201501SteveTriumphBlueBike-08What greater bond is there between man and machine, than Steve McQueen and the Triumph motorcycle. A bond in marketing terms that I doubt could be repeated. Not even the big Hollywood names or the stars or the modern supersports could bring the kudos that Steve McQueen brought the Triumph brand in the sixties and even today. 201501SteveTriumphBlueBike-06McQueen not only rode Triumph’s in anger, racing the deserts of Southern California and New Mexico as well as the mud and wet of the 1964 ISDT, McQueen also rode Triumph’s everyday, on and off screen. Product placement that would be unaffordable if a modern A-list superstar was to ride a bike, any bike, like McQueen road the Triumph.10922419_1042577515759532_3566191987013186961_nThe paring of McQueen and Triumph continues today officially with Triumph/McQueen merchandise and limited addition motorcycle and the unofficially with motorcycle such as the JoMo 955 and this Bonneville McQueen homage, built by Steven Heglar of Modern British Designs, who also built the best McQueen ISDT replica we have seen, a build which was based on Triumph own half hearted attempted on an ISDT replica the Triumph Scrambler.


The inspiration for this bike came from a photograph of Steve and Jacqueline Bisset on McQueen’s own Blue and White Bonneville, a photo which was taken while the pair were on location in San Francisco during the filming of Bullitt. The finished Triumph, like Steven Heglar McQueen ISDT build is simply stunning, with a level of detail that may lead some to believe this is a genuine period Bonneville and perhaps the very one owed by McQueen himself. 201501SteveTriumphBlueBike-11I bet if you were to take this Triumph for a spin and park it up somewhere, you would in no time at all be surrounded by a bunch of old boys all asking about your classic Bonneville. Perhaps before you go out, you should purchase some Persol sunglasses and desert boot to complete the look. Comparing the Modern British Designs and Triumph’s own official homage to the superstar, I know which one got it right…. Sorry Triumph.201501SteveTriumphBlueBike-07Steven Heglar of  Modern British Designs posted the build thread for this motorcycle on the Bonnefication forum, which can be found here –  I won’t repeat what has been said before so go give it a good read.

201501SteveTriumphBlueBike-092005 Triumph Bonneville

Wheels and Suspension

  • TPUSA Wide Wheel kit, excel rim 160x55x17 tire
  • Works performance front springs
  • Hagon rear shocks with custom fabricated polyurethane bushings


  • Upgraded from 790 to 904 with TPUSA kit
  • OEM Cylinders replated with Nikasil coating
  • Compression ratio increased to 11.5:1
  • Offset lightweight wrist pins
  • Intake valve pockets opened to accept 2 mm oversize valves
  • Cylinder Head Upgraded
  • Cleaned, deburred and overlapping edges smoothed
  • Exhaust and intake ports reshaped for optimum performance
  • 2mm oversize intake and exhaust valves
  • Exhaust ports polished
  • Five-angle valve job is performed
  • TPUSA billet intake manifolds port matched to the head
  • TPUSA performance camshafts
  • Air box and air injection elimination kit
  • TTP safe start installed
  • TTP Fire Starter Performance Igniter Unit stage 2 tune
  • Norman Hyde Toga silencers
  • Streetmaster sub frame oil cooler installed
  • Custom fabrication completed by MBD
  • Headlight mounting bracket turn signal and ignition holes filled, metal finished and painted.
    Rear fender shortened 4 inches, factory stampings removed new metal welded in, finished and smoothed.
  • Factory engine covers stripped and sanded with all casting marks removed before final polish.
    Mosfet rectifier relocated under air box
  • Horn relocated under petrol tank
  • All ancillary brackets stripped and powder coated
  • Custom design and machine work completed by MBD
  • Billet license plate frame polished and powder coated
  • Master cylinder cover
  • Lay flat dash
  • Ignition relocation bracket, relocated to right side under gas tank
  • Polished billet carb tops
  • Bullitt themed choke knob
  • Polyurethane gasket for Lucas 679 taillight and alloy housing
  • Leather seat, diamond stitched, saddle gel
  • Quick release, ball detent seat pins
  • All hardware replaced with stainless steel, Manufacture stampings removed prior to final polish
  • Stainless steel mirror stalks


  • Pacific Blue over Alaskan White, with gold striping by Cory Hamm of Raleigh North Carolina

201501SteveTriumphBlueBike-12 Modern British Designs Inc.

5448 Apex Peakway #177
Apex, NC 27502