Title Triumph Motorcycles in America
Authors: Lindsay Brooke & David Gaylin
Publishing date: January 2018
They came bearing gifts
It is so rewarding to have your reviews appreciated by the publishers. As a token of their joy they promptly send you a brand-new book to disclose to the rest of the world of motorcycle enthusiasts.
Working with Quarto Publishers is a special joy for me as they have been leaders in the field of books for petrolheads for many decades. In their catalog, you will find books on anything with an engine. Boats, planes, cars and in our case bikes!
Not too long ago I reviewed the epic book on Triumph’s history by expert Ian Falloon. It was a pleasure to read and ditto to write about. In my concluding words, I mentioned one slight point about its publication date. Very unfortunately, this book came out at the end of 2015, just before the launch of the new range of retro models.
Brought to me like room service.
Sometimes you get what you (really) wish for and in this case, it was a beautiful book bearing the title “Triumph Motorcycles in America”. Indeed in this book the new range of Bonnevilles and Triples are featured. Not extensively but complete enough to make many readers happy. Not only is attention given to the new 2016 models, but there is quite extensive coverage on the man who’s vision an persistence helped revive this iconic brand; John Bloor.
Already a fan of the brand (both Meriden and Hinckley), my respect grew even bigger reading about how the present success came about. A perfect combination of entrepreneurship, smart marketing and last but certainly not least, excellent engineering! 60.000 (and burgeoning) sold bikes per year is ample proof this factory has got their stuff together. The writers Lindsay Brooke and David Gaylin are authorities on Triumph history and they have delivered a great piece of research.
Bikes & lifestyle
Motorcycles are one thing, but they are really driven by the lifestyle(s) they represent. Every particular brand has its own following and who you are is, to a certain point, dictated by the by the image of the bike you ride. For many riders, the bike is more than a machine you ride. It is a representation of your lifestyle.
Style has been an important factor in the success of Triumph from early beginnings. However, it was the legendary Edward Turner who understood the importance of image better than most and put it to good use when marketing the Triumph brand from the moment he took the reins in the late 30’s – early 40’s.
After WWII Triumph really set out to expand their market and looked West. Due to legislation manufacturers were forced to export the majority of their products. Raw materials were in short supply, as was cash. The United States being a big and booming market made it an easy decision to focus on consumers that side of the water.
The brand’s importer, William E. Johnson of Johnson Motors was located on the West coast and had an enviable network in Hollywood’s film industry. Being the smart marketeer, Turner obviously took full advantage and made sure many movie icons were seen riding Triumph, both on screen as well as off screen.
Building an image
In spite of Hollywood buffs being used to a façade only on their sets, building a sustainable image requires more depth and true bragging rights. The machines and their riders took many a stage in competitions ranging from dirt track, track racing, road racing, hill climbing to scrambling (now motocross). Perhaps even more inspiring were the brand’s achievements on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Those records remained untouched for many years. The Americans have competitiveness (’second place is the first loser’) in their DNA which helped Triumph claim the rightful place in the market based on the race results.
The outstanding quality of the photographic material in this book makes it hard to put away. The editorial is first class, well written and captivating and the pictures do justice to the overall quality of this book. It gives an excellent overview of the history of Triumph Motorcycles in America and the way the Brits conquered this territory once again (…). It is a perfect addition to the opus produced by Falloon.
Although it is a brand new edition, the book is a revised edition of the original which was published back in 1993. Should you still have a copy of that year, it is worth quite a lot more than what you paid for it at the time. Check ebay.
In short, I am sorry, but all true Triumph fans should just go and buy this splendid hardcover!