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Hurricane Prototype Up for Auction

The sole prototype of Triumph’s Hurricane – a factory custom of the early 1970s – is up for auction at H&H Classics. The only Hurricane to wear BSA badges, this was the bike shipped over to BSA’s Umberslade Hall R&D centre in 1969. Designed by young Californian Craig Vetter, it was certainly an eyeful, with its distinctive, flowing one-piece tank/side panel cover, extended forks and three-into-three exhaust. It even had extended cylinder head fins to give the BSA triple a beefier appearance. Vetter had been asked to restyle the BSA Rocket 3 after sales failed to meet expectations – American buyers didn’t take to the factory bike’s squared-off styling.

Back in the Midlands, young BSA engineer Stuart McGuigan was given the job of turning Vetter’s radical custom into a production-ready machine. “I’d seen the prototype around,” he told author Peter Henshaw. “People would come in and ridicule it, but I think it was a neat styling job, pretty well proportioned. It was a complete bike, but not rideable – the extended cylinder fins used fibreglass resin, so it couldn’t have been run. My job was to make an engineering job of the styling model so that it complied with regulations.”

He found there were many details to sort out, including the puzzle of how to make those three-into-three pipes comply with noise limits. As for Craig Vetter, he was impressed with McGuigan’s work. “They took my radical different everything,” he said in 2020, “and did a great job!” H&H’s estimate for the one-off BSA Hurricane, which is auctioned on 12th July, is £28,000-£32,000.

Jim Freeman, Chairman of the BMF, said: “If I had the cash I’d be tempted, I remember being impressed as a teenager, by Vetter’s design. Vetter went on to make the definitive American touring fairing of the next decade and more, which was probably more influential, but no where near as cool as the Hurricane, which turned the rather dull T150 and ‘Slumber glade’ Hall’s efforts into something that evoked a ‘Cor’ from me and plenty of others.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of Stuart McGuigan