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Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548710
06/16/14 12:03 am
06/16/14 12:03 am
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The Northwoods... Michigan
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Some would, have, and will argue that there were no genuine TT bikes until the stamp came out in 66, any one prior was simply a T120C (though Triumph ads disagree with that). Not remembering as much as I'd like to about the 65 models, what differences will opening them up discover? Sprocket maybe... what else? Anything?






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Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548711
06/16/14 12:09 am
06/16/14 12:09 am
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Scotland
kommando Offline
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Compression ratio ?

Tail light is a one year and US only job by the way but common to all T120R's, UK was std.

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: kommando] #548713
06/16/14 12:18 am
06/16/14 12:18 am
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The Northwoods... Michigan
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CR, could be, I'd have to research it. But hey, not my bike! Tidza will, I'm sure.

Original ignitions would be different, but this bike has a Boyer, so...

I think the taillight frame was in use for more than one year, not sure how many (it changed the following year)... it differed in 65 by the addition of the little adaptor cup for the 6-something lens in the US. Another bolt-on.

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: Steve Erickson] #548738
06/16/14 7:30 am
06/16/14 7:30 am
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Further research indicates the build record for this bike has it as a T120C, but the dispatch record as a T120 TT. Which confirms at least that there was a designation of TT prior to 1966 when it was added to the engine number (which corresponds with Steve's assertions here and in other threads).

I believe Gaylin has something relevant to say, possibly about the build/dispatch record discrepancies, in his 'Triumph Motorcycle Restoration Guide', Chapter 7. I don't have it (ordering, but not available for fast delivery) so if anyone does it would be fantastic if you could share anything relevant he has to say on the matter bigt

The frame number is not in the usual place on the LH bar under the tank but on the LH downtube near the headstock, as in this one from another 1965 T120C TT.

The stamp looks correct - with a (light) serif '1' in 'T120', in contrast to that in the engine number .

Anyone have any thoughts on this? Or seen a frame number from that period in a similar location? I know the frame changed in '66 but think this was after a number in the DU22**** range

Cheers, Charley




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: Steve Erickson] #548739
06/16/14 7:40 am
06/16/14 7:40 am
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Well if the only internal difference between a standard T120C and a TT was a sprocket and possibly higher comp pistons, the other differences being folding footrests, no lights/horn, different exhausts and handlebars (?) you do have to question why Triumph would bother designating it as a different model (which they clearly did). But that's marketing for you, I guess!

Charley




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548741
06/16/14 8:25 am
06/16/14 8:25 am
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Scotland
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I have a 65 frame but I am also several 1000 miles away from it but if you can wait a week. From memory mine is stamped on the LH side of the downtube near the headstock.

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548746
06/16/14 8:53 am
06/16/14 8:53 am
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Scotland
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Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: kommando] #548747
06/16/14 8:54 am
06/16/14 8:54 am
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Thanks kommando, would be helpful. Though I need to make my mind up on this by Thursday, so if anyone else has a 65 T120 frame and could confirm location of frame number that would be helpful in the meantime. The frame number stamps I have seen for DU14060 and DU18855 were both on the LH tube under the tank. Perhaps they were on the downtube on earlier bikes? My one is DU 11039. Is yours earlier than DU14060, if you know it?

Charley




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548750
06/16/14 9:09 am
06/16/14 9:09 am
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Here's another later '65 frame number, also off a supposed TT, DU14105 - LH under tank tube again.




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548754
06/16/14 9:22 am
06/16/14 9:22 am
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Scotland
kommando Offline
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I think mine is in the 12000 range, don't get back in uk until Friday.

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548756
06/16/14 9:31 am
06/16/14 9:31 am
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kommando Offline
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Cut and paste this into your browser URL field and click to enlarge and you will see this 64 T120R has the number on the left side of the downtube near the headstock.


http://triumphbonneville120.co.uk/resources/DSC02220s.JPG

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: kommando] #548779
06/16/14 11:49 am
06/16/14 11:49 am
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Thanks, pal! When seen in perspective I'm beginning to think it's the angle the photos were taken from and all the numbers are in that position! confused Which would make a lot more sense. My TR7 ones in pretty much the same place - think I was talking b0llox about numbers being on the tube under the tank - which wouldn't be a good place to put them (even supposing T120 frames had tubes under the tank like a Featherbed, which was what I was thinking). Appreciate your help on this.

The big question now is why the build records have the bike as a T120C yet the dispatch records as a T120 TT. Which was it - or was this common in Triumph records? It does prove that there was an official TT model before they started stamping it on the numbers in '66 at least. The only thing that makes a '65 TT 'genuine' is in fact what the records say - there is absolutely no other way of differentiating one from a standard T120C which has had various parts removed (headlight/tailight/horn/speedo) or added (TT pipes, folding footrests). Whether my bike is genuine depends entirely on whether the build or dispatch record is correct (and what Gaylin has to say on the matter in Chapter 7 of his restoration guide, which I'm going to order but is not readily available - for next day delivery anyway).

There's a lot of conflicting information about West and East Coast models. A TT is I believe termed a West Coast model - and a TT should have the TT pipes, I would think. Perhaps Triumph built all T120C bikes as standard T120Cs, then decided to strip bits off and add TT pipes in response to US demand and ship them as T120 TTs? Not sure what Gaylin says as I don't have his book (just the 'Triumph in America' one which doesn't have much on the matter).

Then maybe when the bikes arrived Stateside, Tri-Cor swapped the pipes to the high level ones and added lights in response to customer demand, selling the bike as a street scrambler rather than a desert racer? Then again, some customers evidently preferred them left in TT form as they had been shipped, particularly for use in drag racing (read it somewhere online).

Like I said, lots of inconsistency in the information, but my thesis is:

* '65 T120C TT bikes started life at Meriden as standard T120C builds, and build records reflected that
* There were no engine differences other than open TT pipes and probably jetting (accounting for the claimed additional 2 horses)
* They were dispatched as T120 TTs without headlight/rearlight/horn and with folding footrests and a set of TT pipes - these would have been assembled by Tri-Cor in Baltimore for East Coast distribution or JoMo in California for West Coast
* Dispatch records recorded them as 'T120 TT'
* The distributors would add extras such as lighting and horn, different fenders/exhausts to match customer requirements

This is all pure conjecture! Perhaps David Gaylin has more on it.




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548787
06/16/14 12:50 pm
06/16/14 12:50 pm
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The Northwoods... Michigan
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..."This is all pure conjecture"...

Yep.

But it is surprising to hear that the despatch records actually list it as a TT, first I've heard of that. And then send the bike East rather than West...

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548789
06/16/14 1:02 pm
06/16/14 1:02 pm
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Most dispatch records were hand written and later transposed to a typed list. All the T100R bikes of '55 were listed as T100C's on the typed dispatch list yet all the frame and engines were stamped T100R. I think the fact that the factory used left over T100C frames led to this discrepancy but it shows that even factory lists can contain human error and corrections.


Bill B...


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Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: Steve Erickson] #548801
06/16/14 2:47 pm
06/16/14 2:47 pm
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Originally Posted By: Steve Erickson
..."This is all pure conjecture"...

Yep.

But it is surprising to hear that the despatch records actually list it as a TT, first I've heard of that. And then send the bike East rather than West...


Hi Steve

My source for the information is the TOMCC archives, who hold microfiche copies of the factory archives for it (VMCC hold the originals not far from me in Burton-on-Trent - I'm hoping to pay them a visit to do some research). I would suggest TOMCC are a pretty authoritative source. This is the response:

"I can confirm T120C [DU14039] was built on the 25th August 1964 and was despatched to Triumph Corporation, Baltimore on the 2nd September."

"The build record records DU14039 as a T120C but the despatch record says T120TT."

As Boomer points out, the records were hand written and prone to error [The build records were in fact typed, it was the dispatch records which were hand-written, I'm reliably informed]. Maybe the bike was sent West instead of East, who knows? Maybe the despatch record should have read "T120C" instead of "T120TT" - or the build record "T120TT" instead of "T120C".

If I personally had access to the factory records I would look at them for other VINs of bikes purported to be 1965 T120C TTs and look for similarities/differences (which might support some of my conjecture, or disprove it - either would be positive). Unfortunately, I don't - though I have asked the TOMCC if they could take a look. Bearing in mind they are all volunteers and have other demands on their time than looking up info on Triumphs, I can't really expect too much.

It would be interesting to see though if the build/despatch records for other '65 T120C TTs had similarities - such as in recording bikes as T120Cs when built but T120TTs when dispatched.

My main point is that the only way available to most of us (who didn't purchase one new, for example) to determine whether a T120C is a 'genuine' TT or not is from the records and even then their is a sizeable margin for error due to their inaccuracy. The lack of any stamp indicating they are TTs, and the fact that the differences between a TT and a standard bike were largely visual (and aural!) and easily replicated makes it very easy for someone to customize a standard bike and pass it off as a TT. Seriously starting to think I should just look around for a later T120 TT with stamps that seem genuine - though here in the UK they're rare as rocking horse sh1te, all well over-priced and those that are available have been molested by the concours restoration brigade and you wouldn't dare actually ride one (if it would in fact run in the first place).

I was also advised:

"I suggest you read chapter 7 in Triumph Motorcycle Restoration Guide by David Gaylin" - hence my request to anyone who has the book to pass on what is says of relevance.

Charley


Last edited by Tidza Tiger; 06/17/14 9:29 am.



Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: Boomer] #548804
06/16/14 3:04 pm
06/16/14 3:04 pm
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Originally Posted By: Boomer
All the T100R bikes of '55 were listed as T100C's on the typed dispatch list yet all the frame and engines were stamped T100R. I think the fact that the factory used left over T100C frames led to this discrepancy but it shows that even factory lists can contain human error and corrections.


Bill B...


Good point, Bill. So even more margin for error if Triumph were using engines and frames stamped "T12OC" but then referring to it as a "TT" (which they clearly were... if the dispatch record is to be believed...)

Charley

Charley

Last edited by Tidza Tiger; 06/16/14 3:28 pm.



Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548808
06/16/14 3:54 pm
06/16/14 3:54 pm
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Am I missing something here? Were there any '65 T120Cs exported to the US that year which were NOT "TT"s? If there were, is there any difference in their value? I understood there were "around 150" "T120C TTs" shipped to the US in '65 - but the seller in fact stated there were around 150 "T120Cs", the rarity of the model reflected in the high price (compared to T120Rs of the same year, for example).

So is the fact that my bike is (almost certainly) a genuine T120C the only thing that matters? Have I got the wrong end of the stick here? confused

The bike was in fact advertised as a "T120C" and not a "T120C TT" (except on the YouTube video, which was made by the PO in the States). I seem to have convinced myself it's a "T120C TT" and that makes it different from any other run of the mill T120C. But is there a difference? At least for the '65 US models?

Charley




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548825
06/16/14 5:45 pm
06/16/14 5:45 pm
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IMO, I think adding the TT stamp mid year of '66 was just a marketing thing. The T120C in the States, AFAIK, were all considered TT's, they just weren't stamped that.

If I was you, I would not be worrying myself so much. The stamps look good and it's a rare bike. I think it should have the high pipes. I like the look. Also alloy fenders but they didn't last long.

Bill B....


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Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548828
06/16/14 5:52 pm
06/16/14 5:52 pm
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On my TOMCC dating certificate, my 1964 T120C is stated as being built as a 'Bonneville Competition'


1970 TR6C
1970 TR6R
1974 T120RV
Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: tiger_cub] #548849
06/16/14 8:06 pm
06/16/14 8:06 pm
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I think I was laboring under the delusion, fostered by misinformation on the internet, that T120Cs could be divided into 'stock' ones and factory "TT Specials". These could be desert racers (shipped to JoMo in California: TT pipe, no lighting or horn, rev counter only - "West Coast" spec) or street scramblers (shipped to Tri-Cor in Baltimore: high pipes, lighting, horn, speedo - "East Coast" spec). (The last sentence I believe is correct, but not the first.)

I imagined the TTs to be a sportier, more desirable off-road variant of the 'stock' T120C, and what I was trying to determine was how I could verify whether mine was one of these. This notion was reinforced by comments on the internet along the lines of "Toby was delighted to find when researching the paperwork that his T120C was a "TT" and not the stock bike he thought it was..."

Now I believe that there is no 'stock' T120C: the T120C was a competition version of the T120 which came in two flavours, East and West Coast. The T120C was probably referred to as a "TT" or a "TT Special" by Triumph well before "TT" was added to the VIN - Steve mentions it was in their marketing.

In 1966 - possibly as a doff of the hat towards Bob Dylan for going electric, possibly not - the T120C emerged into the sexy new "T120 TT". Pretty much the same as the T120C, but now sporting the emblematic "TT" letters in its VIN - and a paint job which seemed inspired by the kind of decor you might encounter in a 1960s English cinema (the kind that was converted into a Wetherspoons in the '90s and has not aged well). "Subtle as a sawed-off shotgun" as I've heard it rather emotively described - and which no doubt helped market it towards a kind of urbane poseur who probably then would have had his own personal mechanic and these days would frequent track days in his brand new, top of the range Ducati.

Thus according to my version of the "TT Story", the T120C (and the '65 model in particular) was simply a predecessor to the T120 TT - in a more attractive colour scheme and ridden by Steve McQueen types in desert TTs, steeplechases and hare and hound events (?? no idea what these might have involved, probably banned now).

So really all that needed verifying was whether mine is in fact a T120C. I'm pretty confident I have now done that to my satisfaction, having researched the VIN - p1ssed off everyone on the Forum alonb the way with my constant stupid questions. Thanks for your patience, fellas.

Yes, the bike was originally shipped to Baltimore and maybe would have sported high pipes, lighting, painted fenders etc. But then again, maybe not. I read on one site that the 'West Coast' version was popular among some on the East Coast for drag racing (I guess this may be the origin of the term 'drag pipes', synonymous with 'TT pipes'). So mine could have been in 'West Coast' guise initially, despite having landed in Baltimore - or maybe not.

As Steve has pointed out, there's no 'correct' build. I'll choose to believe mine was always West Coast spec - there's no history with the bike so impossible to prove either way. Over time I may find tell-tale signs which suggest otherwise (I'll studiously ignore them).




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: tiger_cub] #548851
06/16/14 8:15 pm
06/16/14 8:15 pm
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Originally Posted By: tiger_cub
On my TOMCC dating certificate, my 1964 T120C is stated as being built as a 'Bonneville Competition'


Sorry, TC, got a bit carried away there...

What I meant to say was, I've just received an update from the very helpful TOMCC on the '65 T120C VINs I submitted to be looked up in the factory records, response below:

"Both DU18855 and DU21921 are recorded as T120TT in the despatch book but the build books recorded both machines as T120 ET (Energy Transfer)."

So that complicates matters even further - it seems they were calling all T120Cs "T120TT" on dispatch, so the term was obviously in common usage already in '65, as has been claimed. T120ET is a new one though - not sure if this was to differentiate between T120Cs with ET ignition and those with other types (if there were such in '65).

Charley




Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548871
06/16/14 10:38 pm
06/16/14 10:38 pm
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I skimmed through all of the posts in this thread and there is a mix of good and bad information. Without taking the time to quote which is which, information from the 1965 West Coast and East Coast sales catalogs touches on a lot of the points raised. The West Coast catalog was particularly beautiful that year. So much so that the refined taste of the curators of the Guggenheim's 'The Art of the Motorcycle' caused them to pick it to be in a vitrine in the museum along with a limited selection of other 'ephemera'.

Anyway, the west coast version of the TT cost a full $4 more than the one sent east ($1199 vs. $1195). There were two Bonnevilles in the west catalog that year: the T120R "Bonneville Speedmaster" and the T120C "Bonneville T.T. Special." However, there were three in the east: T120/R "Road Sports Model," T120/C "Competition Sports Model," and "Bonneville TT Special."

The east catalog doesn't mention the ignition system, but the west lists the TT as having an ET ignition. Skimming through the specs in the east catalog, the principle differences between the /C and the TT are 8.5:1 vs. 11.2:1 and a different suffix on the AMAL carbs (which could mean a difference as little as different main jets).

Note that I have found with other Triumphs that the use of a "/" in the brochures doesn't not necessarily mean there's one stamped on the engine. So, depending on how it started life at the factory, a 1965 engine stamped "T120C" could be a sporting east coast model, or an even more sporting west coast TT.

The moral of this, and many other, stories can be summarized as: "Buy the book, then buy the bike." When contemplating spending $20k (or even 1/4 of that), I can't emphasize enough that someone should collect as much relevant information as possible to minimize the very real possibility of disappointment later. I'm not saying an east coast T120/C wouldn't be a very desirable bike to own, but if the present market value of them is, say, $10k it would be upsetting to most people to learn later that they spent $20k thinking it was something else.

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548873
06/16/14 10:53 pm
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p.s. I forgot I had a third combined east/west catalog. However, a footnote in it says that the "Western specifications may vary from those shown," so it must have been created by Triumph in Maryland. This catalog shows three models:

"T120/TT Bonneville Special Competition"
"T120/R Bonneville Road Sports"
"T120/C Bonneville Competition Sports"

Although the information is consistent with the east coast-only catalog, note that the names vary slightly (as well as having a /TT on one of them).

Keep in mind that this information comes from sales catalogs which are known to be problematic when deciding on specific details. But, the probable existence of non-TT engines stamped T120C and shipped to the east coast should be enough alone to convince someone they need a lot more information before squandering their children's inheritance.


Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: TT Rider] #548887
06/17/14 3:47 am
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i just see that on eBay, looks like a great looking bike and sounds great too.
Go for it

Re: 1965 T120C TT Desert Sled - what are they worth [Re: paul67] #548896
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T
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 552
Queensland, Australia
Winning bid was just under 5k (sorry, for that '70 model I noted earlier)

Last edited by Tiger100; 06/17/14 6:27 am. Reason: Clarification

Regards

Grant
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