Historical factors that influence the value of Triumph motorcycles include the brand's venerability, record of competition success and association with celebrity. The staying power of the Triumph name through difficult historical times also adds to the brand's allure.
Triumph motorcycles have been in continuous production longer than any other brand of motorcycle in the world. The first Triumph was produced in 1903, and since then, the company has endured through two world wars and numerous financial hardships and ownership changes. The 550cc Model H Roadster 4 stroke produced for use by Allied troops in World War I is considered to be the first modern motorcycle. This long history makes Triumph an iconic motorcycle brand.
Triumph started chalking up competition victories with second and third place finishes in the 1907 Isle of Man TT road race, the first TT race for motorcycles. The 500cc Triumph Trophy, introduced in 1948, went on to win the International Six Day Test the next four years running. In 1956, Johnny Allen ran a 650cc Triumph-powered streamline bike at Bonneville Salts Flats to set the motorcycle land speed record. The 650cc T-120 Triumph Bonneville was introduced in 1959 to commemorate the run and has attained classic status over the years.
Marlon Brando rode a 1950 Triumph Thunderbird GT in the iconic biker film "The Wild One." Steve McQueen made the Triumph TR6 famous in "The Great Escape," and Evel Knievel completed many of his daredevil jumps on a T-120 Bonneville. This celebrity status makes these particular Triumph models especially valuable.