The 'Flying Cigar'

The achievement led to the eventual naming of the Triumph Bonneville. But in 1958, a teenager named Jess Thomas had taken the controls of the streamliner and gone in pursuit of even more speed.

The story of the Triumph-engined ‘Flying Cigar’ streamliner and the feats of Johnny Allen in the mid-1950s are well-known.

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The preamble to the naming and release of the Triumph Bonneville, Allen managed a staggering 214.4mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1956 to cement a new absolute speed record for motorcycles – and gave the folks back at Meriden plenty to say about the potential of their 6T engine.

It was off the back of this great feat that the Bonnie was born.

Read more in February’s edition of TCM
 

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