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.
“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.
“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”.
“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.
“….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.
“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.
“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.)