Author Topic: Quadrant?  (Read 332 times)

Online Greybeard

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Quadrant?
« on: 31.10. 2017 22:11 »
I didn't know about this machine. Did you?

Online morris

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #1 on: 31.10. 2017 22:29 »
There was an article about it in CBG a couple of issues ago. If I remember well it was something the Triumph designers worked on in secret without the board knowing about it or something. Maybe someone with a better memory than me, or who kept the copy, can shed some light?
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Offline terryg

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #2 on: 01.11. 2017 07:10 »
Doug Hele's name comes to mind. I faintly remember an MCN article, several decades ago.
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Online JulianS

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #3 on: 01.11. 2017 08:29 »
An internet search on "Triumph Quadrant" with bring up a number of intersting results.

Offline duTch

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #4 on: 01.11. 2017 08:55 »

 when I saw that earlier, I thought 'what's the fuss', looked nothing untoward- but not sure why
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Offline Sluggo

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #5 on: 01.11. 2017 09:32 »
The Triumph Quadrant is a significant story, and one you all should read up on.  I have some insights into that whole thing thanks to a US Triumph dealer, More soon.
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Online A10 JWO

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #6 on: 01.11. 2017 16:10 »
I did see footage of one being tested years ago and they were in MCN a long time ago. I think they made three and one was registered in Birmingham from memory. I think they had to use the Rocket three frame for some reason, then the demise. Regards

Offline Sluggo

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #7 on: 01.11. 2017 21:45 »
Heres my $0.02 on the Triumph Quadrant.  There IS some articles on them, Classic bike, MCN and a US magazine all did articles on them. (Plus John Healys TIOC newsletter) I have some of the original copies of these articles and perhaps if there is interest I can scan them and post up. (Good project when the snow starts flying here).

About 28 years ago I came across a bike partially associated with the Quadrant program and was intrigued.  It came from one of the US distribution centers (Either NVT or JOMO) and was in sad condition when I acquired it.
It still is in parts and has languished for many years.  I planned at some point to rebuild it as close to what it was back in the day, but what EXACTLY that is is debatable,  While I made a lot of headway for a while in researching this, It came to a dead end and now many of those who were involved are now deceased.

There was 4 and possibly 5 machines.  Mine is NOT a true representation (I will explain) but to understand they were never close to production and were prototypes and cobbled together cheaply as possibly  and were far from a finished product.  The UK National MC museum had/has one and I understand it was rebuilt after the fire. I believe most reports of these bikes revolved around that machine.

To understand you have to go to a LOT of sources and references but the old articles get it mostly right but leave out much of the related aspects.   

The high points is  development of new machines was a highly political endeavor at most British bike firms and sometimes the best ideas and staff moved fwd, and sometimes not.  But it was clear the asian menace was looming.  In one interview US dealers were amazed that the Honda was projecting shipping into the US more bikes in a month than the entire yearly output of Triumph.
Edward Turner was also well aware and made some dire predictions after tours of Japanese facilities and it was surprising that the Japanese were very open and welcoming to these tours. 
My friend and local dealer ranted as well about this, and during the annual US dealers meeting on the Queen Mary in Long Beach harbor stood up and yelled at ET while mildly drunk and while holding his beer bottle said in his eloquent way "You idiots dont have a clue about how to run a motorcycle company, If you would just run things like SUZUKI all us dealers would die fat dumb and happy!"  ET was known for his temped and it was expected uncle Cliffy would lose his dealership but he did  not. 
Cliff was known to say some crazy stuff and some true and some not. You never could be sure, But I verified this story with Bob Raber and 2 others who were also present.

The Triumph Triple was initially developed in 1965 but was shelved for a variety of reasons. (internal Politics again)  When the Honda CB750 came out Triumph purchased one and at testing at the MIRA test track it threw a chain and destroyed the cases as some early versions were known to do. (Sandcast models)  Triumph and others dismissed the threat.  (Foolishly)  When it dawned on the dim bulbs they were in deep Kim Chi they hurriedly rushed the triples into production well before they were fully sorted.  (Norman Hyde as a young engineer on this program).

The quadrants were thrown together as a concept but cobbled together and did not progress much into development.  Its actually unclear how far they went as some stuff gets scrapped and some is tested to destruction, some are rebuilt into another version so this sort of thing tends to be murky and why you cant say its #1, #2, #3 etc etc.. Not many fully ran or were fully tested.  With the serious teething issues with the triples Triumph put the quadrants on the back burner.  Some say that was a big mistake and a Triumph version of the CB750 might have been a god send but we will never know. Triumph was in serious trouble at this point and the whole Umberslade Hall (Slumberglade) debacle and the 1971 production issues killed off not only the Quadrant but other projects such as the BSA Bandit.

The bike I have is a Triumph T150 rolling chassis and a mixture of other parts as well as a Honda CB750 motor,, The story I got was it was a test bed to evaluate the viability of the chassis and was not a True Quadrant but a evaluation tool instead.  The idea was to run it for miles and evaluate suspension frame, controls, exhausts, and bodywork with a running 4 cyl engine.  No Honda emblems on the engine and there was boxs of parts that might or might not have been related.  I spoke to Eldon Wright who was the US Triumph factory rep for the western region and he told me "Yeah,, I know about that one.." but he I never could get much details out of him. It was never clear if he didnt want to discuss it, or didnt know much about it.  He was  a super nice guy and a wealth of info but some days he could be a wealth of info and others he plain shut down.

Cliff was the guy I got the bike from, and at one time he owned ALL the US assets of various versions of Triumph and bought out the warehouse inventories.  Multiple purchases from the early 1970s into the 1980s.
Everyone thought he was nuts (He was actually) but it was a shrewd move.  But Cliff was a complicated guy and I have a million + 1 Cliff stories and some are embellished, some outright fabrications and some totally true.  You never really know unless you can verify from other sources.

Cliff was a dear friend and off the charts eccentric.  He started in the 1950s with Bud Ekins and shared a house with Bud, his wife and at times Buds brother Dave. Cliff claimed he was the best cook and made all the meals.  He travelled the US with the Joey Chitwood stunt show and he showed Evel Kneivel how to do the flaming wall jump trick,  I have some old materials from Cliff and autographs and notes to him from the Rickman Brothers, Dick Mann, Gary Nixon and basically a whos-who of the world of motorcycling. Some of it he gave me and told me to go make copies and sell them.  I thought that was a bit sketchy but Cliff insisted.   One of Cliffs other stories (Again,,I have many) is that he told Dennis Poore "You are going to die broke and depressed" as he was quite angry with Dennis.  For years Cliff laughed about this and crowed
"And I was right!".

So, thats my $0.02 on Quadrants.   One thing I will add,,I have another old friend,, Ed Bilton-Smith aka
as "Sir Eddy'  Many years ago there was a group of guys all named Ed so each got a nickname,  "Male Model Ed, Welder Ed, etc etc,. As Eddy was from the UK and thick accent Male Model Ed said that since Eddy was English and a royal pain in the A** he should be Sir Edward.   In the 50s Eddy moved to the US and in the early 60s raced the first Norton Manxman twin in the US. Ordered in specially by Archie Stanley.  Eddy won most every race he entered and did extensive development to the bike and was also friends with  Paul Dunstall and they had many trans-atlantic calls talking shop.  Eddy gave up racing and thats a story in itself, but  decided in the early 1970s that the Commando Norton motors were garbage, but the chassis had promise. He also felt the Honda 4cyls were brilliant.  So he built "Horton" which married a Honda CB750 rebuilt to 810cc, cams and other Sir Eddy mods, and stuck it in a Commando rolling chassis as there was loads of them about cheap with blown motors.  Eddy said,,,"it goes like the clappers!"

We had this bike on display at one of the INOA rallies here in Oregon many years ago, it was ridiculed by some but Phil Radford of FairSpares USA (He is NorCal) pronounced the bike so well executed and built it was better than any factory built bike.  He also said Eddy should go into production making more of them.  I rode the bike multiple times as well and it WAS fast, agile and smooth.  Eddy was hit by a deer leaving my house one day on Horton and actually died multiple times but was revived by medical staff.  After a very long recovery he rebuilt Horton and finally sold it to fund the Land speed record racing project.
(Currently Sir Eddys Rocket is the worlds fastest vintage 500cc bike in 2 classes)  and after Eddys death
(Permanent this time) His family was able to located Horton and bought it back.  His oldest son Andy has the bike now and still rideable.   Goes like the clappers she does!

I have multiple pix of Horton but most are on 35mm film and need to scan them, Perhaps this winter will add them to this discussion but its not BSA,, so there is that!   Maybe someday I will get the Honda-Quadrant completed as well.  Cliff told me he would write me an "Authentication letter" if I wanted but said
"Write what ever you want and Ill sign it"  which he was known to do.  He did a lot of Insurance valuations and for a 6 pack of beer would put what ever price you wanted on it. I never followed up, I should have, but sadly he is gone.  (probably lecturing ET and Poore in the afterlife,,)
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Offline Sluggo

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Re: Quadrant?
« Reply #8 on: 02.11. 2017 19:36 »
I tried to upload some more recent pictures of Uncle Cliffy,, but the file sizes are too large, Ill work on it later this winter but here is some that should post okay of Cliff in his early days.

Cliff & Lee Marvin (I always like Lee, great actor)

Cliff riding a wheelie. This is an AWESOME picture because if you look closely, the axle caps for the front wheel are loose.  Lots of people point it out and Cliff relished telling people "It dont F**King Matter! I dont use that wheel anyway!"  This was one he was still riding with the Travelling stunt show.  Evel Kneivel might have been more famous but he didnt have anything on Cliff. Cliff taught him most of what he knew.

Other people that hung around during that time was of  course that McQueen feller everybody talks about, James Garner (Rockford!) and a pretty long list of other celebrities.   I have never been able to confirm it but for years Cliff claimed he used to hang out with the original guy who was Col Sander of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame.  Cliff loved telling the story he used to give him crap about his investors. 
The way Cliff told it Col Sanders lost a LOT of money from investors trying to get his business started and failed many times before he was a success. Cliff asked him "Dont you feel bad about those people who gave you money?"  Cliff said that Col Sanders just shrugged it off and said "They knew the risks"
So, that does not have a lot to do with Quadrants per se... but its some insight into who I got the bike from.

To clear up some confusion as well.  I was never able to find out if my bike originated from the Triumph experimental dept-new products development guys --OR-- was a US test bike.   Triumphs factory was crowded, and not that many resources.  Often times things were developed here in the US, then shipped over to Triumph to evaluate and with any luck it might make it into production.  This was done with TRICOR and JOMO and later versions in the 1970s as well when Triumph was on its knees financially.
The US was not only the UKs biggest market, but the dealers needs dictated much of what was produced
and there is a LOT of stories about what Dealers like Cliff wanted and what Triumph was willing to do.

Hence the annual dealers meetings could be quite contentious.  Cliff always bitched that he couldnt get enough bikes to sell. He sold the hell out of them.  When the Canada recession hit and they couldnt move product Eldon Wright brokered a deal to move the dealers stock down to US dealers like Cliff so the Canadians could get in the new years models. This has to do with flooring costs and carrying debt.  Thats why you occasionally see a TR6SR or T120SR and these were Canadian models and most people dont know what they are. Many were sold out of year and many titled and registered wrong so there is a lot of confusion on them.  Cliff would take them and just lie to customers and say its a new bike when they were 1 or 2 years old. Often he would send them out for repaint in the current years colors.

Cliff claimed he created to 2 level seats, he showed me one, said he had a lot of short customers so he took the seats, cut down the foam on the front half and stuck the upholstery back on. He said he sent it to the UK and they came out with those the next year.  (Might even be true!)

In the 1970s another bike was developed here, many stories about it but Craig Vetter took the
BSA version of the triple and made the Hurricane (X75?) But in the midst of that BSA tanked and it was rebadged as a Triumph.   I spoke to Craig at an event in California and he never really got fully paid for that deal,.  The Norton-Matchless N15-G15 and P11 was a US creation as well by guys in California and facilitated by the US importer. Basically sent it back to the UK and "Make us a bunch of these!"    I also have a lot of documentation from Hap Alzina and they would would order in Goldstars and A10s and then reconfigure them to their customers needs. Thats why so many UK owners are confused with West Coast USA BSA Bikes not conforming to factory specs. ( I supplied some of this material to the UK BSAOC)

I also know Gene Kibbey up in Washington...another crusty character.  More compy model Matchless and AJS were sold in the pacific NW than anywhere else in the world, Not only were they popular for scrambles, trials, hill climbs and MX but there was a active collection of race clubs, dealers and enthusiasts that created a niche market for these bikes. Same deal, they were ordered in with what they could get and then modified by the local dealers and they yelled and screamed about "Give us this & that, and MORE MORE MORE"
So Gene was a factory supported racer and he has bikes people in the UK swear do not exist.  It has been entertaining to take UK know it alls and they insist "Oh no, the factory NEVER produced a bike like that!"  And you open up the shop door at Genes place and there sits Rocking horse poop.  Bikes that allegedly never existed.
Remember that any advice received on a free internet forum is generally worth about 1/2 of what you paid for it.
We overcharge every 3rd customer to pass the savings onto you.
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