1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES

British to the last

| September/October 2008

  • triumph bonneville t140 es 1
    Bill Sarjeant's 1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 2
    Bill Sarjeant's 1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 3
    Bill Sarjeant's 1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 4
    Bill Sarjeant's 1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES.
    Photo by Robert Smith
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 5
    Bill Sarjeant's 1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES.
    Photo by Robert Smith

  • triumph bonneville t140 es 1
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 2
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 3
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 4
  • triumph bonneville t140 es 5

1982 Triumph Bonneville T140 ES
Years produced:
1980-1983
Claimed power: 50hp @ 7,000rpm
Top speed: 100mph
Engine: 744cc OHV, air-cooled parallel twin
Weight (dry): 194.6kg (429lbs)
MPG: 35mpg (avg.)
Price then: $3,295
Price now: $3,000 - $5,000

1982: It was the year of the Falklands’ War, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the death of John Belushi. It was also when, in March, Bill Sarjeant’s Triumph Bonneville T140 ES rolled off the production line at Meriden and made its way, Bill reckons, to British Motorcycles on Fraser Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. From there, its story is a little vague until restorer par excellence Richard Brown in Victoria, British Columbia, bought it.

A little history
In 1975, the British motorcycle industry was pronounced officially deceased when Norton Villiers Triumph, the UK’s sole-surviving mass-producer, pulled the plug on its Commando and Trident range at the end of the model year. And that should have been that.

The huge BSA-Triumph conglomerate had foundered over the failed introduction of its 1971 model range and from increasingly intense competition in the U.S. — its biggest market by far. In 1972, Norton Villiers owner Dennis Poore bought the failed company and its two main manufacturing facilities (the BSA plant at Small Heath and the Triumph Meriden factory), naming the new company Norton Villiers Triumph (NVT). Poore planned to move all Triumph production to Small Heath and close Meriden, and announced his intentions in 1973.



The Meriden workforce had other ideas. They closed the factory gates, locking themselves in. Supported by other trade unions, the workers’ cooperative was determined to keep building Bonnevilles and produced a small number of bikes from their parts inventory. But no new supplies were forthcoming, and it was surely just a matter of time before the cooperative failed, too. When NVT shut down in 1975, it appeared the coffin was nailed shut.

But a change of national government ushered in a Labor administration, which decided the Meriden cooperative could become a bold, new experiment in socialist “enterprise.” Industry Minister Tony Benn persuaded his government to fund the workers’ cooperative. Suppliers were also encouraged to support the “venture,” and Bonnevilles were soon once again rolling out of Meriden, albeit in smaller numbers. The cooperative actually struggled on for another nine years, the last Meriden Bonneville being built in 1984. By that time, Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, and there was emphatically no more government money.

meriden4ever
11/26/2019 5:36:13 PM

The Harris Triumphs had Paioli forks not Marzocchi although Meriden had experimented with the latter.


meriden4ever
11/26/2019 5:25:57 PM

I do notice that the speedo is the 85mph Veglia type used from 1980-83 TMA models and seemingly also on Canadian models as it had the necessary kph calibration too. The Executive was I suspect t after the Jubilee and D Special , the most popular of the short-run Co-op models. The Brearly-Smith Sabre fairing could be replaced by a similarly colour-matched Rickman full fairing if desired. The Sigma luggage came with red warning triangle and first aid kit and was fully lockable. This was also the first model to receive electric starting. A high-end model that sadly isn’t as popular today as the lower range models.


Bruce Hunt
7/1/2013 1:03:46 AM

I have an '82 Bonneville Royal LE anyone know how many were importwd to U.S. ??




The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5.00 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $29.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $34.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Free Product Information Classifieds

click me