The Triumph Thunderbird 6T was Marlon Brando’s partner on The Wild One, where he plays a rebellious motorcycle gang leader. The connection between motorcycles and Hollywood dates back a long time. Back then it was common to see outlaws displaying their dominance over small towns as part of 1950s film culture, and one of those movies that brilliantly portrays this is The Wild One starring Marlon Brando.
Marlon Brando is known to be one of the best actors Hollywood has seen. Due to his exceptional acting skills, Brando became a cultural icon who shaped such characters as James Dean and Elvis Presley. The influence he had on American society was so great that his method of acting became synonymous with outlaw motorcyclists who did not tolerate shit. Aside from his acting skills, Brando was an avid motorcycle fan. When asked to play the outlaw in The Wild One, Brando showed no doubts and decided to ride his own motorcycle in the film. The Triumph Thunderbird 6T was Marlon Brando’s sidekick on The Wild One, where he plays a gang leader and a rebellious motorcyclist who became one of the most iconic Hollywood movies of all time.
About Wild One: marlon brando moto
The Wild One was a 1953 American crime film directed by Lazlo Benedek. It is considered the original motorcycle outlaw film and the first film to examine the violence of American outlaw motorcycle gangs. The film’s script was based on the Frank Rooney short story “The Cyclists’ Raid.” The film saw Marlon Brando as the lead playing Johnny Strabler, the farce later becoming the cultural icon of the 1950s. Other prominent roles were directed by Lee Marvin, Mary Murphy, and Robert Keith. In the movie, Marlon Brando and his motorcycle gang arrive in Carbonville (a small town in California) for a motorcycle competition and create enough trouble to get kicked out of town. They move to Wrightsville (a nearby town) and continue their act of rebellion and criminal conduct.
The local sheriff, represented by Robert Keith, can do nothing to stop them, but when a rival gang arrives, he manages to arrest their leader, Chino, played by Lee Marvin. Meanwhile, Johnny is attracted to the sheriff’s daughter Mary Murphy as Kathie and decides to stay. The bike on which Brando carried out the action-packed sequences was his own Triumph Thunderbird 6T. The film generated much controversy and was banned in the UK for fourteen years. Even Triumph importers at the time objected to the producers for displaying their motorcycle as part of rowdy motorcycle gangs. RELATED: 10 Celebrities Who Ride Badass Motorcycles
The iconic Triumph Thunderbird 6T: marlon brando on a motorcycle
Edward Turner, then director of Triumph, came up with the idea of a 650cc to satisfy the American demand for more power from 500cc Speed-Twin engines. Nicknamed the Thunderbird or T-bird, the proposal was a huge success in every state and helped pay off the huge debts the UK had incurred during WWII. The 650cc four-stroke parallel twin engine pumped out 34 horsepower and was mated to a 4-speed unit. According to Classicmotorcycletahub, the 4-speed unit on the T-bird was supposed to be much better than the T100, but it exhibited the same leisurely gear changes and appreciably heavier clutch. Many users said that the T-bird was considered the best bike on the market for covering distances comfortably with reasonable economy and fairly good average speeds. That said, the bike also came with a few drawbacks.
For starters, the 6T Thunderbird was publicly launched at the Montlhery racetrack near Paris, where three standard production bikes were ridden by a team of riders supposedly averaging 92 mph between them. It wasn’t long before many customers began to see that their T-bird couldn’t handle more than 80 mph and quickly realized that the claim was a publicity stunt and more of a scam. That said, a few modifications like what Brando did to his engine would solve the problem. Modifications such as two new taps and the connector tubing corresponding to the …