"A touring motorcycle? My dear
sir, the British machine is noted for its vivid acceleration, fine handling
looks. It remains a rider's machine, a sporting thoroughbred, the two-wheeled equivalent
of the Morgan car. How could we sacrifice these sterling virtues by fitting it up with -
what did you say? - a screen, crashbars, panniers, western-style handlebars and spotlamps.
You aren't a police officer by any chance are you, sir? No? Well, I think you'll find a
Harley-Davidson dealer just around the corner . . . "
The Triumph Cardinal
At the time the list price of a stock T160, if you could find one!, was £1,211 (inc VAT) with most dealers listing them for £1,198. The accessories were worth about £150 - including crash bars, spotlamps, air horns, tri-point screen, panniers, single seat and radio rack. NVT listed the Cardinal for £1,522.80 (inc VAT).
The weekly paper Motor Cycle News even had a 'Mark the Ball' competition with a Cardinal as the prize.
Time passes . . .
Interest in classic bikes, especially triples, grows to the extent that people start to wonder what happened to all those bikes sent to Saudi Arabia. Those 450 machines were about 6.25% of the total production of just over 7,000 T160s.
Dealers in the UK began bringing the bikes back. In the early '80s two dealers in Sweden and Finland went to Saudi Arabia and brought back 180 bikes. They began to restore and resell them - mostly in stock T160 trim. The bikes were found to have incredibly low mileage (some no more than a couple of hundred miles!) - but they were very abused and, as might be expected, were totally encrusted in sand with desert dust everywhere.
Here's yours truly just after I bought a new Cardinal in August 1977 from Allan Jefferies, a Triumph dealer in Shipley, Yorks.