The engine number starts with the mark number: Then the engine size code above , with a year code, which is the last number only of the year eg 5 for So, for example, a number beginning 4.
Similarly, a number beginning 1. This complicated sequence is then followed by the engine number itself, limited to four digits or less. Frame numbers advanced at a greater rate not quite twice as fast but something close than engine numbers the opposite to post practice which implies that engine numbers used more than one sequence. I have frame numbers running up to around on my register which implies a total production run of about including all models.
The introduction of the Tiger models then resulted in an additional T prefix in front of the whole sequence. From my research pre war TF frames reached just over in and post war machines picked up from there.
However Peter Gallagher in Australia has done some good research consulting contemporary sources, including individuals and written records, and has come up with the following sequences as the most likely and I am indebted to him for allowing me to reproduce the information here.
Engine numbers included a model type prefix. So 6TN is a Thunderbird used to be mine, where is it now? Then, during the '52 model run the NA suffix was dropped at , running to Engine numbers too started with Each engine number is unique, that is to say one numbering sequence ran through all models.
In other words, engine number might be a 5T, might be a 3H. In this way engine numbers progressed at roughly twice the rate of frame numbers as both types of frame had a separate sequence. The engine number is always preceded by the year and model code so an T prefix denotes a 5T. For Triumph and most of the British motorcycle industry the season started with the Olympia show at Earls Court in October or November of the previous year and so the 12 month period during which you could buy a Triumph was actually October - September A new, third, numbering sequence for this frame starting from the beginning again, TF However, the new Tiger engine continued the existing engine numbering sequence, so early Tiger s showed long engine numbers around but short frame numbers.
The lightweight range continued more or less as before. TL civilian frames went to TL However, for obvious reasons the process was disjointed. I have come across one or two '41 numbered engines but it seems Triumph dropped the date prefix on engine numbers around about engine number Some late models and nearly all models therefore don't show a date code. Probably because of the extended delays between production and sales. Pre war Turner Triumph engine numbers went to just over 31, by the early s.
A tribute to the success that Edward Turner achieved with the company. As the pre war TF frame was used for such a short time and on so few models it's possible to calculate production of the Tiger quite accurately.
Approximately Tiger models were made. This means the total production of pre war Tiger s was something very close to machines. Estimating the number of surviving pre war Tiger s is not so reliable.
One thing for sure is that this number is increasing steadily as the interest in this machine continues to grow. As with other classics cars and motorcycles machines are now being created more inventively than ever, from far fewer original parts as values soar. Back in the s there were probably only a bikes worldwide, but my feeling now is that is probably roughly the number existing in this country, with a slightly larger number existing across all other countries.
I am often asked 'How many are there? However it is important to point out that probably a minority are genuine whole survivors, most now being made up from parts. The third Turner Triumph engine made and probably the first Turner Tiger Also from Australia, apparently unique model 5H. Thanks to Gary Smith NB A 'C' suffix to the engine number denotes combination sidecar , indicating a lower geared drive sprocket fitted.
Frame numbers are stamped horizontally at the top of the headstock and again across the back top of the saddle tube.