In order to get to where I end up being the proud owner of a 1959 Triumph Bonneville, we have to go a few years back.

I had bought a 1977 Kawasaki KZ650 a few years prior and had got it running so well that it basically did not require any maintenance. Hence I wanted to look for something older and potentially more unreliable.

Yes, vintage or classic motorcycles is the act of voluntary suffering.

There was something about old Triumphs that spoke to me. A lot of people wanted Harleys – but for some reason they just did spark anything in me.

I found a 1964 Triumph Bonneville, if I remember correctly, that I really liked. I even have a picture from when I went to see it.

I can remember a few things clearly from that time. First – I really liked the bike. It looked, sounded and drove so incredible. It really touched something in me. It also had the worst front brake of any vehicle I have ever witnessed. The lever had some resistance but nothing at all happened anywhere. No chance of scrubbing even the slightest bit of speed off.

Second, while I really, really liked the feeling it gave me and while it cemented the fact that I had to have a Triumph at some point, I also realized that it was not the right timing. I was convinced that in order to keep one running I would need to have access to a proper place to fix it. It would require more maintenance than my old Kawasaki.

Hence the final conclusion was to leave it at the moment and look for something else. This search ended with me buying a 1977 Moto Guzzi 850 T3 California as they were praised for their reliability.

2 ignition coils, a clutch, a gearbox, a head gasket and endless hours of work later I might as well have bought the Triumph. But alas I now adore the Guzzi so perhaps it was worth it.

But this brings us up to a few months back. By the start of the year I had gotten space in a local motorcycle garage together with other like minded people and hence I now had a place to tinker with my motorcycles.

This spawned the idea of owning a Triumph once again. Two motorcycles are somewhat easy to justify, especially old ones as you can have one running and one you tinker with. If one breaks down you can ride the other.

Three is a bit more difficult, but hey a lot of enjoyable things are.

I started looking online for Triumphs for sale, but never really found the right one. To my untrained eyes they all looked a bit expensive, but what do I know.

When riding season began and I started attending events together with other like minded motorcyclists I started talking about my wish of one day finding a Triumph. Apart from being a good topic of conversation – future dreams bikes – it also spread the word that if someone heard about a Triumph, then perhaps they would think about me.

Well lo and behold. Start of June this year I suddenly get a message from a friend I had spent a lot of hours with at different motorcycle events.

He had been offered a 1959 Triumph Bonneville T120 from an estate after a deceased person. There wasn’t really any information about the motorcycle itself. The owner had left the Triumph and a DKW with a sidecar.

He managed to get hold of a single image of the bike and then there was a take-it-or-leave-it price. It would not be possible to come and see it.

This is the image I received:

I was stoked and thrilled. What an example! The absolute right colors. Of course I knew very little about 1959 Triumph Bonneville’s, but a quick search online revealed that it was the first year of the Bonneville.

My head spun.

It was not really the best of timing. Among other things I was just about to leave for Le Mans 24H.

It was a good price everything considered. Not a total bargain or steal. But a good price. Even if everything had to be redone it would still end up cheaper that buying a running one. Not taking the somewhat special year into account.

After thinking about it for a few hours I concluded that I won’t get such a chance again. It had all the right ingredients.

I said “yes”. I want to buy it.

And then I left for Le Mans 24H not knowing whether I would return to find myself the owner of a third motorcycle.

But is was not going to be that easy.

I was not the owner of a Triumph by the end of the Le Mans weekend. Heck I was not even a Triumph owner by the end of the month.

For the first two to three weeks I just waited and hear nothing. My friend tried to get a response from the lawyer who handled the estate but no luck. Then suddenly we heard that the heirs would not accept the price, which was very strange. We had not given a bid, we had just said yes to the price given by the estate.

Oh well. We then asked them to come up with an asking price if the original was not right for them.

Again we waited for weeks. At this point I had almost completely lost hope. They must have sold it to someone else.

Then suddenly my friend writes me that we might get it still. I ask; “at what price”? The original price, was the answer. I get excited but still cannot really get myself to believe in it after all the things that had happened up until this point.

Even here I think another week went by without a word. Then midweek we have a ride planned to see some drag racing in Malmø, Sweden. My friend also joins and we shortly talk about the Triumph before riding from Copenhagen. Still no news he says.

Then as we sit on the grandstand and watch the racing he suddenly pulls out a folded piece of paper and gives it to me. What is this I ask? He says that I should open it and read it.

I open the folded paper and start reading “The estate after xx hereby transfer ownership of frame number xx 1959 Triumph Bonneville…” – I had finally got it.

I could call myself the proud owner of a Triumph. Finally.

Next time we will go pick it up and see some proper pictures of it.

See you there.