Imagine for a moment that you would like to compile the ultimate scrapbook collection of images, memorabilia and history for some of the iconic marques of the motorcycle world.
You’d need a massive archive of information, print material and expertise to draw on. That is exactly what James Robinson had at his disposal when he took on editing “The Scrapbook Series 1-Triumph” for Mortons Media Group in the U.K.
Robinson came to the project with imposing technical knowledge of the Triumph product line; as editor of The Classic MotorCycle magazine, he has probably ridden and written about nearly every Triumph model at one time or another.
Though Robinson disavows trying to be clever with the concept, the book (a soft-cover book-a-zine) is clever nonetheless in that the hundreds of period photographs, drawings, article reprints and ad art are presented as though taped into the pages of a scrapbook—hence, the name.
In a cool, old-timey, sentimental sort of way, it works. Reading through the book is literally like paging through a lovingly compiled scrapbook of Triumph memorabilia that might have been passed down from your Triumph-loving Grandfather to your dad and then to you.
Since it is heavy on images and caption boxes and there aren’t a lot of long, droning blocks of narrative, the book could be a fairly quick read, but for one thing. You will tend to linger long over some of the images, reprints or other content. Some out of fascination, some for nostalgia, some just because of the story they tell.
For example, the image on page 63 of Californian Joe Dudek at the Bonneville Salt Flats in August, 1958. Dudek was the tuner for Bill Johnson who rode his 500 cc Triumph twin to a class record speed of 147.420 mph, with carburetors, no supercharger, running on pump gas! Or the shot of Johnny Allen, also at Bonneville in September 1959 with his streamliner. Or, the full reprint of the article, “Next Year’s Triumphs,” from the October 23, 1958 issue of Motor Cycling magazine, complete with yellowing pages, drawings and specifications.
If you’re a tried-and-true Triumph rider or just a fan of the brand, “The Scrapbook Series I— Triumph” is a book you’ll want to find. After you’ve finished reading that, you’ll want to find “The Scrapbook Series II—BSA,” “The Scrapbook Series III—Norton,” and “The Scrapbook Series IV—AMC” (which is about the AJS and Matchless brands, all edited by James Robinson).
- Title: The Scrapbook Series 1 – Triumph
- Author: Edited by James Robinson
- Published: 2008
- Publisher: Mortons Media Group, Ltd, Media Centre, Morton Way, Horncastle, Lincs, LN9 6JR
- ISBN: 978-1-906167-09-7
Note to readers: many of the books that we’ll feature here may be out of print and some may be difficult to find. That could be half the fun. The Internet should make the search relatively easy but ironically, none of the books currently scheduled for eventual retro-review for the Rider’s Library section were found with the help of the Internet. They all were found at book stores, used book stores, antique shops, motorcycle shops, yard sales and so on.