Triton with a Twist: Williams Triton 804

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Photo by Dino Petrocelli
Dave Williams' Triton 804.

Williams Triton 804
Engine: 804cc air-cooled OHV parallel-twin, 79mm x 82mm bore and stroke, 9.5:1 compression ratio, 50hp @ 7,000rpm (est., rear wheel)
Top speed: 115mph (est.)
Carburetion: Two 30mm Amal Mk1 Concentric
Transmission: 5-speed with Bob Newby belt primary drive, chain final drive
Electrics: 12v, SRM electronic magneto in Lucas K2F housing
Frame/wheelbase: Norton Wideline Featherbed tubular steel dual downtube duplex cradle frame/60in (1,525mm)
Suspension: 38mm Marzocchi telescopic fork front, dual Hagon shocks w/adjustable preload rear
Brakes: 9in (230mm) Grimeca TLS drum front, 7in (178mm) SLS drum rear
Tires: 3.25 x 19in front, 120/90 x 18in rear
Seat height: 30.5in (775mm)
Weight (dry): 412lb (187 kg)

Triton. For those who remember it first time around, the name flips the on switch in the memory bank, and the images start rolling onto your mental screen. Jailhouse Rock, Bill Haley and the Big Bopper. Brylcreem on your hair, white chin scarves, mods and rockers, jukebox jives… and anyone who rode a bike that wasn’t British needed their head examined.

A Sixties hybrid created by marrying a twin-cylinder Triumph engine with a Norton Featherbed frame, the Triton was the archetype café racer of the period, delivering ultra street cred because you couldn’t buy one from a dealer — you had to build your own. Dave Williams built the Triton shown here. It took him four years, building it in his spare time from his job as a fine surface finisher for a custom wood company, and it has ton-up potential, should he so wish. That’s because Dave, of Syracuse, New York, built it with big-bore performance to match its superlative Art Deco looks — as I found out for myself when he chucked me the keys last October to spend a day riding it through the Alabama hills, when he brought it to the 2017 Barber Vintage Festival.

Before starting work back in 2006 on crafting the Triton in a shed attached to his suburban home, containing nothing more than a workbench and basic power tools, Dave already had form as a top-level restorer of British motorcycles. A well-used 1968 Triumph T120R he brought back to original once earned a 99-point mark at an Antique Motorcycle Club of America show. “I also purchased a 1973 Bonneville and fixed it up, and then a 1970 Tiger I won quite a few awards with,” he says. “But I wanted to build something more individual, where I could be a bit more creative. That’s why I built a Triton — there seemed to be a certain freedom about it, except for certain components that define a Triton, like the Norton frame with clip-on handlebars, and the Triumph engine. From that point on you have the freedom to do whatever you want.”

Dave used to be an auto body tech, repairing collision damage and helping with restorations. He knows how to work metal, and how to paint it — skills he put to good use restoring his 1965 Buick Riviera. As he was finishing the Buick, Dave was offered the makings of the Triton project by a friend who’d started assembling the parts needed, but who must have become daunted by what was entailed. With the bare essentials of his Triton template, Dave started work on his Triton, a ’60s-style British hot rod done differently. VERY differently. “It took me four years to build it,” Dave says. “I worked on it almost every day, probably 20 hours a week. I shut off the TV, I don’t have a computer, so I really got into it and just focused on getting it done. Instead of laying around wasting my time, I wanted to build something I’d be proud of. Which I am.”


Dave’s Triton features a late-1950s Norton Wideline Featherbed frame. It arrived minus a swingarm, so he sourced a T140 component and added twin Hagon shocks. The front end is from a 1973 Benelli 650 Tornado, featuring a 38mm Marzocchi fork and a hefty 230mm Grimeca twin-leading-shoe drum front brake. A 7-inch BSA/Triumph single-leading-shoe drum from a T140 nestles inside the conical rear hub, with a front 19-inch WM2/1.85-inch Excel shouldered alloy rim up front matched to an 18-inch WM4/2.50-inch rim at the rear. Also worthy of note is the easy-on/easy-off centerstand, a work of art that Dave designed and handcrafted, with a spring-loaded rod that pops out when you push the lever catch mechanism pedal down with your toe. Very clever.

Order the July/August 2018 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Williams Triton. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.

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