Found in a Scrap Yard

My Father found the sad and neglected remains of the Cub in a local scrap yard back in January 1985. Looking at the engine modifications it would appear to have been converted to road racing or maybe drag racing?

Tiger Cubs have competed in almost all forms of motor cycle competition over the years and held a speed world record at Bonneville in 1959 at an average of 139.82 over an average two way run. Pretty impressive for a 200cc single!

This particular bike is a few numbers short of the 1961 model year and so using poetic license, painted it in the Black and Silver Sheen because I think it looks nicer than the correct, bland looking Crystal Grey.

I can’t remember exactly when I finished the restoration because it took a few years to get all the correct parts. However, I do remember running it in at the same time as my brand new Trophy 900 in the summer of 1992. Jumping off the Cub on to the Trophy and vice-versa was an experience, I can tell you!

There was no registration with it and at that time the process for getting a number was far more relaxed than it is now. I had started doing the dating service for TOMCC and so had access to the factory dispatch records. The forms were completed with a date certificate (which DVLA kept!) and off it went to Swansea.


Before the V5 came back with a Manchester number, not transferable and stating year of manufacture as 1960 I had to take it to the LVLO in Nottingham for inspection. The factory dispatch record stated the bike was dispatched to F. Llewelyn & Co. Ltd. 30-32 Shudhill, Manchester 4 on 15th September 1960 to Order No.4280 and Invoice No.44167.


At the same time I was restoring a 1955 Speedtwin and fitting a new Watsonian GP sidecar to it for a chap in Kent. He was impressed with the Cub when he came to collect the 5T and over the next 5 years pestered me to get my Father to sell it to him to go with the 5T. And so it was in February 1998 that Dad agreed to sell it. I delivered it to Broadstairs and spent a great weekend with Ron and his wife and serviced the 5T while I was there.

While working at the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience, many visitors asked why we don’t have a Cub on display. I thought of Ron and his Cub, knowing the condition and the fact it had been polished far more than ridden, I called him. He was delighted to loan the bike for the exhibition and it has been there since March 2019.

We invited him on a VIP tour as a thank you for loaning the bike. He said that over the period he had owned it, he had not ridden it more than 150 miles!!! He also said that at 85, he thought his riding days were over? He asked if I would act as his agent to sell it on his behalf. I said no as I would like to buy it back!

Money was discussed but he wouldn’t sell it back to me for the same price that he bought it! We came to an arrangement and it was mine. I left it in the exhibition and arranged for it to be returned to me at the beginning of April this year. Needless to say it’s still there on lock down because of this pandemic.

My plans are to get it home as soon as I can and re commission it to go back on the road and enjoy some happy miles again. Its great having big bikes but it really is a pleasure to get on a small bike and enjoy life at 45 – 50 mph.


Roy Shilling