1972 Triumph T100R, Project “Lockjaw”
A barren field across from an apartment complex in Lawton, Oklahoma, was the reason why this 1972 Triumph T100R ever came to be. For whenever Andrew Ukrop looked at that mess of dirt, rocks and arid scrub, he didn’t simply view it as a piece of blasé Great Plains terrain—he saw it as the perfect playground for a stripped down desert sled.
During the halcyon days of desert racing, British twins reigned supreme. Andrew already had one of those—a 1972 Triumph T100R—parked in his garage. Truth be told, it was too nice to even think about messing with. But when the top end was giving him trouble, he decided to swing by a local motorcycle mechanic’s shop to see if he could get some help.
The shop was filled with a wide variety of vintage bikes in various stages of completion. Peering through the front window, you could see a Harley Hummer flat tracker and parts and pieces strewn everywhere. In the back, there was a 1940s Indian in the throes of a rebuild. Despite the myriad of old moto gold, the proprietor was less than happy to lend a hand.
As Andrew walked around the shop, he noticed the pieces of what looked like a Triumph twin stashed away. When he inquired about a price, the owner blurted out an outrageous number—enough to drive Andrew out the door.
It wasn’t long before he was back and ready to negotiate. After some smooth talking, he was able to haggle down to a reasonable number. A deal was struck, more parts were pulled from the shed behind the shop, and just like that, Andrew had a basis for a 1972 T100R—“Lockjaw.”
It’s important to note here that Andrew is my older brother. While I was getting into vintage Hondas, he was learning the ins and outs of muscle cars (he’s the proud owner of a 1972 GS done up ’70s street machine style, which is a story for another day). It wasn’t until I was attempting to adjust the clutch on my ’72 CL350 that I convinced him to join me. By the next summer, he was deeper into these old bikes than I was. Day after day, you could find him ripping around Virginia’s byways on his heavily modified CB125, dubbed the “Tin Roof Special.” Prior to purchasing the aforementioned basket case of a Triumph, he had never built a bike from the ground up.
Without any mentors or experience to speak of, Andrew jumped right in. I remember when he called to tell me that he got the bike and that it was going to take a year to build—maybe more. “The only thing holding it together is the rust,” he said. Judging by the pictures, he wasn’t kidding.
Right from the start, he adopted a simple philosophy: work on the bike every day, no matter what. That could mean anything from bolting together an assembly or ordering a part off eBay to throwing some impossibly corroded pieces in the ChemDip bucket. Holding true to that process, the bike started taking shape.
First, there were the big pieces like the frame. Both he and our mom tell a harrowing tale of destroying a dead-blow hammer in the driveway in their attempt to get the swingarm situated. Then there was the motor, much of which he built in the living room at his apartment. Many of the critical components, like the tappet blocks and transmission, looked as if they had been salvaged from the Titanic, but he was able to break them free and put them back into service. Prior to reassembly, he treated the 490cc parallel twin to all new internals, including 10:1 pistons and oversized valves. These days, it absolutely barks—and breathes fire—through those ultra-rare TT pipes.
Like all vintage machines, Lockjaw has existed in several forms. Initially, Andrew built it as a rough-and-tumble desert sled. He wanted to make it look as if it were pulled out of that Oklahoma shed—complete. Parts like the gas tank and bobbed fender retained their flaking red paint, while the oil tank, side cover and forks remained rusty. To drive home that late-’60s/early-’70s look, he sourced an old solo seat, P-pad, finned Webco points cover, rectangular headlight and Sparto-style tail lamp. The exhaust came from that unbelievable garage sale in Pacifica, California, that I mentioned in the Project Paperweight story a few weeks ago.
Not long after building it in Desert Sled form, he decided that he needed to give it the finish it deserved. Once again, he tore the bike apart so he could spray a Plum Crazy metalflake paintjob and gloss black accents. He’s always been a stickler for original trim pieces, so he installed rubber kneepads and early-style Triumph badges on the tank.
Andrew has since moved far away from that field across from his apartment complex in Oklahoma, and these days the bike is living in Michigan. Over the holidays, we couldn’t help but pull it out of the garage for a little wintertime fun. Snow, street, dirt, you name it—Lockjaw is built to handle it all.