When is a book not a book? In the case of Ultimate Triumph Collection: One Man’s Obsession, that’s a good question. Why? Because at one level this is actually not a book but a very clever sales tool, a comprehensive catalog of motorcycle equipment supplier and Sullivans Inc. founder Bobby Sullivan’s extensive collection of vintage Triumph motorcycles, which he’s put up for sale. But that’s not to dismiss Ultimate Triumph, because it was never meant to be a book in the first place.
The genesis of Ultimate Triumph was a project between Sullivan and Wolfgang Publications’ Timothy Remus to catalog Sullivan’s bikes. Remus, who made motorcycle calendars for Sullivan, spent a week photographing Sullivan’s 100-plus collection of Triumphs. It wasn’t until the shoot was over that Remus realized he had a lot more than just a catalog; he had a book. “I didn’t set out to publish a book,” Remus says in the forward, “I only wanted to document Bobby Sullivan’s extensive collection.”
What resulted, however, is a comprehensive review of Sullivan’s long association with Triumph motorcycles (he trained to be a Triumph mechanic) and his obsession with collecting and restoring Triumphs. That last bit’s important, because Sullivan and his crew restored most of the bikes in the collection, in the process buying up entire stocks of spare parts — 15 inventories in total — from dealerships going out of business.
Sullivan’s obsession has resulted in what must be the most extensive collection of quality Triumphs in the world. From a 1938 Speed Twin to a rare 1970 Bonneville RT120 750, they’re all here. And they’re all perfect. Sales tool or not, this is a book that Triumph fans, and for that matter any vintage motorcycle enthusiast, will want to add to their collection.
Wolfgang Publications: 144 pages, $49.95. To order a copy, visit the Motorcycle Classics store. MC