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Back in 1955, a company named Triumph sought to construct a motorcycle which burned methanol and, more importantly, recaptured the crown of “World’s Fastest Motorcycle” from the clutches of Germany. This sparked the design of the Thunderbird 650 Twin, which shattered the world record almost immediately. For the next several years, the German company NSU exchanged attempts with Triumph to continually top each other, always pushing to establish yet another world record for speed motorcycling. By 1966, Triumph’s Gyronaut X-1 would set an impressive record of over 245 miles per hour! This secured the record for some time, even after the Gyronaut crashed at speeds allegedly approaching 280 MPH. Afterward, it was tucked away until very recently, when the Detroit-based company Jefferson Motor Service elected to thoroughly restore it. They completely refurbished both its chassis and its engines, even bringing on board the original designer who had painted the Gyronaut back during its inception. Although the motorcycle is, as would be expected, no longer the world’s fastest, its pubic appearance at Palos Verdes Concours verified its restoration and showcased its sleek, streamlined design that had once enabled it to rocket past the competition.

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About the author: Taylor


Taylor is the founder of He's a seasoned fiction and web writer who has been involved in the automotive industry for nearly a decade. He's currently restoring a 1985 BMW 325e. Email | Twitter | Google+


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One Comment

  1. To be accurate and give credit where due: The Gyronaut’s chassis was restored by Jefferson Motor Service and Bob Leppan, the original rider. The body was restored by Rob Ida Concepts in New Jersey with the help of Preston Tucker’s great-grandsons, Sean and Mike. The pinstriping and lettering was done originally in 1966 and in again in 2013 by “Wild” Bill Betz of Detroit. The two Triumph engines were gone through by Performance Cycle in Diamond Springs, CA and personally by Bob Leppan and his team at TT Motorcycles in Detroit. It’s absolutely wonderful to be able to bring this out to the public again after nearly 44 years since its retirement from Bonneville racing…

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