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The Carchive: The Triumph 2000 /2500

Chris Haining September 2, 2016 Cars You Should Know, The Carchive 14 Comments

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It’s friday night where I am, and I’m putting this together while sipping Glenlivet and watching ancient episodes of NCIS from a DVD procured extremely inexpensively from Amazon. However, both can wait. I’m going to frantically pump up the tyres on the squeaky BMX of discovery, pedal on over to that old dirt track of time and see if I can’t find a little something in the undergrowth of automotive history. Welcome back to The Carchive.

Last week we had a little look at what Citroen could sell a family of air-cooled car fanatics in the early ’70s. Today we’re not moving far in time, but we’re popping across the channel, heading up the M2o from Dover, looping around London on the A604 and heading straight up the M40, next stop Coventry to have a look at Triumph’s big saloon for the ’70s.

All images can be totally made bigger with a single click.

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“The 2500 was introduced to the Triumph six-cylinder luxury range to fill the power gap between the 2000 and 2500 P.I. models”

Ah, the Triumph 2000. Introduced in 1963 it corresponded directly with the Rover P6 with which it would soon find itself sharing showroom space. You see, Standard Triumph was absorbed by Leyland Motors in 1961, and in 1966 became bedfellows with Rover when the Leyland group (by now named British Motor Holdings) swallowed the former up, prior to merging with British Motor Corporation and then renaming itself British Leyland Motor Corporation, or British Leyland for short. It was all rather complicated but I wasn’t born until 1981 so I wasn’t around for any of the excitement. I can only look back at it in wonderment. Where was I? Oh yes.

This 1975 brochure comes towards the very end of the Triumph 2000s life, the Revolutionary (looking) Rover SD1 was just around the corner.

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“As a performer the 2500TC is outstanding, the engine is a more powerful version of the two-litre, six-cylinder unit which has gained universal praise for its smoothness and reliability as the power unit in the Triumph 2000”.

Concise, no. Truthful, yes. The 2500TC had a more powerful and bigger version of that 2000cc engine, stroked markedly from its previous almost square bore and stroke particulars. 106hp wasn’t an enormous amount, but was a decent number for a big saloon car in the ’70s.

Performance figures quoted include a 105mph top end, which is helpfully described as “depending on road conditions”.

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“Enter the 2500TC’s passenger compartment and you will find Triumph comfort and luxury in abundance”.

They should have stopped talking right there and then, but they couldn’t stop themselves.

“There is a straight choice of furnishings – perforated expanded vinyl leathercloth or corded brushed nylon seat facings”

Expanded vinyl and nylon just doesn’t quite sound as enticing as it looks in the brochure, and it does look terribly inviting, it has to be said. That’s a dashboard I could really enjoy sitting behind.

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“….the “fasten belts” warning light. This operates when the ignition is switched on and the driver’s seatbelt is not being worn. A switch under the front passenger seat senses when that seat is occupied and, again, the warning light will operate when the passenger’s belt is not in use”

Until I read this brochure I had no idea that this was a Triumph feature – it seems rather sophisticated for a British car of ’60s derivation, and something of a fore-runner to the seat occupancy sensors of today’s airbag systems.

That dashboard, doe. And check out the gearknob-mounted switch for the optional Laycock overdrive.

 

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“Smoothness, comfort and excellent road manners have always been the outstanding characteristics of the Triumph 2000”

I really, really dig that front end treatment. It appeared during the Michelotti-penned redesign of the original Michelotti-penned ’63 styling, and also graced the nose of the Stag. It was about as strong a corporate end treatment as you could have imagined – at least as distinctive as BMW were offering at the time. And this was an era before corporate identity was as much of a thing as it is today.

It’s a shame that no real high-power version of the 2000 was ever marketed beyond the 2500P.I. We have to make do with our own modifications, such as this rather sexy piece of kit, to occupy that niche. The Stag engine was never offered either, though I assume it would have dropped straight in. OK, it would have overheated almost immediately, but it would have made an excellent noise for a while beforehand.

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“When it comes to estate cars, Triumph know most of the answers to your business/family transport problems”

Yes, yes they did. The 2500S estate must be in the running for the title of horniest-looking estate car of all time and it seems strange that both the big Triumph and the Rover P6 were available as estate cars (though neither were actually wholly assembled in-house, the Triumph was a Carbodies product and the Rover converted variously by FLM Panelcraft under supervision of Crayford), while the SD1 never was which meant that middle-class British antique dealers ended up taking their trade to Volvo, for the most part.

Though I’m all too aware that Estate SD1s do exist, including a pair of fairly promising but ultimately unadopted protoypes, as well as freakish hack jobs using, ironically, Volvo tailgates.

(All images are of original manufacturer publicity material, photographed by me. Copyright remains property, I assume of BMW who are scheduled to reintroduce a British-built range of Triumph saloon cars any day now.)

  • mseoul

    Lovely cars. Always wanted one.

  • Alcology

    Are you a fan of The Tick? ’cause you’re making gravy without the lumps!

  • Monkey10is

    I don’t remember ever having seen the estate version before; that really does look great.
    (I also like the brochure playing up the greats of the British industrial revolution; Ironbridge Gorge and IKB’s SS Great Britain.)

  • Rover 1

    The ultimate Zebu variants were without doubt the later Ferguson Formula AWD variants of which there are a few of the prototypes left. Some, (at least one of each, a sedan and a wagon), also had Stag V8s.This Estate came up for sale in Switzerland a few years ago. No Stag V8 but the AWD with the 2.5 P.I. six on this formerly Bern registered Estate, originally commissioned for a local doctor,( along with a matching AWD 2.5 P.I.sedan). The bonnet/hood bulge is because the engine is mounted higher to fit the AWD hardware. http://bringatrailer.com/2015/06/10/ferguson-4×4-one-off-1972-triumph-2500-pi-mk-ii-estate/ and also http://www.pistonheads.com/gassing/topic.asp?t=718685

    http://13252-presscdn-0-94.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/1972-Triumph-2500-PI-Mk-II-Estate-For-Sale-Front-620×435.jpg

    As it was when delivered new in Switzerland.
    http://i41.photobucket.com/albums/e293/scot355/Triumph202_520Pi20Estate204x420FF.jpg

    Another Estate, RWD with Stag V8, I’m not sure if it’s one of the prototypes,or one made up, it’s now restored.
    http://jjpautophoto.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/JJP_6106.jpg

    http://jjpautophoto.co.uk/2015/10/this-stag-estate-is-now-weekend-runner/

    And another one. http://bringatrailer.com/2013/08/22/1-of-20-1970-triumph-stag-estate/
    http://13252-presscdn-0-94.pagely.netdna-cdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/TRIUMPH_STAG_ESTATE_1377019917.jpg

  • Van_Sarockin

    Very nice, and the wagon is particularly handsome. The Michelotti styling really works.

    Volvos could also be had with a shift mounted electric overdrive.

    • Rover 1

      Indeed, the same overdrive from the same manufacturer.

      • Van_Sarockin

        What are the odds that that gearknob switch is a common part to them?

        • Rover 1

          I’d say pretty high given the commonality of sundry parts like brake pads, discs and clutches.

  • Adrian S

    My grandfather had a 2000 from new for about 10 years (traded for “Rover” 216). Quite “heavy” to drive compared with Japanese cars of the time, but cruised nicely once out of the city. Classy interior despite all the vinyl, it seemed well put together (assembled in Nelson, NZ), and it was reliable. Having seen one smashed into a power pole, they appeared quite tough too. While in Auckland recently I had the chance to look at a fairly tidy one. They still look great.

    • Rover 1

      Not as tough as the Rover P6 opposition though. If the Triumphs are jacked up to change a tyre, the doors can’t be opened, (or if open, closed).
      It was really only the later ones that had power steering, the best ones are the last, the 2500S which got the 14″ Stag wheels and a front anti roll bar as well as PS.

      • Rafael Moslin

        Hmm, are you really sure about that because I’ve never had a problem opening the doors on my 1973 Triumph 2000 when it was jacked up?

        • Rover 1

          Try opening all the doors and jacking it up on one corner at the jacking point, then while still jacked up,try to close them. 🙂

  • NapoleonSolo

    Vinyl upholstery in British cars of this vintage get an undeserved bad rap. Even these early vinyl upholstery materials could be manufactured to closely simulate leather and yet be maintenance free and much more durable. The Federal version of the Rover 3500S (circa 1969) sold in the USA and Canada was never sold with a leather interior, and yet sellers and owners consistently mistake the vinyl upholstery for leather. It was very durable and often looks great after half a century of use. The true leather the factory installed in many 2000 and 2000TC saloons was of good quality, but it required proper maintenance. You can find cars with the original leather in lovely supple condition if it has been properly cleaned and fed over the years, but more often than not it is dried out and worn. If you use the wrong solution to clean and maintain the leather, you may end up one 2000 saloon I owned. The leather was intact, but all of the cotton thread used to stitch it together had completely disappeared.

    • Rover 1

      I had the same thing with one of my 2000TCs. Re stitching the existing leather wasn’t very expensive though.