Limited Triumph Bonneville T120 Elvis Presley Is a Nod to the Infamous Memphis Mafia

Triumph Bonneville T120 Elvis Presley 8 photos
Photo: Triumph
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Even if his music does not mean all that to our generation, for our grandparents and, in some cases, even our parents, both that and the name Elvis Presley still speak volumes. Through these people, but also through his music and what he meant for the world, the King of Rock and Roll will forever have a place in the history of our species, and any association with him is not only welcomed but also sought after even today, almost half a century after he passed.
Even those who weren't directly involved with Elvis are still trying to capitalize on the man's success, especially if there is a connection to be made between the parties. Like, for instance, British bike maker Triumph.

Although Elvis was not directly tied to the company, he did like the motorcycles it made, especially the T120 Bonneville. So much, in fact, that back when he was still in his prime, in 1965, he purchased "one for all the guys."

In the strictest sense, all the guys were, naturally, Elvis' closest friends, but also pretty much everyone who stayed close to the singer for one reason or another the duration of his career. The world at large doesn't call this motley crew "all the guys," but the Memphis Mafia.

A total of seven such motorcycles made their way into the hands of Elvis' associates, and that's reason enough for Triumph to keep celebrating the connection it has to the King – something the bike maker has done repeatedly over the years.

The last time it did that was in March, when the bike maker sold a unique version of the T120 accompanied by a Les Paul guitar. The bike was styled in such a way as to be reminiscent of the Bonneville Desert Sled that made an appearance in the 1968 movie Stay Away, Joe, a flick that starred Elvis himself.

Triumph Bonneville T120 Elvis Presley
Photo: Triumph
The guitar, on the other hand, was a design by motorcycle customizer J Daar (the crew responsible for the bike mentioned above) and it was supposed to be a nod to the Comeback Special show that aired in 1968 on NBC and marked the singer's return to return to live music after a seven-year break.

Although the $20,000 the pair eventually went for during the Bonhams Amelia Island auction could have been seen as a disappointment for Triumph, the Brits weren't discouraged and this week released details of yet another Elvis tribute, this time in the form of a limited edition run of the Bonneville T120.

The bikes are meant to form a direct connection with the "fascinating tale of his Memphis Mafia Bonnevilles" and that means, naturally, that only some visual tweaks have been made to the ride, with all the stock mechanical bits staying in place.

That means the Bonneville T120 Elvis Presley Limited Edition, as the model is officially called, uses the factory-supplied 1,200cc parallel-twin engine that delivers 79 horsepower and 105 Nm of torque.

The bodywork is the same as on the standard bikes of this family only it looks completely different. The bike wears a Carnival Red color scheme all around, inspired by the custom Bonneville made by J Daar, highlighted by stripes in aluminum on the tank and mudguards, gold line detailing, and, naturally, chrome, most visible on the bike's exhaust system.

What makes this line of Bonnevilles special are the Elvis details. The name of the singer is written in gold on the bike, there is the man's signature on the fuel tank and side panels, but also one of his personal mantras and something the Memphis Mafia members wore on necklaces: "taking care of business in a flash." Finally, we've got a numbered handlebar clamp that features Elvis' signature once more.

Triumph Bonneville T120 Elvis Presley
Photo: Triumph
Triumph says it will only make 925 of these bikes for the global markets, and it will deliver them starting August – orders for the model are already being accepted. On the American market the price for one has been set at $15,495, but it's not only the bike you'll get for that much.

The bike maker throws into the package a Sony gold disc wrapped in an exclusive sleeve with Elvis and Triumph markings, and a certificate of authenticity signed by the company's CEO, Nick Bloor, and the founder of ABG, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Jamie Salter.

Chances are this special run of the Bonneville is not the last tribute Triumph will be paying Elvis. The company is presently hard at work trying to track down the motorcycles used by the Memphis Mafia, and says several leads are already being pursued.

Things, however, don't seem to be going all that great, and Triumph would appreciate all those with knowledge about the present whereabouts of the bikes used by Elvis and his gang back in the day to come forward.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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