I remembered a TV show that I watched as a teenager and into my twenties. Most people my age will remember Happy Days. And most will also remember the “coolest” member of the cast, The “Fonz” played by Henry Winkler. I was trying to remember what kind of bike the Fonz rode. I would have sworn it was a Harley. Although, early in the show, there were a few Harley’s shown, I was mildly surprised to find that The Fonz’s bike was actually a Triumph. A Triumph TR5.
The Harley I’d remembered was a Harley Knucklehead or maybe a Panhead. They were featured early on in the series for a few reasons. Henry Winkler wasn’t a biker. He found the Harleys to big and heavy and uncomfortable to manage. The producers got their hands on a TR5 and the rest is television History.
Other Cool Americans and Their Triumph Triumphs
Just in case you’re wondering Triumph Triumphs isn’t a typo. It’s just a play on words. Not all the Triumphs in this post were triumphant. One failed dramatically. See if you can figure out which one.
Marlon Brando – 1950 Model Triumph 6T Thunderbird
Brando was a rider even before he became famous. To relieve stress, he rode. Often for hours.
He rode the 6T Thunderbird in the movie The Wild One.
Steve McQueen had a whole garage full of motorcycles. One of the Coolest of all in this group, he rode motorcycles in several Movies. One of the most famous of his movies was The Great Escape. He rode a Triumph TR6 in the scene where he was running from the Germans and jumped the fences on the TR6.
In one of his movies when he wasn’t riding a horse Clint drove a Triumph Bonneville during a chase through Manhattan’s Central Park. The Movie was Coogan’s Bluff.
An interesting and embarrassing story for Harley Davidson. With the earnings of their success, Buddy Holley and the Crickets decided to all buy motorcycles because cool people ride motorcycles. They shopped for bikes in the Dallas area and actually picked out Harleys. But the owners of the Harley dealership was unaware of Buddy and his band and didn’t treat them with the respect they deserved. They ended up buying Triumphs at Ray Miller Triumph Motorcycle Sales. On their way home they stopped by the Harley Dealer on their new Triumphs. Buddy got an Ariel Cyclone, J.I. a Trophy, and Joe B. a Thunderbird.
I told you this was a list of cool people. Dean, had a long history being a biker. The last bike he rode before he died was a Triumph TR5 Trophy
Riding a 1964 Triumph Tiger 100 he crashed and hurt his back. The crash wasn’t that serious but gave him time to think while recovering. He didn’t tour for the next 10 years. You have to wonder what would have happened to Dylan if he’d kept up the insane pace of touring that he had before the crash