19 May 2013

Triumph - German First & Last

Held at the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon, STAR90 - the Standard Triumph Anniversary Rally - celebrated 90 years of Triumph and 110 years of Standard, and attracted hundreds of cars of both marques.

Reginald Walter Maudsley founded the Standard Motor Company in 1903, building the single cylinder Motor Victoria. Triumph was founded earlier, in 1887, by German Siegfried Bettmann, manufacturing bicycles, then motorbikes from 1902, but didn't produce its first car, the 10/20, until 1923. The Triumph Super Seven (above), was built between 1927 and 1934.

The Dolomite appeared in 1934, Triumph having decided to cease making small cars and concentrate instead on the luxury market. All 1930s Dolomites, other than the Straight 8, feature Walter Belgrove's distinctive waterfall grille.

Triumph remained independent until 1939, when Standard bought it out of receivership. The company addressed itself anew to the market for small cars, building between 1949 and 1953 the Triumph Mayflower (above), which shares some design cues with the larger contemporaneous 'razor edge' Triumphs such as the Renown.

In 1953 Standard introduced the Eight, a four-door saloon with a new 803cc 'small car' overhead valve engine. The following year saw the launch of the Ten, the SC engine increased to 1,147cc. This engine, increased next to 1,296cc and finally to 1,493cc, was built right up until 1980.

1953 also saw the introduction of the first Triumph TR, Standard having determined to compete in the market for sports cars. The model evolved from TR2 through to TR6, with a change to a six cylinder made in 1967. The all-new TR7 was introduced in 1974, and survived until 1981. Its last incarnation was known as a TR8 - a TR7 with a Rover V8 engine (above).

By the late 1950s, Triumph had greater brand greater recognition than Standard. What had been the Standard Vanguard's segment of the market was met by the Triumph 2000 (above), designed by Michelotti and introduced in 1963. This was produced through to 1977, alongside more powerful versions, the Triumph 2500 and Triumph 2.5 PI (petrol injection).

Michelotti also designed the Triumph Stag, revising a pre-production Triumph 2000 to form a four-seat convertible that was available between 1970 and 1978. The Stag (above) was intended to compete with the Mercedes SLs, and despite its temperamental 3.5 V8 power plant was very successful in the States. 

Designed as successor to the Triumph Herald and Triumph 1300, the new Dolomite was introduced in 1972, one later version being the 1500 SE (above), which used the final incarnation of the SC engine that had started life in 1953. The final Triumph was the Acclaim, essentially a Honda, built until 1984. The Triumph brand is currently owned by BMW.

No comments: