Family heirlooms are passed down from one generation to the next; some begin with your parents and some start from generations past. Each holder has a different relationship with the heirloom, but the memories come from times shared as a child. We all long to posses something from our parents like a piece of art, clothing, jewelry or even an automobile. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you get to possess a key that takes to you into the future while bringing your past to the foreground. Scott Campbell’s story is one for you to enjoy. Hopefully, one day his son will keep the Campbell’s heirloom on the road, where it belongs.
Sometime in the early ’70’s, my uncle bought this 1963 Triumph T100SS as a basket case. After putting it all back together and riding it for a number of years - and changing out the original tank for a ’71 or ’72 oil-in-frame Bonneville tank - he was looking to buy a riding lawnmower and needed money, so he sold the Triumph to my dad. Dad rode it all over for years even getting my mom on the back and heading out to go camping 5-6 hours north of their home in London, Ontario, Canada. Eventually, he bought a ’72 Honda CB750 Four and the Triumph ended up coming off the road in 1980, never seeing the light of day (save for a move from a tobacco kiln to my dad’s back yard shed) for the next 29 years. That’s when I got the idea that I’d like to try my hand at building a cool little bobber out of it. I asked my dad if I could tear it down and rebuild it the way I wanted and he said I could. Now I had the bike, a vision of how I wanted it to look and the determination to get the job done, but I didn’t have the money. So, I sold my first motorcycle - a 2005 Honda Shadow Spirit that I’d owned since new - to fund the project.
Since I’d never worked on motorcycles before, I was more than a little intimidated at the thought of tearing the engine down and rebuilding it myself. So, after tearing the bike down, I sent the motor out to a local shop to have it rebuilt and started ordering parts to build the rest of the bike. I knew I wanted it to have a hardtail and found exactly what I wanted from Lowbrow Customs. I bought a David Bird hardtail with 4” of stretch and 2.5” of drop as well as all the electronics from them. I got a tuck and roll solo seat and a cool right side saddle bag from La Rosa Design, 5” ribbed rear fender with duck bill from 7 Metal West, oil tank and a ton of small parts from The Factory Metal Works, and handle bars and tail light from TC Bros. Choppers and cables from Choppahead Kustom Cycles.
Over the next year or so I started the build in my tiny garage, going as far as I could until I had to start welding. From there I took it to my parents’ place and my dad was gracious enough to let me take up part of his shop for the next few years while I built the bike. A year or so into the build my wife gave birth to our first child - a boy! So, now I had a son to eventually hand this bike down to. With the arrival of our little boy, spending time with him and our new little family took priority over heading to my dad’s garage to work on my bike; so, weeks and sometimes months passed between build sessions. But, I pressed on and finally all the welding was done and it was time for paint and powder coat. Since the tank was a mid-mount OIF tank, I had to fill the hole in the top of the tank where it mounted to the frame. I had the painter work some body fill magic and join the ribs on either side of the hole so it looked like it was never there.
After a couple setbacks, that can only be chalked up to an amateur bike builder not knowing any better, I was able to assemble the bike and wire it - something else I’d never done. Finally, two months after I’d hoped it would be finished, it was actually done and I could take it for its first ride. I must say, it was quite a cool feeling being able to actually ride the motorcycle that I’d put so much work into. As I was riding, all the while trying to remember that the shifter was on the RIGHT and the brake on the LEFT, I was thinking about how over 30 years ago it was my old man riding this thing around; taking it up north with my mom on the back to go camping and breaking down every now and then. I don’t know how much my dad believed that this old Trumpet would ever be back on the road again (let alone rebuilt from front to back by his son), but he sure had a big smile on his face when we fired it up for the first time.
Owner name, location: Scott Campbell, London, Ontario, Canada
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1963 Triumph T100SS, 500cc
Frame: Original front loop with a David Bird hardtail with 4” stretch and 2.5” drop from Lowbrow Customs
Fork: Original setup with 2” under fork tubes by Forking By Frank
Tire/wheel size and style: Front: 3.25-19” Dunlop K70 Rear: 4.00-18” Dunlop K81 Central Wheel Components rims and spokes on front and rear.
Favorite thing about this bike: That this bike was owned by my Uncle and then my Dad. Now me and one day, my son.
Next modification will be: Nothing in the near future but someday I’d like to put a springer front end on it.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: I made a number of one-off parts from scratch but my favorite is the kickstand.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: This was my first custom bike build and without an experienced builder’s knowledge to tap into I made a lot of mistakes that I didn’t know I’d made until later in the process. I definitely learned from them and if/when I ever build another bike, I certainly won’t make them again. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere!
Thanks to: A HUGE thank you to my Dad. Thank you for giving me this bike and letting me cut it all apart. Thank you for letting me store it at your place and letting it take up a chunk of floor space in your shop for the better part of 2 years. Thanks for all your help along the way and all the stories and laughs we shared in the garage! Thanks to Brayden Tapp and my brother Mike Campbell for helping me to make parts and getting this bike built. A big thank you to my amazing wife, Lisa for being supportive of me and this project and for being understanding when I came home those nights all frustrated and miserable because something didn't go right. I love you! Also, thanks to Lowbrow Customs, The Factory Metal Works, and Choppahead Kustom Cycles for having the parts I needed to get this project done. If it weren’t for you guys and the quality parts and tech support you provide I probably wouldn’t have gotten this thing looking the way I wanted. Thanks also to Kevin Rupple for the amazing paint job!
I took the photos of The ’63 myself and if you’d like to check out my website for more classic car photography, please surf over to www.scottcampbellimaging.com. I'm also on Facebook and Instagram. Thanks, Scott.