Reference: Triumph Tiger Cub


1963 Triumph Tiger Cub

Triumph supremo Edward Turner knew a thing or two – more, in fact – about motorcycles and subsequently motorcyclists. He knew that a bit of extra ‘flash’ attracted them (see the Ariel Red Hunter and Tiger range of Triumphs when he arrived in Coventry), he realised that conservative tastes meant a twin that looked like a single would have crossover appeal and he recognised the importance of inspiring brand loyalty – ie get them young, then keep them.

First example of this philosophy was probably the post-WWII 350cc twin cylinder 3T, particularly in its nacelle/fluted badge incarnation when it aped the 650cc Thunderbird, though of course a 1930s 250cc Tiger 70 looked just like a 500cc Tiger 90 (and indeed a Tiger 100) while Red Hunters came in various sizes to suit age/experience and pocket depth.

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So, when Turner decided to branch out into the ‘little’ market, with the 150cc Terrier, it was surely no surprise styling cues were taken from the bigger models in the range. Headlamp nacelle? Check. Fluted tank badges? Check. Amaranth red paint finish a la the Speed Twin? Check. Of course, the little machine was powered by a single cylinder engine and the chassis also boasted plunger rear springing, the only Triumph (apart from early Tiger Cubs) to be thus equipped.

Triumph Tiger Cub classic British motorcycleWhen the Tiger Cub debuted, in 1954, it looked very similar to the Terrier on which it was based – except the finish was now shell blue and black cycle parts, just like the Tiger 100 and 110. Once again, a clever piece of planning, surely from master publicist ‘ET’ himself…

Turner, of course, knew that if these little’uns could inspire and impress riders then chances are, if and when they decided to progress onto a bigger model, they’d stick with what they knew. It seemed to work too, as Tiger Cubs and the twins in the range continued to sell well through the 1950s and 60s.

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This particular Tiger Cub dates to 1963.

It was bought in 2003 by Wolverhampton-based reprographics technician Luise Williams. Luise, who passed her motorcycle test in 1967, took two years to restore it, offering special thanks to her husband, friends and Tiger Cub guru Mike Estall. Her advice to would be restorers of this model is refreshingly simple; “Restore it as you like it.” And like her Cub Luise certainly does, while she likes to use it too – in late 2009 it was ridden to the Isle of Man for the Manx GP, where it completed 300 trouble free miles. bike

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