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Re: Production numbers [Re: L.A.B.] #552541
07/12/14 4:19 pm
07/12/14 4:19 pm
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North Coast, BC, Canada
Two Alpha Offline OP

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Yeah, that's a whoops, I must have had April 4th, 1974 in mind, but Sept. 14th, 1973 looks correct. That would help explain the way they're entered, without the stamp, busy day at Meriden.

That also suggests that they might have had the better part of 1,000 bikes despatched before the sit-in.

Last edited by Two Alpha; 07/12/14 4:39 pm.

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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #552613
07/13/14 2:36 am
07/13/14 2:36 am
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Originally Posted By: Stuart
The first '74-season T150 was HJ40101 built on 28th June 1973

are we sure that it was HJ40101 and not GJ40101?

You're correct, I've corrected it.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
This looks like a similar situation to the 1970 R3's,

confused

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
almost all completed bikes from this page weren't despatched until Sept. and Oct., 1974.

Curiously, this doesn't appear to be unusual. In http://www.triplesonline.com/forum/getmsg.asp?167001, current TR3OC Archivist Clive Blake tells of a T150 not moved out of Meriden 'til 1st October 1974.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
in the Date Built/Engine column, there is an accounting from Mar., 1975, perhaps leftover bikes?

From one of your earlier posts:-

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Zouga had posted on TOL that he owns T150V NK 45902

... in the aforementioned post that's in the same thread, Clive Blake tells an owner, "on the 2nd of October 1974 it was dispatched ... to the Triumph Corporation Baltimore Maryland USA, ... was returned to Small Heath ... in March 1975. I reckon those bikes with a March '75 date in the "Date Built/Engine column" are at least some of those returned bikes.

Therefore, I'd be careful about drawing too many conclusions from just that page or book; there's more to the stories than can be drawn from just those entries.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
It would be interesting to know when the last T150 engine was built. They must have carried on a bit too long as it seems that they still had quite a few leftovers, including bikes, when they began despatching the T160's.

The last T150 was built in early November '74, the first T160 in mid-November (14th?).

Problem with the T160's development is we know it was protracted, but we don't know the details. For instance, there are photos. in Bert Hopwood's Whatever Happened To the British Motorcycle Industry that purport to show the T160 "ready for production". But the bike shown has the 3-into-1 exhaust system with the 'double-stack' silencer, "Thunderbird III" sidepanel badges and rear lamp in the 'Vetter TT' position ... that everyone must've known was illegal for the US, and had limited practicality. frown

I believe that someone senior - perhaps Poore himself - ordered a styling revamp not long before production. That's partly speculation but certainly unused "Thunderbird III" sidepanel badges are still available, and (rusty) 'double-stack' silencers can still be had, which suggests production-sized quantities forty years ago. frown

What prompted the restyle, I don't know. It could've been coincidental, or it could've been triggered by the legal challenge to the use of the 'Thunderbird 3'. For some convoluted legal reason, although NVT (as successors to BSA and Triumph) owned the rights to "Thunderbird", combined with a number, it's something different and they didn't. The owners of the (then) Thunderbirds TV puppet show (curiously, not Gerry Anderson confused ) owned them and successfully stopped NVT. frown

One consequence of the delay to the T160 was the need to keep the workforce occupied, presumably considered cheaper overall than laying them off and then having to rehire only a few months later to produce the T160 ...

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Production numbers [Re: Stuart] #552680
07/13/14 12:31 pm
07/13/14 12:31 pm
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Two Alpha Offline OP

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Originally Posted By: Stuart
Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
This looks like a similar situation to the 1970 R3's,
confused

I was just thinking that perhaps this was another case of the parts book having the wrong date code for the series start number.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
almost all completed bikes from this page weren't despatched until Sept. and Oct., 1974.

Curiously, this doesn't appear to be unusual. In http://www.triplesonline.com/forum/getmsg.asp?167001, current TR3OC Archivist Clive Blake tells of a T150 not moved out of Meriden 'til 1st October 1974.


Not unusual at all as it now looks like Sept. 24th 1974 must have been near the earliest despatch date for the stockpiled Meriden Tridents.

The John Rosamond book makes no mention of T150V motorcycles leaving Meriden during that brief period in March, 1974, only "more of the vital items needed at Small Heath for the production of the Triumph three cylinder Tridents and some further sales of stockpiled Bonnevilles."
When the Government announced in July 1974 that they "would loan 4.7m plus provide a 750,000 grant to the Triumph Co-op at Meriden", that must have helped sweeten NVT's negotiations for the release of at least a portion of the stockpiled Tridents.
This page that we have seems to span the last despatched Tridents pre sit-in, and the first Meriden Tridents despatched out just over a year later. Of course the other pages around it may have similar entries.


Originally Posted By: Stuart
... in the aforementioned post that's in the same thread, Clive Blake tells an owner, "on the 2nd of October 1974 it was dispatched ... to the Triumph Corporation Baltimore Maryland USA, ... was returned to Small Heath ... in March 1975. I reckon those bikes with a March '75 date in the "Date Built/Engine column" are at least some of those returned bikes.
Yes, that makes sense.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Therefore, I'd be careful about drawing too many conclusions from just that page or book; there's more to the stories than can be drawn from just those entries.
Just a few correct conclusions would be nice. There's lot's of information there for discussion though.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
It would be interesting to know when the last T150 engine was built. They must have carried on a bit too long as it seems that they still had quite a few leftovers, including bikes, when they began despatching the T160's.

The last T150 was built in early November '74, the first T160 in mid-November (14th?).
I was wondering more about the completion dates of the engine's themselves, say Zouga's 45902, why did they continue building engines when it was putting them so far into surplus?
I erred in an assumption that partially completed machines had been released back in March 1974, apparently that wasn't the case. NVT would have had to carry on production with disregard for the Tridents stockpiled at Meriden, they would have had no way of knowing whether those bikes would be freed up in time for the 1974 season.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Problem with the T160's development is we know it was protracted, but we don't know the details.


Interesting, do you think that the T160's late first build date was because of this? If so, at least it provided time for them to move out more of the overstocked and Meriden 1974's. I'm still curious as to when the highest numbered T150V engine came off the engine line.


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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #552799
07/14/14 1:20 am
07/14/14 1:20 am
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Originally Posted By: Stuart
Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
This looks like a similar situation to the 1970 R3's,
confused

I was just thinking that perhaps this was another case of the parts book having the wrong date code for the series start number.

I'm with you. The '74 "Series 1" parts book is stands out from the series (99-2251 to 99-2254) in using the 'NVT' typeface and not having a publication date; two of the others have "Published June 1973". It'd be an interesting detail to know when the T150 "Series 1" parts book reached dealers - whether it was planned or just produced to differentiate the early ones from the Small Heath-produced "Series 2"?

Otoh, the '70 parts book usually seen - e.g. on Kim's CD and the Big D website - is dated "January 1970" but is the third edition, there are two earlier ones, that don't have the "North American Variant" pages in the back.

Again, it's partially speculation but, with the '70 T150's, I suspect some production was tentatively planned for some time during the year, just nothing was going to happen 'til the '69 backlog was cleared; the last of these appear to have been dispatched from Meriden in February 1970.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Originally Posted By: Stuart
Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
almost all completed bikes from this page weren't despatched until Sept. and Oct., 1974.

Curiously, this doesn't appear to be unusual. In http://www.triplesonline.com/forum/getmsg.asp?167001, current TR3OC Archivist Clive Blake tells of a T150 not moved out of Meriden 'til 1st October 1974.

Not unusual at all as it now looks like Sept. 24th 1974 must have been near the earliest despatch date for the stockpiled Meriden Tridents.
I erred in an assumption that partially completed machines had been released back in March 1974, apparently that wasn't the case.

Hmmm ... I'd be interested to see more documentation before accepting the assumption was erroneous.

Extrapolating again, NVT must've had a good idea about the various conditions of the T150's at Meriden; unless there was something specifically preventing removal of T150's, if I was Dennis Poore, I'd have liked some bikes I could punt straight out while production was ramped-up at Small Heath - even if the numbers were small, it'd be an opportunity for some positive publicity ahead of Small Heath production reaching dealers in numbers?

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
It would be interesting to know when the last T150 engine was built. They must have carried on a bit too long as it seems that they still had quite a few leftovers, including bikes, when they began despatching the T160's.

why did they continue building engines when it was putting them so far into surplus?

As I say, my feeling is that, for whatever reason(s), it was decided that continuing T150 production 'til the T160 was ready was preferable to stopping, laying off workers and then attempting to rehire them when the T160 was ready. confused

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Originally Posted By: Stuart
Problem with the T160's development is we know it was protracted, but we don't know the details.

do you think that the T160's late first build date was because of this?

"Protracted" generally, as it started in 1972! shocked When Craig Vetter attends the TR3OC's Beezumph Rally in GB, he always gives one of his talks. Some years ago, he did one on the T160's development and, iirc, based on his copies of factory documentation, the T160 was planned for '74; i.e. production beginning in late 1973. Then you have to wonder why, when NVT were planning to restart triple production at Small Heath in March 1974, it was still with the T150?

But I do believe that, if I'm right about the late restyle, it did affect the T160's first build date. frown

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Production numbers [Re: Stuart] #552976
07/15/14 2:03 am
07/15/14 2:03 am
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North Coast, BC, Canada
Two Alpha Offline OP

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Originally Posted By: Stuart
Extrapolating again, NVT must've had a good idea about the various conditions of the T150's at Meriden; unless there was something specifically preventing removal of T150's, if I was Dennis Poore, I'd have liked some bikes I could punt straight out while production was ramped-up at Small Heath - even if the numbers were small, it'd be an opportunity for some positive publicity ahead of Small Heath production reaching dealers in numbers?


Rosamond's book has the two page statement that the company made available on Sept. 14th, their plan was to build 2,500 triples, and 5,000 twins, before closing Meriden on Feb. 1st, 1974.
There must have been near 1,000 T150Vs despatched by Sept. 14th, perhaps the dealers still had inventory in February?

Rereading on page 40, it appears there were two separate times when equipment etc. was retrieved from Meriden,

"In return, Tony Benn asked the convenors to consider releasing some of the equipment NVT at Small Heath; this would enable them to start manufacture of the three cylinder Triumph Tridents."(February?)

"In March 1974, NVT began legal proceedings, issuing a writ in order to gain access to the Triumph Factory at Meriden to recover it's contents. This stimulated further urgent action by Tony Benn, once again persuading the pickets to release more of the vital items needed at Small Heath for the production of the Triumph three cylinder Tridents and some further sales of stockpiled Bonnevilles."

I can understand why the picketers might release Bonnevilles but not Tridents, they wanted the Bonneville to carry on.

Also, with the liberation of the hearth, NVT was rolling fully complete Tridents out of Small Heath later in March.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
"Protracted" generally, as it started in 1972! shocked When Craig Vetter attends the TR3OC's Beezumph Rally in GB, he always gives one of his talks. Some years ago, he did one on the T160's development and, iirc, based on his copies of factory documentation, the T160 was planned for '74; i.e. production beginning in late 1973. Then you have to wonder why, when NVT were planning to restart triple production at Small Heath in March 1974, it was still with the T150?

But I do believe that, if I'm right about the late restyle, it did affect the T160's first build date. frown

It does make sense. Any idea when the Thunderbird III specific parts began quantity production? Perhaps they were already running into problems with the name by March?


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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #553138
07/15/14 11:43 pm
07/15/14 11:43 pm
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
"In March 1974, NVT began legal proceedings, issuing a writ in order to gain access to the Triumph Factory at Meriden to recover it's contents. This stimulated further urgent action by Tony Benn, once again persuading the pickets to release more of the vital items needed at Small Heath for the production of the Triumph three cylinder Tridents and some further sales of stockpiled Bonnevilles."

I can understand why the picketers might release Bonnevilles but not Tridents, they wanted the Bonneville to carry on.

Speculating again, it depends on the nature of the bargain struck. NVT were the sales organization (and would continue to be for several years), so imho any "further sales of stockpiled Bonnevilles" (with the money being passed back to the strikers?) would've been in exchange for at least "the vital items needed at Small Heath", and possibly some T150's too? I remember reading at some time that it wasn't always March-on bikes that came from Small Heath, they also completed earlier ones.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Also, with the liberation of the hearth, NVT was rolling fully complete Tridents out of Small Heath later in March.

Digressing slightly, you gotta wonder what was so important about the hearth from Meriden, when supposedly other cycle-parts producing equipment had been bought brand-new for Small Heath and, once they had it, they struggled with building tube-'n'-lug frames? Why not simply buy a new hearth, or contract out the frame-building? confused Or R3 frames were always welded, and the T160 engine was essentially R3 with electric starter and left-foot gearchange. confused

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Any idea when the Thunderbird III specific parts began quantity production? Perhaps they were already running into problems with the name by March?

Don't believe so; other T160 parts don't appear on T150's 'til much closer to the end of production.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Production numbers [Re: Stuart] #553148
07/16/14 2:54 am
07/16/14 2:54 am
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Two Alpha Offline OP

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Originally Posted By: Stuart
Speculating again, it depends on the nature of the bargain struck. NVT were the sales organization (and would continue to be for several years), so imho any "further sales of stockpiled Bonnevilles" (with the money being passed back to the strikers?) would've been in exchange for at least "the vital items needed at Small Heath", and possibly some T150's too? I remember reading at some time that it wasn't always March-on bikes that came from Small Heath, they also completed earlier ones.

Another quote, from page 40 in the Rosamond book, "Hugh Palin, NVT's marketing director, was given the job by Dennis Poore of day-to-day negotiations at the factory with the Meriden pickets. He paid 3 to the fighting fund for each Bonneville loaded on the lorry bound for NVT."
NVT owned the factory and everything in it, the picketers were buying time by releasing some of NVT's own "vital items" back to them, for a fee!
That stock list from Dec. 19th 1973 shows 294 Tridents "packed and wrapped", these would have been the ones NVT would have wanted as they would be able to ship them on fairly quickly. Someone with access to a copy of the despatch books should be able to say when the first Meridan T150V's were despatched out after T150V complete bike production began at Small Heath.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Digressing slightly, you gotta wonder what was so important about the hearth from Meriden, when supposedly other cycle-parts producing equipment had been bought brand-new for Small Heath and, once they had it, they struggled with building tube-'n'-lug frames? Why not simply buy a new hearth, or contract out the frame-building? confused Or R3 frames were always welded, and the T160 engine was essentially R3 with electric starter and left-foot gearchange. confused

Yes, this hearth story has never made enough sense, there must be more to it. Bert Hopwood had pushed for a street version of the Rob North racers previously, surely they could have been rolling out at least small numbers of those within a month or two of the start of the sit-in. They could have very quickly put out an earlier version of the T160, a 1974 version, basically an R3 with Triumph tank, body panels, a disc front end, and a Triumph style timing cover. Instead they struggled for six months before they could produce a series 2 T150V at Small Heath, with the T160 just around the corner?



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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #553155
07/16/14 4:23 am
07/16/14 4:23 am
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Bert Hopwood had pushed for a street version of the Rob North racers previously, surely they could have been rolling out at least small numbers of those out within a month or two of the start of the sit-in.

There were several problems with the North frame:-

. No frame jig, to the extent that things like tanks had to be numbered, as they only fitted a specific frame. Even the US importers couldn't get North frames from GB and went to the extent of having Wenco make a frame jig so they could make their own - Dave Madigan knows more about this.

. Aiui, BSA (the Group) never licensed the North design for production, Rob was simply paid for the parts he produced. By the time any chance of production had arrived, Rob had left his business, partner and GB, and moved to the US, so the legalities were more tangled than NVT would've wanted.

. No development or money to turn a racer into a road bike.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
They could have very quickly put out an earlier version of the T160,

Mmmm ... there were several plans to rebadge BSA models - e.g. a B50 badged as a "Norton International". shocked Given that the GSOC still won't accept BSA unit singles badged 'Gold Star', and that BSA the Group went tits-up very slowly and publicly, imho the eventual decision to give the remains a quiet funeral was the best one.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Production numbers [Re: Stuart] #555155
07/27/14 1:07 pm
07/27/14 1:07 pm
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Sorry for the delayed response, got busy with things I should be doing. smile
I did manage to pick up my own copy of John Rosamond's book, and the second edition Mick Duckworth one is on the way!

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Mmmm ... there were several plans to rebadge BSA models - e.g. a B50 badged as a "Norton International". shocked Given that the GSOC still won't accept BSA unit singles badged 'Gold Star', and that BSA the Group went tits-up very slowly and publicly, imho the eventual decision to give the remains a quiet funeral was the best one.

Both the Hurricane and the T160 were Rocket 3's at heart, another one in the middle to transition may have been a lot easier to pull off than retooling to produce complete T150V's, especially as the T150V's were being phased out within months. I'm sure there was more to it, as in existing orders for the T150V's, it just seems to me that NVT may have missed an opportunity to make a smoother and more efficient transition towards the T160.

Regarding the production numbers though, what was going on with the large numbers of engines in the despatch books not making it into bike production?
1970 season, 51 blank entries in the BSA Triple records, out of 240, "nearly 100 engines never assembled into bikes".
1974 season, serial number range of approx. 5,800 for the engines, yet those who should know claim only 4,110 or 4,165 T150V bikes produced? The huge discrepancy appears to have happened primarily at Small Heath.
Has there been a decent explanation for the 1974 numbers? Is it just that there are 1,600 or so numbers in the books with no further entries on those rows, and that's it?



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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #555191
07/27/14 4:31 pm
07/27/14 4:31 pm
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Hi John,

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Both the Hurricane and the T160 were Rocket 3's at heart,

Hurricane, yes; T160 ... mmm ...

Meriden Experimental initiated the development of what was to become the T160. One change, that came out of proddie-racing the T150 (not the R3), was to raise the lower frame rails, thus raising the engine. Aiui, this made it difficult to work on the head and rockerboxes - acceptable on a factory racer, less so on a road bike for Joe Public. Then, whether in parallel or in consequence, it was decided that any new triple models would use the R3's 'leaned forward' centre crankcase and there'd be more parts commonality and badge engineering. That solved the top end access problem while allowing the engine to be moved forward for better weight distribution (something else that came out of proddie racing). So the link between R3 and T160 is more tenuous than the shape of the engine ... and, whether deliberate or due to circumstances, I've never seen anything about a putative 'A76' ... whistle

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
seems to me that NVT may have missed an opportunity to make a smoother and more efficient transition towards the T160.

A lot of the changes between the models aren't obvious; the T160 wasn't production-ready; perhaps NVT didn't anticipate how long it would take to get the T150 back into production?

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
what was going on with the large numbers of engines in the despatch books not making it into bike production?
1970 season, 51 blank entries in the BSA Triple records, out of 240, "nearly 100 engines never assembled into bikes".

At some point in 1970, someone decided that '70 R3's wouldn't be sent to the US; given that was BSA's largest market ... big oops! Even worse, many of the '70 R3's that did "make it into production" were actually freebies - Doug Hele and other managers got one, some were built as police test bikes, the actor Ralph Richardson got one, etc., etc. frown

Also, whoever was responsible for such things was much slower off the mark with a 'US market' version of the R3; Meriden had boxed 'beauty kits' to the US importers and dealers in 1969 and some of the '70 T150's were built at Meriden with 'beauty kit' bits and officially called the "North American Variant".

Otoh, a US-market version of the R3 wasn't available 'til '71, and it was dismally-executed mad - similar to the T150, an existing US-market BSA tank was modified for the R3. But, whereas Meriden modified the US-market 650 tank that still gave a US-market T150 4.5 US gallons (3.75 Imp. gall.), Small Heath used a tank that gave 3 (three!) US gallons - ffs, on a bike capable of gobbling up fuel at the wrong side of 30 mpg! mad The US-market R3 is a handsome bike but - in its major market - about as much use as a chocolate teapot. cry

This thread started out with your quoting Don Brown that R3 sales exceeded T150's in '69; they might have then, but it's a pet theory of mine that, thereafter, for some reason, BSA the Group abandoned the R3 in favour of the T150.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
1974 season,

Have you considered that it might be more than coincidence that the "4,110 or 4,165" are very similar to the numbers built at Small Heath only from March 1974, and the "1,600 or so" is very similar to the number before the one NVT started with at Small Heath in March 1974? Perhaps one of "those who should know" just made a mistake and the others "who should know" just copied it? smile

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #555198
07/27/14 5:36 pm
07/27/14 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Ideally, all data should have sources and dates.
I just stumbled across this thread. I'll keep this post relatively brief because the information I have already may be covered(?).

I no longer remember where I got them but I have ~50 pages of the 1971 dispatch records for BSA R3s. The first page is labeled "Book 286" and starts with Frame 00101, engine 6.11.70 that was despatched 2-6-72 (written over a crossed-out date of 7-11-70). The last page ends with frame 1185, engine 2-9.71 despatched 10-9-71 to Fred Deeley-Canada.

A few highlights from these records:

At the bottom of the 2nd page, under the last frame (00141) is written with a different pen "KE BE NE 00110-00141." Two pages later in the same way under 00182 is written "NE 00151-00182," and on later pages are "NE/BE...", "AE...", "AE/BE..." etc.

Most of the machines listed on these pages are "A75R" but beginning early (frame 00106) "A75RV" start being interspersed, all going to the U.S. east coast. Then (with two exceptions) 00196-00346 all are A75RVs that go to the east coast in late February. Shipments return almost entirely to A75R after that.

Another interesting thing I noticed was the appearance of "code 2701" in the 'Equipment' column at frame 01065. That bike was despatched to the east coast 10-9-71 and next to the frame number is written "(1972)". Most of the bikes shipped on the next pages do not have this "code 2701" but all that do also have "(1972)".

Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #555245
07/27/14 11:34 pm
07/27/14 11:34 pm
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New Jersey USA
One of the reasons for recommencing production of the T150Vs may have been that there was a pipeline of T150V parts full when the blockade started.
The Coop were particularly interested in keeping possession of the then new T140V as these they saw as their future.
During negotiations they let go of a lot of the non T140V stuff.
You also have to remember that at this time all of these operations were starved of cash so in business terms no one would willingly have turned down the possibility of turning stocks of parts and WIP into completed bikes which could produce cash. I was there at the time and they were pretty desperate situations.
HTH

Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Magnetoman] #555257
07/28/14 3:55 am
07/28/14 3:55 am
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Scotland
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Stuart Offline
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Hi,

Originally Posted By: Magnetoman
The first page is labeled "Book 286" and starts with Frame 00101, engine 6.11.70 that was despatched 2-6-72 (written over a crossed-out date of 7-11-70).

This is the season where Small Heath really dug themselves into a hole with date codes. sick 'Til '71, the code was stamped on the engine, with the 5-figure number and model code, when the engine passed test at the end of assembly, the whole 'number' was then copied on to the frame when the engine was installed, for 'matching numbers'.

Small Heath had already started to get itself into trouble in '70, with R3 engines being stamped either GD or HD but the actual bike not assembled 'til as late as November 1970. In the case of '71 00101, the engine was actually stamped HE00101 (which suggests it was one of/tagged on to the '70 build?) but, as the dispatch book shows, not assembled as a bike 'til November 1970. This bike actually became the British show and press-test R3, eventually (as shown) being sold off in 1972. The bike still exists, in the care of a TR3OC member.

Digressing slightly, 00102 wass date-coded KE, along with about thirty other engines, of which KE00105 was also built into a bike on 6th November 1970 and dispatched to BSA in Los Angeles, presumably as their '71 publicity bike.

However, during certainly October and November 1970, Small Heath were building engines and date-coding them; but no more bikes were built 'til January 1971, some of those October- and November-built engines didn't go into bikes 'til February or March 1971 shocked and, by the time they reached dealers in other parts of the world, people were asking why their 'new' R3 was actually several months old. eek

Originally Posted By: Magnetoman
At the bottom of the 2nd page, under the last frame (00141) is written with a different pen "KE BE NE 00110-00141." Two pages later in the same way under 00182 is written "NE 00151-00182," and on later pages are "NE/BE...", "AE...", "AE/BE..." etc.

This suggests short-hand aides memoire linking stamped (engine) date codes with actual bike build dates?

Originally Posted By: Magnetoman
beginning early (frame 00106) "A75RV" start being interspersed, all going to the U.S. east coast. Then (with two exceptions) 00196-00346 all are A75RVs that go to the east coast in late February.

Triumph and BSA raced the North-framed triples with 5-speed gearboxes but, in 1970, didn't have any 5-speed models available to the public, supposedly the basis of the race engine. The AMA clearly 'put the hard word on' BSA and these were the 200 (actually 196 iirc) necessary to meet the AMA rule, created by swapping gearboxes in already-built engines. Meriden also produced 200 T150V's and 200 T120RT's were modified by the US importer(s?).

Originally Posted By: Magnetoman
Another interesting thing I noticed was the appearance of "code 2701" in the 'Equipment' column at frame 01065. That bike was despatched to the east coast 10-9-71 and next to the frame number is written "(1972)". Most of the bikes shipped on the next pages do not have this "code 2701" but all that do also have "(1972)".

Because of the date code debacle, Small Heath stopped stamping the date code on engines at the end of test sometime during '71. Nevertheless, by the end of the '71 season, R3 sales were so poor that some 30 '71-built engines (of which 01065 was one) were still kicking around unused; these were built into bikes at the beginning of the '72 season as '72 models. I believe they were all date-coded JG, ... which causes more problems because, officially, only 543 (i.e. xG00101 to DG00643) '72 R3's were built. cry

The above information is from an article in Triple Echo, the TR3OC's magazine, by previous archivist and arch-R3 enthusiast, Steve Rothera.

Hth.

Regards,

Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Tridentman] #555259
07/28/14 4:05 am
07/28/14 4:05 am
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 10,236
Scotland
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Stuart Offline
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Hi Richard,

Originally Posted By: Tridentman
One of the reasons for recommencing production of the T150Vs may have been that there was a pipeline of T150V parts full when the blockade started.
You also have to remember that at this time all of these operations were starved of cash so in business terms no one would willingly have turned down the possibility of turning stocks of parts and WIP into completed bikes which could produce cash.

bigt Good points, thanks.

Regards,

Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Stuart] #555312
07/28/14 11:45 am
07/28/14 11:45 am
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Magnetoman Offline

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Originally Posted By: Stuart
This suggests short-hand aides memoire...
The marginal notes are at least as interesting as the actual record of bikes shipped. For example, there's a '*' next to frame 01146 with a cross-out original destination of "Raynes Motors Dorchester" (shipping date of 28-7-71 also crossed out) under which in small letters has been added what looks to be an engine no. that ends with "11550" and a date "6/12/71". That '*' leads to a footnote at the bottom of the page:

This machine sent to Service Dept on return from Raynes Mtrs. Engine to be taken out by them & sent to Armstrong, Middlesborough as per Memo from P. Adcock 3/12/71.

That footnote is marked by a '}' bracket pointing to the words "Negative Receipt 3/3/71"

For reasons like this stating the precise number of machines shipped will be impossible without footnoting that number itself to mention possible double-counting.

Re: Production numbers [Re: Stuart] #555448
07/28/14 10:32 pm
07/28/14 10:32 pm
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North Coast, BC, Canada
Two Alpha Offline OP

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Hi Stuart,
Originally Posted By: Stuart
A lot of the changes between the models aren't obvious; the T160 wasn't production-ready; perhaps NVT didn't anticipate how long it would take to get the T150 back into production?

I agree. According to their statement from Sept. 14th, 1973, full work force until Nov.30th, 2/3 work force until Jan.1, 1/3 work force until final closure of Meriden on Feb. 1st, 1974. Minimum expected production by Feb. 1st was 6,600 bikes, 2,200 Tridents, and 4,400 750cc Twins. "It will be the aim of the management to complete the production of the Trident as quickly as possible and then transfer future production of this motorcycle to Small Heath."
It's not hard to envision that they might have had the 2,200 Tridents completed by the end of October if Sept. 14th hadn't been so eventful. I don't know how far out in front of shipping they might have been at that point, but they may have expected to supply complete Tridents out of Small Heath by sometime in November. If that had been the case, they might have had a better opportunity to deliver the T160 on time.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
At some point in 1970, someone decided that '70 R3's wouldn't be sent to the US; given that was BSA's largest market ... big oops!
That decision might have been made in the US due to...
Originally Posted By: Stuart
Also, whoever was responsible for such things was much slower off the mark with a 'US market' version of the R3; Meriden had boxed 'beauty kits' to the US importers and dealers in 1969 and some of the '70 T150's were built at Meriden with 'beauty kit' bits and officially called the "North American Variant".
which leads to...
Originally Posted By: Stuart
This thread started out with your quoting Don Brown that R3 sales exceeded T150's in '69; they might have then, but it's a pet theory of mine that, thereafter, for some reason, BSA the Group abandoned the R3 in favour of the T150.

I lean more in the direction of it just being a result of BSA's lack of response to the problem of the styling in North America. Triumph went after it while BSA left their dealers struggling with less attractive motorcycles. It's surprising really that the R3's numbers for 1970 and 1971 were only down by 15% to those of the Trident, compared to the ratio in 1969. Proof that red is a much better motorcycle colour than aquamarine! BSA Motorcycles limped into the 1972 season, still managed to produce over 500 R3's but their time was very soon up.

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Have you considered that it might be more than coincidence that the "4,110 or 4,165" are very similar to the numbers built at Small Heath only from March 1974, and the "1,600 or so" is very similar to the number before the one NVT started with at Small Heath in March 1974? Perhaps one of "those who should know" just made a mistake and the others "who should know" just copied it? smile

I did consider this for a short while, noted how the numbers fit in the ballpark, it just seemed too unreasonable to think that these very smart people with access to the records would miss such an obvious discrepancy in their numbers for 1974. And all of them missed it? Uncorrected to this point?
For what it's worth, the 2004 second edition of Mick Duckworths book still had the total as 4,165 for 1974.


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Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Magnetoman] #555474
07/29/14 1:30 am
07/29/14 1:30 am
Joined: Apr 2011
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North Coast, BC, Canada
Two Alpha Offline OP

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Hi Magnetoman,

Thanks for the tidbits of info from the 1971 factory records, like any good snack they leave us wanting more. smile

Originally Posted By: Magnetoman
The marginal notes are at least as interesting as the actual record of bikes shipped.
From the few pages I've seen in the BSA factory records, over say their final ten years, those pages all hold answers and provide further mysteries. Fascinating stuff for those of us who are interested.

Originally Posted By: Magnetoman
That footnote is marked by a '}' bracket pointing to the words "Negative Receipt 3/3/71"
Given the other dates that you've shared for that particular machine, the 3/3/71 date might make more sense if it were 3/8/71, or perhaps the more unlikely 3/9/71.


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Triumph
Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #555478
07/29/14 1:56 am
07/29/14 1:56 am
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U.S.
Magnetoman Offline

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Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Fascinating stuff for those of us who are interested.
I share your love for this sort of stuff.

Originally Posted By: Two Alpha
Given the other dates that you've shared for that particular machine, the 3/3/71 date might make more sense if it were 3/8/71, or perhaps the more unlikely 3/9/71.
Uncharacteristically, the guy in charge of these dispatch records had excellent penmanship. I agree that a date of March 3 doesn't make any sense so I assumed there must be a typo in what I posted. But when I pulled the records the date is clearly "3/3/7?" (the last digit is obliterated by bad photocopying). The memo it refers to is "P. Adcock 3/12/71" so the "Negative Receipt" date not only predates that by nine months, it predates the original crossed-out shipping date of 28-7-71 by four months. If the "?" is a 2 (i.e. 1972) it would make a bit more sense, but even then March 1972 would be puzzling.

Re: Production and Sales numbers [Re: Magnetoman] #555604
07/29/14 8:21 pm
07/29/14 8:21 pm
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North Coast, BC, Canada
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3/3/72 would work, plenty of time for Armstrong in Middlesborough to do a major rebuild on the engine.

edit: I see Stuart has uncovered another explanation over here, thanks to Phil Pick. Without knowing all the details for the 3/3/72 entry, it appears to signify the final balancing of the book for that particular engine/machine.

Last edited by Two Alpha; 08/03/14 11:35 am.

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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #555709
07/30/14 2:33 pm
07/30/14 2:33 pm
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North Coast, BC, Canada
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Originally Posted By: Two Alpha

Originally Posted By: Stuart
Have you considered that it might be more than coincidence that the "4,110 or 4,165" are very similar to the numbers built at Small Heath only from March 1974, and the "1,600 or so" is very similar to the number before the one NVT started with at Small Heath in March 1974? Perhaps one of "those who should know" just made a mistake and the others "who should know" just copied it? smile

I did consider this for a short while, noted how the numbers fit in the ballpark, it just seemed too unreasonable to think that these very smart people with access to the records would miss such an obvious discrepancy in their numbers for 1974. And all of them missed it? Uncorrected to this point?
For what it's worth, the 2004 second edition of Mick Duckworths book still had the total as 4,165 for 1974.


Further to this, how do we fit over 1,000 Meriden 1974 Triples into the total numbers for Tridents/Hurricanes that we have been given?
Ivor Davies (1984) - 27,480 with no breakdown per season.
Alistair Cave (1997) - 27,438 with breakdowns adding correctly.
Roy Allen (1997) - 29,010 with breakdowns adding correctly.
Mick Duckworth (1997/2004) - 27,544 with breakdowns adding correctly.
Kim Rowden/TOL (2007) - 27,331 without full breakdown.

Did Roy Allen lump the 1974 Meriden T150V's in with his 1973 number? He has 6,354 there while Cave and Duckworth both show 5,166, plus his overall total is substantially higher than theirs.
Actually, looking back at Sids earlier post, where he lays out what Roy Allen had written in TE #109, there was an SH after the 4,110 number given for the 1974 T150V's.
Roy appears to be the only one on our chart who accounted for the 1974 Meriden T150V's, and he seems to have put them in with the 1973's. confused
edit: I see an old post over on TOL (Feb. 2, 2008) where Steve Rothera refers to the 1974 Meriden T150V's as 1973's. confused

Last edited by Two Alpha; 07/31/14 3:11 am.

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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #555914
07/31/14 4:10 pm
07/31/14 4:10 pm
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Posts: 2
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Kim Rowden Offline
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It's been over 10 years so I guess it's time for another post here...

This discussion thread is interesting and while I haven't read it in its entirety I would like to mention a couple of things:

- I have digitized all the factory records for BSA Triples and the BSA A70L
- I have not yet finished the Triumph Triple records (there are a lot more of them)

By "digitized" I mean a three step process:
1. I scanned each page of the records to an image file.
2. I entered as much of the data as I possibly could into a database - for text searches etc.
3. I measured the physical layout and spacing of the entries on each page (tedious but you only have to do it once).

By correlating the layout obtained in Step 3 with the data saved in Step 2 I can pull up the image of any specific entry in the records for any given engine number.

You can see a screen shot here for BSA Rocket3 number "A75R GD00127" (I selected the 1970 serial number of 127 at random):
http://www.triplesonline.com/images/misc/engineseriallookup.png
- in this case the engine was assembled 28-MAY-1970 and the bike shipped 11-JUN-1970 to AMD M/Cycles in Africa.

I have not made this search capability available to the general public as I'm not sure how useful it would be - and it might generate a lot of questions about specific bikes that I would not be able answer. I also feel that some people might simply sit there and search for every possible combination (which would clearly impact the server).

I would be happy to entertain any suggestions or (try) to answer questions relating to these records.

Thank you,
-Kim

Last edited by Kim Rowden; 07/31/14 5:11 pm.
Re: Production numbers [Re: Kim Rowden] #555925
07/31/14 5:48 pm
07/31/14 5:48 pm
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Two Alpha Offline OP

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Hi Kim, great to have you pop in here.

I do really like the format you've come up with for these digitized records. Limiting each look-up to just a few rows will keep all but the most compulsive from getting too carried away.
For the few of us that are really interested in this stuff, and how all this information fits in with the story of the British motorcycle industry, this would be a fabulous research tool if it were available.

As far as questions about specific bikes, the interested person is going to be able to see the very information that you would refer to in order to come up with an answer for them. With a bit of luck they'll be able to sort out the answer themselves.

It would be interesting to see just how busy the server would be, an initial rush for sure but probably then settling back down to near where it was prior. Most users wouldn't go beyond checking to see that their own serial number(s) is/are in there.

If you need any help with step 2 of your process, I'd be happy to volunteer.


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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #572580
11/17/14 5:51 am
11/17/14 5:51 am
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andy Offline
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regarding 1972 rocket 3 how many four speeds were made and how many 5 speeds


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Re: Production numbers [Re: andy] #577795
12/23/14 7:39 pm
12/23/14 7:39 pm
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North Coast, BC, Canada
Two Alpha Offline OP

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Originally Posted By: andy
regarding 1972 rocket 3 how many four speeds were made and how many 5 speeds

Kim Rowden had the 1972 Rocket 3 numbers as 560 4-speeds, and 5 5-speeds. He had posted those numbers on the Triples Online forum back in Sept. of 2004.


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Re: Production numbers [Re: Two Alpha] #578069
12/25/14 10:07 pm
12/25/14 10:07 pm
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I'd like to know how many Triples survive, probably harder than determining production numbers. I've found three sets(!) of engine cases in my attic; if my father's small shop took that many off the road, how many might have other dealers? Then there's the question of how many were wrecked.

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