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 1976/1977 MC5 250 and 400 ORIGINAL COLORS
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Jeff Moore
Senior Member

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 02/18/2020 :  10:17:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Being totally new to Pentons, I am finding that exactly like with my Maicos, BSAs and Triumphs. That there is confusion on what was considered original on the 1976/1977 Penton/KTM MC5s...

Which brings to mind what the famous Bud Ekins once told me about Triumphs. I asked him what was original on Bonnevilles and he looked at me and growled "NOTHIN!"...

Bud told me that on the same day he would have two brand new Bonnevilles delivered and one would have the tank and fenders painted in one color maroon with black pin stripes and the next bike would be in a different color maroon with silver pin stripes. Some bikes he said would have chrome fenders while others had painted fenders. I know this is true because I have several unrestored, original paint Triumphs that are the same year and model and they are different! Bud also said he would switch parts on new bikes. So what your bike looked like the day you bought it new, was not necessarily how the bike left the factory.

I also know that there is no such thing as an "ORIGINAL" 501 Maico. I have several NOS original paint Maico gas tanks and fenders, and they are each a little bit different color, and they have different size decals and some have a MC501 decal and the placement on the bike is different etc... Maico experts all agree nothing Maico is absolute,

In my recent research for my 1977 MC5 400cc (ID#55003030) Engine case was cast on 8/1976, I'm trying to figure out what would be correct as far as the tank size and color and decals etc. and also the side cover colors. I am not finding any definitive answers. Studying the archives on this site going all the way back to 2010 and scouring the internet there does not appear to be any absolute undisputed answers. There are red, orange,white and blue examples of MC5s...

I am in So Cal and assume my bike was delivered as a West Coast model? It has a large blue gas tank (Supposedly a GS6 aka Desert tank) with a KTM decal and the white/black "L" stripe. The side covers are blue with yellow number plates. One side has an MC5 sticker the other side a 400 sticker. I have also read that European and Canadian KTMs were originally delivered like this?

Based upon numerous conversations with Penton/KTM experts apparently the blue desert tank and blue/yellow side covers "MIGHT" be correct and original for a very late West Coast MC5 especially a 400?

To totally confuse the situation even more. During the past week I have been offered several NOS original paint side panels for MC5s that are in fact blue and yellow. BUT!... I have also been offered an original paint (used) GS/desert tank in the red/orange color that uses the "L" Decal.

I actually really prefer the smaller tank and the famous PENTON orange color with "C" decal. So my dilemma is... Keep what is "SUPPOSEDLY" original in Blue or change the bike to what I like, Penton Orange, which also might be totally correct and original??

Gallery?

Edited by - Jeff Moore on 02/19/2020 11:12:29 AM

Timothy Walls
Junior Member

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2020 :  09:30:46 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If it was me I would stay with the BLUE . That is a rare color east of the Mississippi so it would be nice to see . I am restoring a 1975 400 that is white and I know it should be an off white Maserati color ( dirty white to me ) but like most restored ones I'll go with a white -white . It seamed like every batch of bikes from 1975 - 1977 were different in color , decals and looks .

Timothy Walls
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R.T.Fischer
Average Member

USA
22 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2020 :  9:17:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
100cc/red, 125cc/green, 175cc/blue, 250cc/yellow, 400cc/white, is what I remember from earlier east coast Pentons at dealers shops , not too sure about the very last years.
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Jeff Moore
Senior Member

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 02/23/2020 :  11:37:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I do not think "Yellow" was ever an option on the MC5s and GS6s?? Do you mean Orange with Yellow number plates? The five original MC5 plastic side covers that I have seen are all made using yellow plastic then painted or gel coated in colors.

My 1977 is consistent with the following...

This POG Member post was from 2012:

"Bill Tarling rode for KTM West (along with Tom Kelly and Bob Balentine) in 76-78 SCORE Desert races and D37. His bikes were BLUE with yellow with the bigger toaster like tanks,then the white/orange frames later on. I remember prerunning the pavement section coming out of Ensenada with Billy the morning of the Baja 1000 in 77 and his bike was definitely BLUE that year."

Edited by - Jeff Moore on 02/23/2020 11:39:08 PM
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Daniel P. McEntee
Advanced Member

577 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  12:41:44 AM  Show Profile  Send Daniel P. McEntee a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
The first year for the 250 Hare Scrambler had yellow tanks and side panels, sometimes just the air cleaner cover and the chrome heat shield on the pipe. That is my favorite look and what mine has. Late 1973 at the start of the '74 model year they switched to red tanks and side panels for the 250, even using up yellow airboxes by painting them red, and the tank shape changed to the watermelon rounded shape. I think there are a few frames out there with technically '73 frame numbers but with '74 tanks and such. It can get confusing. I think Mike Winter still has the earliest recorded '74 frame number, but I don't remember what that is.
It's fun to research and dig this stuff up but it can drive you crazy! I just refer Penton production as like a lava flow, always moving and changing but remaining and constant force moving forward!
Type at you later,
Dan McEntee
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Jeff Moore
Senior Member

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  08:10:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Dan,

I have no experience with the earlier Penton models pre 1976. And I am sure that you are totally correct.

My focus was on what was original on the very late and last "Pentons" aka MC5s and GS6 ... Scratcht that. What was SUPPOSEDLY original.

And just like you agree on the earlier bikes. At the KTM factory whatever was on the shelf on the day the frame was being assembled was how the bike was built. And if a new Orange gas tank on a bike was damaged during the weeks of shipping on the boat or trucks from Austria. There is absolutely no doubt that if the importer or dealer only had a red or blue tank and side covers on their shelf, that is the color that bike was sold when it was new.

Which is totally consistent with virtually all other bikes from from that time. And probably is still the reality even today?

Jeff

Edited by - Jeff Moore on 02/24/2020 08:21:39 AM
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Larry Perkins
Advanced Member

USA
2579 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  10:03:50 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
If you are building a Penton both GS6 and MC5 were all orange. Cut and dry. Do not understand the debate or problem. If you are building a West coast KTM then I can see the debate. But Pentons were ORANGE! Many people including including myself build custom ones like my white MC5 but if you are trying to be correct and it is a Penton ORANGE!

Larry P

Edited by - Larry Perkins on 02/24/2020 10:06:03 AM
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Jeff Moore
Senior Member

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  2:54:56 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Larry,

So there were NO,NONE, ZERO "West Coast" MC5 PENTONS? They were all KTMs? What about the Red MC5s on the West Coast? Were they Pentons or all KTMs??

A few folks have said there were Red and Blue and White MC5 West Coast "Pentons" .

Even though according to the attached letter dated June 1975 from John Penton what you say seems correct.


Penton sells western distribution
rights to KTM
_______________


LORAIN, OH., JUNE 20, 1975

John Penton, in the form of a letter to his dealers in
western states, announced Friday the sale of western distribution
rights to KTM. Larry Maiers, Penton's general manager, informed
us that the motorcycles will no longer be sold in the western states
as Pentons, but will carry the KTM name.
The complete text of John Penton's letter follows:

Negotiations have been finalized for the sale of the western
distribution rights of Penton/KTM parts and motorcycles.
The rights have been sold to the manufacturer of Penton cycles,
KTM of Austria. The reason for this is KTM's desire to not be
dependent upon one individual for U.S. sales.
The effective date of transfer is July 1, 1975. It is
expected that KTM will announce a new distributor at that time.
I have been assured by KTM that all existing Penton dealers
will be absorbed by the new KTM distributor. We will furnish
the new distributor a complete dealer listing from which you
will be contacted within a very few days.
We are very thankful for the past considerations you have given
us. With your help the Penton name has been established across
the country as one of the finest dirt bikes available. I am
certain each of you will continue to work with the new distributor
to maintain what you have established.
We will continue to service you with the Hi Point line of
competition accessories. In fact, with no cycles to worry about,
our West Coast emphasis will be 100% on further development of
our accessory line and distribution methods.
Thank you again for your past business and friendship.
See you down the trail. JOHN PENTON

Edited by - Jeff Moore on 02/26/2020 9:46:55 PM
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Larry Perkins
Advanced Member

USA
2579 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  3:41:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
KTM west Penton central and east.

Larry P
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454MRW
Advanced Member

USA
2459 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  6:17:42 PM  Show Profile  Visit 454MRW's Homepage  Reply with Quote
What about the bikes that the Penton team riders raced in some of the qualifiers that were a slightly different shade of blue?

Michael R. Winter
I enjoy rebuilding and appreciating Pentons!
1974 250 HS Penton
1976 MC5 400
1978 KTM 78 GS6 250
L78-79 MX6 175-250 KTM's
1976-78 125-400 RM's
2007 CR125R Honda
1977 MC250 Maico
2017 KTM Freeride 250R
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erickz
Senior Member

USA
37 Posts

Posted - 02/24/2020 :  9:44:24 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
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454MRW
Advanced Member

USA
2459 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2020 :  11:51:17 AM  Show Profile  Visit 454MRW's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dale just posted a picture of one of those blue Penton team bikes at the 1973 Dalton isdt with a Sachs engine on the Facebook page.

Michael R. Winter
I enjoy rebuilding and appreciating Pentons!
1974 250 HS Penton
1976 MC5 400
1978 KTM 78 GS6 250
L78-79 MX6 175-250 KTM's
1976-78 125-400 RM's
2007 CR125R Honda
1977 MC250 Maico
2017 KTM Freeride 250R

Edited by - 454MRW on 02/26/2020 11:52:00 AM
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Mike Rosso
Advanced Member

USA
97 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2020 :  5:50:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Speaking of BLUE Penton/KTM's these photos are from the 1977 Czechoslovakia ISDT. You can see Jack, Frank Gallo and Dane to name a few on their blue bikes.













(That's me in the last photo 122 on a 175 Hercules on the start of the first day of the ISDT to #Ell with two blue KTM'S on both sides of me. Only 12 Americans finished and I was the only American to finish in the 175 class. The toughest ISDT/ISDE I ever rode and others can say that too. Tom Penton was top American and had an epic ride there. Before the event Tom was one of my heroes from when I got my first Penton 125 Six Days in 1970 as were John, Jack, Jeff but after that event and the ride Tom had at that event, well Tom became a Super Hero to me. One heck of a ride by Tom. Fortunately a little later Tom became a teammate on the factory Suzuki PE effort. What a rider!!!


Edited by - Mike Rosso on 03/22/2020 11:34:04 PM
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Jeff Moore
Senior Member

USA
40 Posts

Posted - 03/22/2020 :  8:38:34 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I was told that the RED MARZOCCHIS SHOCKS were used "ONLY" on street bikes and that Penton/KTMs never came with red Marczocchis. But in those photos there are a bunch of factory race bikes (KTMs) that were blue and had red Marzocchi shocks! They also have the resevours mounted both on the top and at the bottom... Wouldn't you want then on top to reduce the extra weight on the swing arm??

There are also both large and small gas tanks on the GS6s. I thought that all GS6s only came with the larger tank???

Experts??

Edited by - Jeff Moore on 03/22/2020 8:50:18 PM
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Timothy Walls
Junior Member

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 03/23/2020 :  08:32:45 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I always loved the headlight / number plates the Europeans had and we only got the Preston Petty ones !

Timothy Walls
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Mike Schulz
Advanced Member

USA
92 Posts

Posted - 03/26/2020 :  5:24:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Jeff,
Yes there were large (enduro) and small (motocross) tanks for the 1977 gs6. Both tanks have the wide tunnel for the wide high breather frame backbone on the 1977 gs6. The small motocross tank is much harder to find than the large enduro tank. I have both for my 1977 gs6 250 and they are orange and have the black and white stripes with world champion in the stripe and a Penton sticker in block letters above the stripe. I have seen the same with a KTM sticker instead of the Penton sticker above the black and white stripe.
Mike Schulz
Jake Fischer has some NOS Penton side panels listed on ebay now for $80 each. The ones in the picture are blue and yellow but he may have the orange and yellow ones you are looking for. Or you could buy the blue and yellow and repaint them like you want them.
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