Ace Cafe Triumph
The Ace Cafe was built in 1938 as a roadside cafe to cater for traffic using the then new North Circular Road. In World War II, the building was badly damaged and subsequently rebuilt in 1949. It was a state-of-the-art cafe and one of the first to use neon signage.
With its proximity to Britain’s new and fast arterial road network, and staying open 24 hours, the cafe soon attracted hordes of young motorcyclists who were bored and searching for their own identity. The advent of the “teenager” in the early fifties saw the Ace booming, with the arrival of the Ton-Up Boys. With an increase in traffic, and the British motorcycle industry at its peak, along came rock n’ roll.
Not played on radio stations, it could only be heard at fairgrounds or on Jukeboxes in transport cafes. From this powerful fusion of motorbikes and rock n’ roll, came the legends of record racing.
Dropping a coin into the slot, then racing to a given point and back before the record finished, turning the North Circular Road into an unofficial race track. The term “cafe racer”, still enshrined in motorcycing’s lexicon, was coined, as many would race their souped-up Triumph’s from cafe to cafe. They'd all try to do the ton, a 100 miles per hour (160 km/h), a major feat in its day.
Come the sixties, the Rocker had emerged, and in 1962, the Reverend Bill Shergold visited the cafe, inviting the assembled motorcyclists to join the 59 Club and to attend a “Blessing of the Bikes” at his church. The Ace also became the launching pad for several British rock n’ roll bands, with other bands and performers of the era dropping by in the early hours for refreshments after a gig. The cafe closed in 1969, shortly after the opening of the Scratchwood Services at what was then the southern end of the M1 motorway.
The ground floor of the building became a tyre sales and fitting shop. The first floor was occupied by a vehicle delivery company. With the increasing popularity of the Rocker revival and discussions with members of the 59 Club and Triumph Owners Club, the first Ace Cafe Reunion was organised by Mark Wilsmore and held in 1994.In 1997, a small part of the building reopened at weekends, with a ‘Burger Van’ on site, with the complete refurbishment completed by September 2001. Motorcyclists from all over the world attend themed meetings. It is no longer open 24-hours but the cafe has an extensive calendar of meets and off-site events for both motorbike and car enthusiasts.
Now you too can own a piece of the history with the Triumph X Ace Cafe Collection. This is a limited edition run so when our stock is gone it's gone like the Ton-Up Boys racing to beat that record...