Vintage Bike Bug Cured by Triumph Trophy

Vintage bike collector stumbles upon a 1970 Triumph Trophy in police deputy’s garage.

| February 2013

  • Harley In The Barn Cover
    If you can't pass a padlocked garage without wondering if there's a great vintage motorcycle stashed inside, then “The Harley in the Barn” is your book.
    Cover Courtesy Motorbooks

  • Harley In The Barn Cover

Driving down a country road, a flash of chrome catches your eye as you pass an old farmstead. Next time you roll by, you slow down and focus on a shed behind the house. Could that be? Yep, it's a vintage Triumph Bonneville peering forlornly from beneath a tattered cover. You've just begun the journey that fuels the dreams of every motorcycle collector: the long-forgotten machine, re-discovered. The Harley in the Barn (Motorbooks, 2012) offers 40-plus tales of lost Nortons, hidden Hondas, dormant Indians and busted BSAs, all squirreled away from prying eyes but found by lucky collectors just like you. Author Tom Cotter is not only a barn-find master, he's also master of discovering the collectors with the best stories and the most outlandish finds. In the following excerpt from chapter 3, “Real Character,” a vintage bike collector comes across his dream bike, a 1970 Triumph Trophy. 

Buy this book in the Motorcycle Classics store: The Harley in the Barn. 

For Tom Heffron, the bike bug bit early. “When I was a kid, there was a guy up the street—this was probably in 1975—who had a Harley Sportster, and the next year he bought a Norton Commando, and I think I remember a 1969 Triumph Bonneville before those,” Heffron said.

Heffron got his first motorcycle in 1979, and five years later moved up to what he considered his dream ride—his own Sportster. “I always wanted a Sportster,” he said. “In 1984 I bought an ’82 that had been sitting on the showroom floor for two years.” The Sportster became his daily rider and also was used for long-distance touring in the upper Midwest, where Heffron was an art director for a Twin Cities–area book publisher.

But then another bike bug bit Heffron. “The vintage bike bug,” he said.

In 1989, a friend of Heffron’s bought a ’69 Bonneville and converted it to a chopper-style ride. Heffron became intrigued by the thought of a vintage bike, but his goal wasn’t to customize or to modernize such a ride, but to either keep it or to return it to its original specification. He even knew which bike he wanted.

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