1938 Triumph Speed Twin 5T


  • In beautifully restored condition with a mere 262 miles covered since
  • The quality of this motorcycle is underscored by 24 first places in concours since restoration 

The Appeal

The Triumph Speed Twin was a pivotal motorcycle in the development of more powerful and more refined models. 

The revolutionary design by Edward Turner resulted in a twin-cylinder power unit that acted like a single. Both pistons rose and fell together on a 360-degree crankshaft. 

The result was power and smoothness that had, previously, been but a pipe dream.

This particular example is surely unique, given its history and the sheer quality of its restoration. 

A restoration that has won the motorcycle no less than twenty-four first places in various classic motorcycle concours. It was expertly undertaken by Westley Wall who is closely connected to the National Motorcycle Museum in Birmingham. 

If you are in the market for a classic British motorcycle of this period, then you may have to go a long way to find a finer example.

The History and Paperwork

  • This motorcycle was sold new in 1938 in Sheffield, the first year of Speed Twin production
  • The motorcycle was sold as a solo motorcycle
  • Acquired by its second owner shortly after the war
  • The second owner fitted a sidecar for added practicality
  • The second owner kept the motorcycle until his death in 2009
  • Representing an uninterrupted period of ownership spanning 63 years!
  • The motorcycle was retrieved from a collapsed barn by the second owner’s friend and neighbour
  • The neighbour then oversaw a fastidious restoration by Westley Wall
  • The current owner bought it from the neighbour in February 2022
  • This amazing motorcycle is only now being sold due to health-related reasons
  • The motorcycle is being sold with a number of provenance providing items
  • These include two boxes of trophies from the various concourse wins
  • A full archive of photographs documenting the restoration and the pre-restoration condition
  • Some original registration documents and a letter from the Triumph Owners Club 

The Interior

  • The motorcycle features the signature twin saddle arrangement
  • The teardrop shaped tank is complete with tank top instrument binnacle and rubber knee pads
  • The low handlebars are highly chromed and are tipped with rubber grips
  • The single speedometer reading to 120 mph is placed ahead of the handlebars
  • Both sets of pegs and kickstart are rubber covered
  • As you would expect for such a beautifully restored motorcycle, everything here is in excellent condition 

This motorcycle is in as close to factory condition as you are, surely, likely to find in an eighty-four-year-old vehicle. 

The Speed Twin is low and small by today’s standards which will make for a comfortable and manageable riding experience. 

Perfectly set up for pillion riding, which was much more common in this period, this motorcycle will provide you and a passenger many years of comfortable motorcycling adventures.

The Exterior

  • The motorcycle has been completely repainted as part of this ground-up restoration
  • Early models of the Speed Twin were only available in “Amaranth Red” with hand-painted gold pinstripes
  • The restoration has been entirely faithful to this period detail
  • The extensive chrome work is in excellent condition with a deep shine throughout
  • The spoked wheels are presented in chrome with accents of the Amaranth Red 
  • The alloy sections of the engine and transmission are in near perfect condition 
  • The finned cylinder housing is finished in a contrasting black 

This Speed Twin is the perfect combination of chrome, bright Amaranth Red paintwork, and accents of metallic gold.

It is beautifully presented and eagerly draws the eye to its many details and nuances. The absolute windfall of concourse trophies will help emphasise the exquisite condition of this iconic British twin.

1938 Triumph Speed twin (8).jpg 362.88 KB

The Mechanics

  • The Speed Twin is fitted with that revolutionary 498cc parallel twin cylinder engine
  • The engine was fed by a single Amal Type 6 carburettor
  • An OHV, four-stroke engine originally producing around 27bhp
  • Power was fed to the rear wheel via a four-speed transmission and chain drive
  • These mechanicals are housed in a rigid frame
  • The spring mounted saddle provides the “suspension” for the motorcycle
  • The current owner reports that the motorcycle starts, runs and stops as well as its looks would suggest

The Speed Twin was a relatively light motorcycle and the innovative twin cylinder engine provided class leading power and torque.

This made for a spirited motorcycle which was fast and wieldy by the standards of the day. It was the smoothness provided by the innovative engine, however, that helped set the Speed Twin apart and cemented Triumph’s reputation for sporty motorcycles for many years to come.

1938 Triumph Speed twin (33).jpg 271.56 KB


This is a hard motorcycle to fault on any level. 

To start with, it is a historically important model which marked the transition from crude and agricultural single cylinder motorcycles to something altogether more sophisticated and refined. This example has it all too! 

A fascinating history with a near untimely end resulting in the exquisitely restored example you see here today. Low mileage, low owners, pristine condition, and a proven prize winner. 

It is hard to imagine a better example being available outside of a museum collection. be sure not to miss this rare opportunity.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1938
  • Make Triumph
  • Model Speed Twin 5T
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 262 Miles
  • Engine size 498
  • Town Cherval
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location International
  • Country France
Bidding history
23 bids
  • An•••• £25,000 24/08/22
  • An•••• £23,500 24/08/22
  • oc•••• £23,250 24/08/22
  • An•••• £23,000 24/08/22
  • oc•••• £22,750 24/08/22
  • An•••• £22,500 24/08/22
  • oc•••• £22,250 23/08/22
  • An•••• £21,750 22/08/22
  • K.•••• £21,500 22/08/22
  • oc•••• £21,000 22/08/22

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