CHOP CULT HOME
Email Password
Search
  1. #1
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    976

    Default 1950s Triumph period survivor, Looking for its backstory. (Oregon)

    So a friend purchased a local Triumph that has some history and looking for information on its past, most of which has been lost to time. I am unclear on all the details, But in the 1960s the bike was ridden around Portland and possibly raced. The owner ended up in Vietnam, One version is he didnt come back and someone else took over the project, another is he did return from the war and customized the bike. (Not sure)
    Some indications are it was hot rodded and perhaps farmed out to a shop for some of the work, or perhaps it was a DIY project.
    It DOES have a Connolly Cams badge on the timing cover. Connolly was a well known tuner and cam grinder as well as known in racing circles.

    I heard he also raced at Bonneville salt flats, I heard several stories about him but dont know a lot other than at one time he was highly respected for his tuning, engine building and custom cam grinds, some of which were copied by other well known cam grinders.

    I have seen a number of Triumphs with these badges and have some specs on some of his grinds, I am unsure if he ground cams for other makes and models or focused exclusively on Triumphs.

    ** If Someone has a definitive history/Bio on Connolly would love to hear it or point me to a source.

    The bike in the last few years has changed hands after sitting for many years, sadly time has taken its toll but its still in amazing period condition and the new owner wants to respect its past history and heritage. Any help on provenance and history will be appreciated. I am including the last picture which is just amazing. While the bike originated in Portland, it ended up in Southern Oregon and on the return trip he spotted this store,, seeing an epic photo opportunity and a keen eye, He stopped and took this photo in front of the "Thunderbird". Highly appropriate.

    If you dont understand the relevance, I cant help much

    Here are some pics.

    - color pics from after Vietnam

    (From what I remember a buddy helped him paint it after the war) looked real good all polished up.

    - b&w pre Vietnam

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TriMystery1BW52.jpg 
Views:	3 
Size:	271.6 KB 
ID:	98483Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TriMyst2paintedIMG_3453.JPG 
Views:	5 
Size:	290.9 KB 
ID:	98484Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TrimystertyTHUNDERBIRDE78A72B624.jpg 
Views:	8 
Size:	290.5 KB 
ID:	98485Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TrimysteryConnollycamsIMG_5363 (1).jpg 
Views:	4 
Size:	307.3 KB 
ID:	98486

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    2,556

    Default

    Great story; I think this is it; guessing from the last pic of the timing cover, you already got this:

    Monday, 26 August 2019
    1952 Triumph Thunderbird Survivor (Part One)
    Just when you come to the conclusion that the well must now be drawn dry, they float to the top again. Pete discovered this 6T in his native Portland Oregon area.

    Here's what he says about his stroke of good fortune

    Just unloaded this matching numbers 1952 Triumph Thunderbird 650. It was bobbed back in the 50’s, and sports a PK Lamp taillight, Flanders #26 bars, Bates seat, and a small custom headlight. Interestingly, it still has the large stock tank. The bike spent many years in the Portland area, and allegedly has local drag racing history, but the verdict is still out. It’s got good compression, spark, shifts through all the gears, and all the cables are free, so it SHOULD run. It’s got a Connolly Cam badge on the timing cover, so I’m excited to see what’s in the motor.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Top%u00252BDS.jpg 
Views:	1 
Size:	162.4 KB 
ID:	98487
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Top%u00252BTS.jpg 
Views:	1 
Size:	166.9 KB 
ID:	98489
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	TS1.jpg 
Views:	2 
Size:	159.5 KB 
ID:	98490
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Timing%u00252BCover.jpg 
Views:	2 
Size:	118.3 KB 
ID:	98491
    Brought to you by ... Quaffmeister at 15:20

    http://www.britishironworks.com/2019...ivor-part.html

    Love to hear (Part Two).


    and the same again here:
    http://www.britishironworks.com/2019/

    on instagram here:
    https://instagram-dm.com/tag.php?tag...NJdmE2QkxqMg==

  3. #3
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Posts
    2,556

    Default

    Reference to Connelly Cams CS1X profile from the tioc, in this reprint of a Vintage Bike article(page 17) by John Healy with data from notes collected by Bill Milburn:
    http://www.tioc.org/britbike/camshaft.pdf

    2014 JJ:
    "Pat Connolly besides being a cam grinder was also a salt flats racer .He was a significant person in the Portland race scene in the 60's and his triumph cams were featured in a lot of Flat Track racers. I have a one off experimental grind done by Mr Connolly for a bloke in South Australia, its like a Harman & Collins #9 but with quicker lift.
    Johnson Cams do a Connolly grind in their line up.
    Here are pics of the Brass tags from Todd's (Small City Cycles) collection ."
    https://www.jockeyjournal.com/forum/...d.php?t=163466
    Last edited by TriNortchopz; 11-19-2019 at 8:19 AM. Reason: jj

  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    976

    Default

    Yes, TNC, you are a clever lad, Thats my buddy "Sweet Pete" who lives over the hill from me. Finder of treasure and lost artifacts.

    I also just got this in as well from another local who is into the Brit bike world, cool backstory..

    " Hi Doug:

    Nice looking bike, I don't remember it specifically, but many like it ran all over PDX back in the day.

    Thought I'd give you a bio on Pat Connolly. Pat was the head mechanic at Western Cycle,later became known as Rambo Motors. Located on N.E. Broadway, may have been the first Triumph dealer in Portland. They were also the Velo dealer.

    Pat was a talented race engine builder and cam grinder for many makes, using his unique ideas for how a cam should work. When I was a senior in high school I bought a brand new Honda 305 scrambler that I drag raced all summer at Woodburn and McMinnville. I went to Pat and had him grind me a cam that would pull hard at the races, and still perform well on the road so I could ride to and from the races. Biggest problem I had with that bike is that it ate clutches. The cam worked great. I bought my first brit bike in 1967, a '65 TT spec from Gene Curry, it came with a set of Connolly "-2" cams, which I still have in a box. About 15 years ago I came across a NOS set of "-3" Connolly cams, which have almost a square cam profile. When Lou Kinnish heard I had them, he just had to get them from me. They are now in one of his bikes. You can ask almost any former Sidewinders racers, and they are quite fond of Pan Connolly.

    A couple years ago a friend went to Bonneville, said he stopped at a small town restaurant and there was a table of guys wearing Connolly Cams T shirts, he mentioned Pat's name and they said they were relatives, and were racing at the Salt Flats, they said they all lived in Washington somewhere, but I don't have any further details.

    In my opinion, Pat Connolly should be inducted into the NW Racing Hall of Fame.

    Cheers, Dave "
    --------------------------------------------
    *** Ill add, most not from this are have no idea about Sidewinders. It was a legendary local race track up in the bowl of a hillside in SE Portland-Clackamas County and was part MX track and Part TT. You can find decades of race history on it, and a whos-who of motorsports raced here back in the day. It was started in late 1950s IIRC and ran into the late 1970s or early 80s but is now a housing development. A victim of growth and development. (All these damn Californians moving up here)

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	sidewindersreunion8894348722176_n.jpg 
Views:	0 
Size:	110.5 KB 
ID:	98493

  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    9,195

    Default

    Since it will be apart for cleaning it would be cool to degree the cams and post the info for posterity. Even better to send them to a cam grinder for measurement in case others want that grind custom. As these shops vanish so does their information.

    Johnson Cams is closed.

    https://johnsoncams.com/

  6. #6
    Senior Member

    Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

    Get Adobe Flash player


    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Posts
    976

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by farmall View Post
    Since it will be apart for cleaning it would be cool to degree the cams and post the info for posterity. Even better to send them to a cam grinder for measurement in case others want that grind custom. As these shops vanish so does their information.

    Johnson Cams is closed.

    https://johnsoncams.com/
    Yep, I will see what I can do on the cams, some of Connolly's specs are already published, the TIOC has posted some cam specs for many factory and aftermarket grinds, As well as I collect them from other sources. I have a milk crate full of Triumph cams, all different years and models as well as a developing data base of them. I have some aftermarket grinds as well in situ. I like playing around with Desk top dynos cam software and experimenting with different profiles and ideas and running dyno simulations side by side. Very educational. Not something you learn over night. ( i have been buying their versions for years now)

    **Many cam grinders copied others, allegedly many copied Connollys work I have heard**

    (most are set up for car engines, but they can be fudged and adjusted pretty well to simulate motorcycle engines. They even have a version for Briggs & Stratton 1/4 master drag racing)

    See: http://www.proracingsim.com/desktopdyno.htm

    I heard Johnson cams is no more RIP Keith Johnson. I met him many times at local events and races here in the PNW. I wanted to try some experimental grinds with him, But I never got around to it because it turned me off for a while he didnt heat treat-anneal or case harden the cams after welding and when they first came on the scene he told me some crazy stories. His products have proven themselves over time though. I would still like to try some experiments. Sorry to see him gone.
    Still not a lost art but a custom ground cam, even supplying a core is not a inexpensive undertaking.

    WebCams is one example. Locally theres still some grinders though. Plus engineering, cam theory and science has come a long way as well. Gone are the days of hogging the hell out of ports and polishing the hell out everything. One of the US's best cyl head gurus is right here in Portland Oregon as well. Back in the day they did most of the top US racers on Triumphs, BSAs, Nortons and others. His work with a Sportster Iron head though was transformational,, turns a slug into a hot machine. Was the first thing you did was have Baisley do the heads and pick your cams.
    See: http://www.baisley.com/services.htm

    Many people dont know this, But the Modern Nortons? Norton America was right here and Baisley played a very large role in developing the modern Norton heads and did many of Kenny Dreers vintage Norton heads including all of them on the Vintage Rebuilders VR880 heads.
    I have all the Norton America tech. Several cast heads, prototypes and some rapid prototyping heads and rocker boxs made out of corn flakes. (The media for RP was a slurry of cornflakes and epoxy, want to see a picture?)

    While discussing racing, Sidewinders race track, I was looking for a BSA picture and remembered I had this. Heres Dick Mann here in Portland putting the pressure on those Harley Hooligans, Another famous local was Dusty Coppage, as well as I dont see him here but usually at the same events was local Sonny Burres who raced nationally and spanked all the big guys at one time or another.

    Enjoy!
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	FlattrackCoppageRomeroMannc22a1e532b5f6f.jpg 
Views:	1 
Size:	186.7 KB 
ID:	98523

    A lot of ink over the years about our little track in my backyard, (My wifes machine shop is within sight of the old track, and we live a few miles away. Back in the day the noise carried for miles. Sweet music, The smell of beer on a friday night mixed with race gas and oil.

    See: https://pwheelie.blogspot.com/2017/0...as-oregon.html

    " Sidewinders was a quarter mile short track with and uphill on the front straight and a downhill on the back straight. The season ran every Friday night, Spring through Summer and was a sensational place to enjoy first class flat track racing. It ran to capacity crowds who sat right on the fence 2/3rds of the way around the track. Thrilling closeup action by locals and Pro riders

    Sidewinders was Triumph country and to see and hear a herd of hot shoes haulin around
    the place was a little bit of heaven on earth. Mike Conley #89 and Sonny Burres #69 hook around the tight left from the infield start onto the front straight

    The Pros were in town and lined up for the Main intro. Coppage, Nixon, Skip Vanleewn, 14? ,Sonny Burres and Mark Williams. You can see the infield start line. This little track provided some electric motorcycle racing. Good things do come to an end as the track closed in 1986 when the large swarth of land the track was on was sold to build homes and apartments. What a crying shame.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	SIDEWINDERSCHECKS.jpg 
Views:	2 
Size:	203.1 KB 
ID:	98524Click image for larger version. 

Name:	SIDEWINDERSLINEUP.jpg 
Views:	1 
Size:	307.4 KB 
ID:	98525

Share This



Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Log in

Log in