPH ILLUSTRATED WORKSHOP MANUAL 1945-1955, by Clymer


TRIUMPH TWINS & TRIPLES


FACTORY-ORIGINAL TRIUMPH TWINS, 1938-1962


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE & TR6, by Timothy Remus


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: FROM SPEED TWIN TO BONNEVILLE


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES: THEIR RENAISSANCE & THE HINKLEY FACTORY


TRIUMPH PRE-UNIT TWINS OWNERS WORKSHOP MANUAL


TRIUMPH THRUXTON BONNEVILLE 1959-1969


TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES ILLUSTRATED WORKSHOP MANUAL 1937-1951, by Clymer


TURNER’S TRIUMPHS: EDWARD TURNER & HIS TRIUMPHS


TRIUMPH TWIN RESTORATION, by Roy Bacon


TRIUMPH TIGER CUB & TERRIER 1952-1968, Haynes Repair Manual


TRIUMPH 675 DAYTONA & SPEED TRIPLE REPAIR MANUAL 2006-2010, Haynes


CLASSIC MOTORCYCLES: TRIUMPH


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TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES


TRIUMPH, by Roy Bacon


TRIUMPH 750/900 TRIPLES & 1200 FOURS 1991-1999, Haynes Repair Manual


TRIUMPH TROPHY BIBLE


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TRIUMPH: A CENTURY OF PASSION & POWER


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TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE, by Crowood


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TRIUMPH 350 & 500 1957-1974 ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


BONNIE: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


TRIUMPH SINGLES: EARLY DAYS TO 1974, by Roy Bacon


TRIUMPH: RETURN OF THE LEGEND


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BOOK OF TRIUMPH TWINS 1968-1969, by Floyd Clymer


THE TRIUMPH STORY: RACING & PRODUCTION MODELS 1902-PRESENT


TRIUMPH 350 & 500 TWINS 1958-1973, Haynes Repair Manual


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE 2001-=2008 ROAD TEST PORTFOLIO


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HINKLEY TRIUMPHS: THE FIRST GENERATION


TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BIBLE: ALL MODELS 1959-1983


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ORIGINAL TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE


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EDWARD TURNER: THE MAN BEHIND THE MOTORCYCLES


SAVE THE BONNEVILLE: THE INSIDE STORY OF THE MERIDEN WORKERS CO-OP


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TRIUMPH DAYTONA 2003-2009 ROAD TEST PORTFOLIO


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TRIUMPH, by Daniel Gilpin


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TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE T120 1959-1974, by Roy Bacon


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