Triumph Roadster
Home Up Feedback Contents Search



The Triumph Motor Company

In 1930 the company changed its name to the Triumph Motor Company. It was clear to Holbrook that there was no future in pursuing the mass manufacturers and so decided to take the company upmarket with the Southern Cross and Gloria ranges. At first these used engines made by Triumph but designed by Coventry Climax but from 1937 they started to make them to their own designs by Donald Healey who had become the company’s Experimental Manager in 1934.

The company hit financial problems however and in 1936 the Triumph bicycle and motorcycle businesses were sold, the latter to Jack Sangster of Ariel to become Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd.. Healey purchased an Alfa 2.3 and developed an ambitious new car with an Alfa inspired Straight-8 engine called the Triumph Dolomite.

In July 1939, the Triumph Motor Company went into receivership and the factory, equipment and goodwill were offered for sale. T.W. Ward purchased the company and placed Healey in charge as general manager, but the effects of World War II again stopped the production of cars and the Priory Street works was completely destroyed by bombing in 1940.


Standard Triumph

After the war, in 1945 what was left of the Triumph Motor Company and the Triumph brand name was bought by Standard Motor Company and a subsidiary "Triumph Motor Company (1945) Limited" was formed with production transferred to Standard's factory. The pre-war models were not revived and in 1946 a new range of Triumphs starting with the 1800 was announced. Because of steel shortages these were bodied in aluminium which was plentiful because of its use in aircraft production.

Triumph Motor Company Information from Answers.com

 The 1946 Triumph Roadster was an oddity in many respects. Built from Birmabright- an aircraft type aluminium alloy commonly used in aircraft construction during the war- on an ash frame, and mounted on a tubular steel ladder frame chassis, it boasted a "dickey seat" arrangement in the boot.
The car was designed in the closing days of World War II, shortly before Triumph was bought by the Standard Motor Company. The Managing Director, Sir John Black, wanted a sports car to take on Jaguar who had used Standard engines in the pre-war period. Frank Callaby was selected to style the new car and after getting Black's approval, he and Arthur Ballard produced working drawings. The design process for the bodywork was a bit weird, in that Callaby was responsible for the front end design,  and Ballard for the rear. Mechanical design was by Ray Turner. After the war steel shortages made life very difficult for all engineering companies.
   Strangely, aluminium alloys were relatively easily available. Furthermore, Standard and Triumph had been accustomed during the war years to fabrication in aluminium. And so the body of the Triumph Roadster was built from aluminium using rubber press tools that had been used making parts for the largely wooden bodied Mosquito bomber built by Standard during the war. The chassis was a welded fabrication from steel tube. The engine was based on a 1.5 Litre, four cylinder Standard design which had been supplied to Jaguar before the war, but stretched to 1800cc capacity. A four speed gearbox with synchromesh on the top three ratios was used.
 The tubular steel chassis featured transverse leaf sprung independent suspension at the front and a live axle with half elliptic springs at the rear. The rear track was considerably narrower than the front. Brakes were hydraulic, twin leading shoe, with a tiny hydraulic cylinder capacity (shoes were in permanent light contact with the brake drums, and brake piston movement was minimal). The body design was a throw-back to pre war times. Large individual chrome headlamps and a chromed feature radiator complemented large swept wings (which incidentally were steel pressings).  
  Passenger accommodation was on a bench seat that  seated three, with a column mounted gear change with a very finicky disposition.. Additional room for two was provided at the rear in a pair of Dickey Seats with its own folding windscreen. The dickey seat passengers were not protected by the hood from the elements. Entry and exit to the Dickey seat was strictly for the nimble and small of stature, and a step was provided on the rear bumper. With passengers occupying the dickey seats, boot luggage capacity was next to zero.