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Triumphant Triumphs

Published in blog.hemmings.com

1968 Triumph TR250. Photo by Terry Shea; brochure scans from author’s collection.

More than just sports cars, Standard-Triumph was one of the most prolific car manufacturers England has ever had. From 1923 to 1984, they produced automobiles in every conceivable body style and market class in price ranges that the average buyer could afford. Besides their well-known TRs and Spitfires, the cars of the post-WWII-era included the 10 (which was a rebadged Standard Ten), the Pennant, 1300/1300TC, 2000, 2.5PI, 2500, the front-wheel-drive 1500, 1500TC, Dolomite, Stag, Toledo, and the Honda-badged Acclaim.

What was even more amazing from this somewhat small manufacturer were their many innovations. It was Triumph — not Porsche — who created the “targa” top, and was the first auto manufacturer to equip a mass-produced sports car with front disc brakes. Their TR4 was the first European car to have face-level ventilation, and when they introduced the 1973 Dolomite Sprint, Triumph became the first car manufacturer to mass-produce a four-valve engine. Oh, and name another car company that designed and manufactured their own carburetor? Triumph did; it was the Zenith-Stromberg. Few manufacturers were as innovative as Triumph.

Here is a listing of the Triumph models produced after the War, and judging by their production numbers, it still boggles the mind as to how such a successful car company could go out of business.

 

Triumph Renown

The Renown

With its sharply creased body lines, the Renown saloon was Triumph’s first new car after World War II ended. Produced from 1949-’52, it was considered by many to be the working man’s Rolls-Royce. When production ended after four years, 6,501 had been built.

 

 Triumph 1800 Roadster

1800 Roadster

With its signature Dickey (rumble) seat in the rear that accommodate two adults, several 1800 Roadsters made their way to U.S. In production from 1946-’48, it was powered by an 1,800cc four-cylinder engine that made 63 horsepower. Only 2,501 Roadsters were produced.

 

Triumph 1800 Saloon

1800 Saloon

Sporting the same engine and drivetrain as the Roadster, the four-door Saloon remained in production one year longer. By the time its production ended in 1949, 4,000 were made.

 

 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster

1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster. Hemmings file photo.

2000 Roadster

A more powerful Roadster version called the 2000 had a larger 2,088cc engine that put out 68 horsepower. Built during the 1946-’49 period, by the time its production came to an end, 2,000 had been made.

 

 Triumph Mayflower

Mayflower

Razor-edge styling in a very small package made the Mayflower a fairly popular car for its time. Powered by a 1,247cc engine putting out just 38 horsepower, a grand total of 34,990 were built, plus 10 drophead coupes.

 

 Triumph TR2

TR2

This is the car that made Triumph famous in the States and began their run of their highly popular TR-line of sports cars. Powered by a 1,991cc four-cylinder engine featuring interchangeable wet liners, from 1953 to ’55 a total of 8,628 had been produced.

 

 1957 Triumph TR3

1957 Triumph TR3. Photo by Tom DeMauro.

TR3

Essentially the same as the TR2 but sporting a grille located at the leading edge of its front cowl, and equipped with 11-inch front disc brakes, during it short three-year production run from 1955 to ’57 some 13,377 were built.

 

 Triumph TR3A

TR3A

Modernized with a wide-mouth grille and several other upgrades including an optional 2,138cc engine, all was still the same below its outer body, yet the TR series was gaining in popularity; during its 1957-’61 production run 58,236 were built – this includes the 325 or so coachbuilt Italia models by Carrozzeria Vignale.

Another 3,331 were built for the 1962 model year due to demand in the U.S. even after the more modern TR4 was introduced; it’s unofficially known as the TR3B.

 

 Triumph TR4

TR4

With its attractive Italian-designed body, the TR4 was a big hit with sports car buyers who preferred the comforts of roll-up windows and an effective heating/ventilation system. During its 1961-’65 production run, 40,253 were produced.

 

 

TR4A

For the 1965-’67 years, the two most prominent upgrades were a woodgrain instrument panel and independent rear suspension (although U.S. buyers were able to specify a solid-rear axle instead). During its three-year production run a total of 28,465 TR4As were built.

 

 Triumph TR5

TR5

The 1968 TR5 was essentially a TR4A fitted with a straight-six engine, but the “5” designation means it was a European-market model that was equipped with Lucas mechanical fuel-injection, thus it made 150 horsepower vs the TR250’s 104hp.

During its sole year of manufacturer, only 2,947 were produced.

 

 Triumph TR250

TR250

Identical to the TR5 but fitted with twin Stromberg carburetors, the TR250 was also a one-year-only model. It was an interim model that combined the forthcoming TR6 six-cylinder engine with the older TR4A body. A total of 8,484 were made during its 1968 production run.

 

 Triumph TR6

TR6

Immensely popular thanks to its more modern and ruggedly handsome good looks, the restyled body by Germany’s Karmann coachworks remained in production from 1969 through 1976. Like the TR5, all non-U.S. market TR6s were fuel injected instead of having twin-carbs. A grand total of 94,619 were built.

 

 

Triumph TR7

TR7

In their TR line, this was Triumph’s best-selling sports car. Available in either hardtop or convertible, during its 1975-’81 production run a total of 112,368 were built. Powered by a 2-liter overhead-cam four-cylinder engine, U.S. versions had 92hp with non-U.S. cars getting 105hp.

 

Triumph TR8

TR8

Marketed only in the U.S., during its short two-year production run – 1980-’81, just 2,722 TR8s were produced. Essentially a TR7 with a 3,528cc V-8 it had 133 horsepower, although California-spec TR8s and all 1981 models had Lucas fuel injection that increased power to 137hp. Only a handful were coupes.

 

 Triumph Spitfire

Spitfire

With 314,332 examples built during its 19-year production run, the Michelotti-designed Spitfire is considered by many to be one of the prettiest sports cars ever created. There were two distinct body styles: the 1962-’70 roundtail MKI/II/III models and the sleeker looking MKIV and 1500 models of the 1971-’80 era.

 

 Triumph GT6

GT6

Utilizing the same body structure, chassis and suspension as the Spitfire, the GT6 features a fastback roofline with an opening tailgate and a more powerful 2-liter six-cylinder engine, thus making it a fun-to-drive pint-size grand tourer. During its 1967-’73 production run, a total of 40,926 were built.

 

 Triumph Herald

Herald  

With 410,514 examples built during its 1959 to 1971 production run, the Herald was Triumph’s most popular model (this was the car that the Spitfire was based on). It was offered in various body styles, including saloon, convertible, panel and estate wagons. All were powered by small four-cylinder engines and featured independent rear suspension.

 

 Triumph Vitesse

Vitesse

Sporting the same body as the Herald but with four headlamps instead of two, the Vitesse was the “hot rod” version thanks to its six-cylinder engine. Built in two body styles – saloon and convertible – its production run lasted from 1962 to 1971, with a grand total of 51,212 examples having been built.

 

 Triumph Stag

Stag

The upmarket Stag features a Michelotti-designed body with an integrated roll bar, seats four passengers, and is powered by Triumph’s own single-overhead-cam 3-liter V-8. Offered from 1970 to ’77, it was last sold in the U.S. in 1973. Overall production totaled 25,877 examples.

 

 Triumph Dolomite

Dolomite

This was Triumph’s version of BMW’s 2002, but in four-door form. Although never imported to the U.S., it was built from 1972-’80. As designated by its engine size, there was the 1300, 1500 or 1850 models. A high-performance version called the Sprint had a 127hp 16-valve engine. A total of 177,217 Dolomites were built.

 

 Triumph TR10

10

Unofficially known as the TR10, this tiny sedan was little more than a rebadged Standard Ten. Sold in limited numbers in the U.S. during 1957-’60, it was available as either a four-door saloon or a wagon. Power was provided by a small 948cc four-cylinder engine. A grand total of 17,258 were built. There was also a non-U.S. version called Pennant, of which only 335 were built.

 

Triumph 1300

1300/1300TC/1500

This was Triumph’s line of small four-door sedans, all of which were front-wheel drive. With their Michelotti-designed bodies they were quite stylish, and were powered by either a 1,296cc or 1,493cc four-cylinder engine. The 1300s were built from 1965-’70 with 148,350 examples produced; the 1500 was made 1970-’73 with 66,353 cars built.

 

Triumph 1500TC

1500 TC

This Michelotti-styled rear-wheel-drive four-door saloon was the forerunner to the Dolomite, with power provided by the same 1,493cc four-cylinder that was in the Spitfire 1500. From 1973 to 1976, a total of 25,549 were produced.

 

 

 

 Triumph 2000

2000/2.5PI/2500

From 1963 to 1977 Triumph’s mid-size sedan – and estate wagon – when through various upgrades, mainly due to engine changes. The 2000 had a 1,998cc straight-six (same as the GT6 engine), while the later 2.5 series had the 2,498cc six-cylinder (same as the TR6 engine).  They were assembled in England, Australia and South Africa, with production totaling 324,652 examples.

 

 Triumph Toledo

Toledo

Available only in Europe, the compact Toledo was an entry-level saloon, in either two- or four-door style. With its signature square headlamps, there were two versions, the 1300 (1,296cc) and the 1500 (1,493 cc). Built from 1970 to 1976, a total of 119,182 examples were produced.

 

 Triumph Acclaim

Acclaim

The last new “Triumph” was actually a rebadged Honda Ballard four-door sedan, which was little more than a better appointed Civic. It’s considered the first Japanese car assembled in Europe. Powered by a 1,335cc engine, it totaled 133,626 examples during its 1981-’84 production run.