Triumph cars & Motorcycles

Triumph car
Triumph GT6 car

The Triumph Motor Company is a defunct motor vehicle manufacturer of the United Kingdom. It can trace its history back to 1885 and the first car named Triumph – the Triumph 10/20 1393 cc inline 4 – was produced between 1923 and 1925. The last Triumph car model, the Triumph Acclaim, was released in 1981 and was the result of a joint venture with Honda. The Triumph trademark is currently owned by BMW.

Triumph cycles and motorcycles

In 1885, Siegfried Bettmann and Moritz (Maurice) Schulte created a company named Bettmann & Co. They started out by selling bicycles in London, and by 1889 they were making their own machines in Coventry, UK. In 1897, the name was changed to the Triumph Cycle Company, and in 1902 it branched out to encompass motorcycles as well. The Triumph motorcycles were produced in Munch Park Street. By 1918, they were the biggest motor cycle making in the United Kingdom.

Triumph cars – the early days
During the 1920s, Triumph started making cars as well. Bettman acquired assets and premises in Clay Lane from the Dawson Car Company and began production of a 1.4 litre model. The car was designed by Lea-Francis and was given the name Triumph 10/20. In 1927, Triumph introduced the Triumph Super 7 car which became an instant success. 

In 1930, the Triumph Cycle Company became the Triumph Motor Company and made an effort to switch from mass produced cars to more upmarket models, such as Southern Cross and Gloria. In 1936, the cycle and motorcycle business was sold after a period of financial troubles. The motorcycle business was purchased by Jack Sangster of Ariel and the name was changed to Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd.

The next car to be produced by the Triumph Motor Company was the the Triumph Dolomite, an Alfa inspired model with a Straight-8 engine. In July 1939, further financial problems cause the company to go into receivership and factory, equipment and goodwill were offered for sale. T.W. Ward bough the company, but production of cars was soon stopped by World War II and facilities in Priority Street was completely destroyed by the 1940s bombing.

The Triumph Motor Company was however rescued after the war when it was purchased by the Standard Motor Company. They created a subsidiary named "Triumph Motor Company (1945) Limited" and transferred production to the Standard's factory. During the 1950s, Standard Motor Company decided to use the Standard name on saloons and the Triumph name on sports cars. Triumph continued to produce cars throughout the 1960s, 70s and early 80s until the Triumph Acclaim model was replaced by Rover 200 in 1984.

Triumph cars – the end

The final Triumph model was the abovementioned Triumph Acclaim. The Triumph name disappeared in 1984 when the Triumph Acclaim car was replaced by the Rover 200, which in turn was a rebadged variant of the Honda Civic/Ballade. When BMW purchased the Rover Group in 1994, they acquired the rights to the trademark Triumph. When BMW later sold Rover to the Phoenix Consortium, they insisted on keeping the Triumph brand.



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