1965 Dresda Triton


  • Original Norton Featherbed frame with 650cc Triumph T110 engine
  • Original logbook detailing ownership until 1973
  • Only one mile covered since 2005
  • Recently upgraded by the Dresda works
  • Fitted with several new Dresda and Hagon parts

The Appeal

Back in the early 1960s, when mechanical tinkering was a popular pastime and half the men in Britain were quite content to go around smelling slightly of engine oil, the leading motorcycle racers of the time were cultural heroes to many. Motorcycle-obsessed young men read of the exploits of figures like Geoff Duke and Alf Hagon in circuit and sprint racing, and dreamt that they might experience such thrills for themselves.

Necessity being the mother of invention, it came to pass that some of the more practical motorcyclists were turning their bikes into road-going replicas of racing machines, thereby making themselves the fastest, best-looking and most envied people who ever set foot inside a roadside café. The café racer was first created, and then it evolved.

As we all know, the best café racers were made by putting one of Triumph’s powerful twins into a Norton Featherbed frame, famed for its handling qualities, and the result was the Triton. Probably more than anyone else, it was Dave Degens who was responsible for making Tritons realize their greatest potential. With Dick Boone, he took over a scooter shop called Dresda Autos on Putney Bridge Road in 1963 and began constructing his own Tritons, which won numerous races and received glowing reviews in the motorcycling press and the rest, as they say, is history.

While Dresda remains in business today in Horsham, West Sussex, and you can commission it to build a new Triton for you, it is usually more affordable and more satisfying to invest in an original, historic machine. This example is certainly historic; it was constructed by Dresda in 1965 and was registered in its name for six months before being sold to a private owner. Since then, it has been returned to Dresda for upgrades and now represents one of the best Tritons on the market, which may just as easily win awards at rallies as it will provide thrills and excitement on the road.

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The History and Paperwork

  • First registered by Dresda as a rebuilt vehicle on 16th September 1965
  • Retained by the Dresda works at 139 Putney Bridge Road until being sold to Mr. Colin George Shepherd of Beckenham in April 1966
  • Subsequently owned by Richard Herbert Butler of Kingsnorth, Kent, from August 1968, Philip John Skilton of Faversham from April 1973 and David Leslie Bourne of Ashford from June 1973
  • In a private collection from 2012 until its recent acquisition by the vendor
  • Recently returned to Dresda for numerous upgrades
  • Paperwork includes the original logbook, a 1990s V5 and the current V5, a collection of invoices from the Cylinder Head Shop, Dresda Autos and other businesses, several MoT certificates running from 1991 to 2005, plus some old tax discs

The Condition

  • Described by the vendor as a ‘concours example’
  • Evidently the recipient of much cosmetic renovation
  • Immaculate alloy fuel tank and mudguards

Remarkably for a bike which looks like it could have been completed only yesterday, all the important components – the frame, engine, petrol and oil tanks and seat – are understood to date from its original build by Dresda back in 1965. It is evident by the Triton’s superlative condition, though, that it has received some renovation or refurbishment over the course of its life. The seat has clearly been recovered at some point, while parts such as the alloy fuel tank and mudguards have received, at the very least, a good polish every now and then to keep them so clean and shiny.

In almost every respect, this bike is outstanding and so much like new. There is an extremely light patination on some of the bare-metal parts, which is always to be expected, but we can see nothing that might be termed a fault save for a very small patch of flaking chrome on the fork bridge.

The Akront wheels are in superb condition and, like the other major parts, are believed to date from the original Dresda build.

The Mechanics

  • Cylinder head rebuilt 2007
  • New Dresda Manx external spring kit and Hagon adjustable shocks
  • Completely rewired
  • Fires up with a strong kick and sounds phenomenal

While this bike has received some upgrades over its life, it retains its original engine from 1965 and some other important mechanical parts, such as the twin leading-shoe brakes.

Of course, over time it will have received some mechanical attention, and notable work which we know has been completed in fairly recent years includes a total cylinder head rebuild in 2007 with new pistons, piston rings, main bearings, camshaft, valve guides, studs, seals and gaskets. We are also aware that the original gearbox casing has been replaced, again with new bearings, seals and so on.

A lot of money has been spent updating and improving the bikes, with a list of recent new parts as follows:

  • Kick-start spring and shaft
  • Tony Haywood primary drive belt conversion
  • Clutch
  • Engine sprocket and drive chain
  • Dresda stainless steel megaphone exhaust system
  • Amal 34mm carburettors
  • Completely rewired with electronic ignition
  • Dresda Manx external spring kit
  • Hagon adjustable rear shocks
  • Dresda swinging arm

The Triton has not received an MoT since 2005, when its odometer only recorded 1202 miles, so it has only covered one mile in the past 17 years! Ordinarily, we would advise recommissioning under such circumstances, but this has obviously had so much attention lavished on it lately that we can see no reason why it should not be ready to ride. Even so, we recommend bidders to satisfy themselves as to its roadworthiness before venturing onto the public highway. If submitted for an MoT, we expect it would pass with no trouble.

We are able to say that the engine certainly appears in fine health. Being a big twin, it needs a firm kick to start it, and then it sounds positively marvellous. The loud, deep staccato from the exhaust pipe cannot fail to bring a smile to the face of any classic motorcycle enthusiast.

The Summary

Everyone knows that the best café racers are Tritons, and the best Tritons are by Dresda. Having received extensive renovation from the Dresda works in very recent years, this is conceivably one of the best in existence.

A combination of original parts in like-new condition and lots of new mechanical parts, it has all the visual charm of a 1960s café racer but, to ride, it oughtn’t be dogged by some of the ‘idiosyncrasies’ that less well-attended bikes can sometimes acquire. It has an impressive history, too, with Dresda being the first name in the logbook, so with this bike we think you’ll be the envy of every café and coffee bar car park in the land.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1965
  • Make Dresda
  • Model Triton
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 1,203 Miles
  • Engine size 650
  • Town Battle
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Sussex
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
40 bids
  • An•••• £14,250 08/08/22
  • Kr•••• £14,000 08/08/22
  • An•••• £13,750 08/08/22
  • Kr•••• £13,500 08/08/22
  • An•••• £13,250 08/08/22
  • Kr•••• £13,000 08/08/22
  • An•••• £12,750 08/08/22
  • Kr•••• £12,500 08/08/22
  • An•••• £12,250 08/08/22
  • Kr•••• £12,000 08/08/22

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