Even though we’re total moto-nuts, we appreciate fine automobiles too. The lads from Portugal’s Ton-Up Garage are kindred spirits: self-confessed petrol heads who love anything with an engine.
That love shows through with their newest release, a low and lean Triumph Bonneville called ‘HotRod.’ “It’s our interpretation of the crazy years between the 30s and the 50s,” the guys tell us. “The golden era of hot-rodding.”
“The fluent lines are inspired by the hotrods used on the dry lakes in California, where people gathered to race. We’d have raced back then too, if we could!”
That scalloped paint job hits the right vintage note—but there’s a lot more at play here than a swish livery. To get the right lines, builders Pedro and Daniel ditched all of the 2006-model Bonnie’s bodywork—and started from scratch.
The tank and tailpiece are hand-shaped units, and the rear of the frame has been shortened and kicked up for a tighter effect. There’s a small tail light embedded in the rear, and a ribbed leather seat up top, finished off with contrasting grey trim.
Ton-Up took great care to empty out the bike’s midsection too, to create a more lithe-looking machine—“proper for a race bike,” they say. All the wiring—along with a Lithium-ion battery—is now crammed into a discreet, hand-made box under the seat.
The cockpit’s been put on a diet too. The bar-end turn signals and tiny speedo are from Motogadget, and the headlight has been swapped for a classic 5¾” unit.
Look closely, and you’ll notice minimal switches distributed between the bars, headlight and steering stem nut. There’s also nowhere to put a key—Ton-Up have fitted a RFID ignition system instead.
As for those peculiar handlebars, they’re off-the-shelf units, but still took a little hunting to track down. “We didn’t want to use the common styles we’re all used to seeing.”
The bars are capped off with CNC-machined grips, and clean, vintage-style levers. You’ll notice that the front brake master cylinder’s been hidden too. There’s also some visual trickery going on with the rear brake: the brake line now runs through the swing arm.
“We’ve tried to make a lot of the technical details different to previous bikes we’ve built,” the guys tell us, “and also make the bike as clean as possible. These are new challenges we give to ourselves to go further on the builds we do.”
Moving to the running gear, Ton-Up treated the Bonnie to new rear shocks and fork springs from Öhlins. They also traded the stock 19” front, 17” rear combo for matching 18” wheels. And yes, they’re shod in Firestone Deluxe Champion tires (a period-perfect choice, if you ask us).
There are custom-made fenders at both ends too, with the rear doubling up as a plate holder. The velocity stacks and the stretched-out stainless steel exhaust system are one-offs too.
Rear-sets with serrated pegs round things out, along with a hand-made sprocket cover with a cut-out silhouette of Ton-Up’s logo. And we give the boys top marks for resisting the urge to slather everything in black—opting for a silver finish on the frame instead.
The only thing we can’t figure out is where we’d like to ride this lovely Bonneville. Around Porto’s tight and twisty old town streets? Or with the throttle cracked wide open, under big skies on a hot desert road? That’s the delightful dilemma the lucky new owner needs to face.