The Lost Von Dutch, Pt. 4

Saving the motor, tracking down parts.

The Lost Von Dutch, Pt. 4

The Lost Von Dutch, Pt. 4

The cast of characters bringing the Von Dutch Triumph back to life is growing. When we saw how bad the engine really was, Bill Getty was enlisted to perform the resurrection. Getty runs JRC Engineering, one of the country's biggest Britbike parts distributors, supplying shops with the pieces needed to keep the Queen's Iron on the road. He spins a pretty mean wrench, too, and agreed to lay hands on the T110's twisted internals in his spare (hah!) time."

Engine cases are back after extensive repair by Alloy Graphics," Bill reported. "Head is back and done. New cylinder and pistons are ready. Crankshaft is back and ready to install in cases. Your cams are flat, so I'll select my best used Triumph T-bird cams—good for low-end grunt, they sign off early, but that's what Von Dutch used when the bike was built. I am using .040-over cylinders with 9:1 cast pistons so you should see a nice flat torque curve with about 37 hp on tap. Engine should be very quiet also. I am duplicating the case finish with a blasting medium that looks like the satin silver the cases were painted with. I do not like painted cases because when the cases get hot and bleed oil, the paint lifts. I can upgrade the clutch to a later cast type if you are going to ride this much; otherwise, the original type will be fine.”

Bill also noted that while the gearbox case looks remarkably good with no cracks, water entered at some point during the bike's extended outside storage, ruining some of the cogs. A garage or at least a good tarp really would have saved so much trouble.

Stan van Amburgh, 75, retired from a lifetime of working on cars and bikes, is still a whiz with anything electrical, and as a favor rebuilt my generator and magneto using his funky WWII-era test board. Nice polish job on the mag before it got put back together.

Stan was also the surprise supplier of the Wassell teardrop gas tank that we'll use to replicate the Von Dutch piece. When I mentioned I was looking for a clean example, Stan stepped into his storage area and came back with a rust-free, never-been-painted, never-seen-gas Wassell. "You mean like this?" he said. Let me have it for a very kind $75, too.

Getty supplied an oil tank and battery box from his stock, so the second set of tinware is complete. Later, it'll be mocked up on the chassis before being sent off to the painter for its "Non Dutch" replica paint.

Meanwhile, Denny Berg is fettling the frame and running gear, and will handle final assembly. No powdercoat will touch the bike's metal parts. To replicate the frame's 1957 "stove enameling," Denny plans to spray up to 10 coats of gloss black, hand-rubbing between each application.

A box of parts is being collected for transfer to the chromer's. Problem is that the rust is so bad on some of the pieces that Denny is having to weld up the decayed areas and grind 'em back down. In particular, the Dutched rear fender needs some serious rehab before it gets dipped in the shiny stuff. "I'm making progress day by day," said Denny, "but without the Von Dutch connection, you'd never do this much work on an ordinary rat Triumph."

New parts ordered and in-house include Hagon shrouded shocks. The Girling lookalikes are available in the U.S. from Dave Quinn Motorcycles in a variety of styles and springing. New Avon tires are period-correct, a 19-inch ribbed Speedmaster up front and a 4.00 x 19-inch Safety Mileage out back.

Paul Gion has been a big help in tracking down the style of mufflers the bike will wear. A freak for anything custom Triumph, Paul has been following my Von Dutch rebuild on his entertaining (and voluminous) Show & Go blog. Realizing a fount of moto-info when I see one, I sent Paul a B&W of the bike in circa-1962 bobber form and asked if he could identify the mufflers, which appeared to have a ridge, or band, right before the endcap. Paul's detailed reply was much-appreciated."

The banded removable tips look like MCM stuff to me but I've never seen an MCM muffler with that shape that had a removable tip. So I looked through the old catalog collection, including a 500-page Wassell catalog from the mid-1960s that has 10 pages of mufflers, as well as period catalogs from Superior, Webco, Bates, Beck and MC that should pretty well cover the timeframe," he wrote."

None of these catalogs had mufflers that matched those in the picture. So I focused on my mid-1960s MCM catalog, and this is what I think they are: The removable tips and bands look to be from the E3R muffler, but the body of the muffler appears to be the CM3. This may have been an earlier design by MCM that was discontinued, or Dutch may have done this himself using parts from the various mufflers. Either way, I am almost positive that those mufflers parts are made by MCM. There were no less than three different types of detachable muffler tips and mounting designs used on MCM mufflers. There is a lot of stuff floating around out there, so the band-type tips can still be found."

Besides the mufflers, other parts still needed include chromed fork shrouds, a Smiths speedo and a Bates passenger pad. Hello, eBay...

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph

1957 Von Dutch Triumph