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The Automotive Chronicles

Monthly newsletter published by McLellan's Automotive History. Dedicated to literature collectors, restorers, museums, publishers, manufacturers and investors who collect and preserve automotive literature
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October 2007 Issue
 
ARTICLE
 
Triumph
By Robert McLellan
 

Triumph was introduced to America as an affordable British sports car, along with the MG in the 1950s. They were all the rage with first time sports car enthusiasts and new magazines like "Road & Track" and "Sports Car Illustrated" ("Car & Driver") applauded them as the fundamental building blocks of the new hobby.

Triumph's virtues were more than inexpensive fun around town. It delivered the dream of becoming a race car driver. You simply joined the Sports Car Club of America and raced on one of the many abandoned World War II airbases throughout the U. S. No trailer was needed. You drove to the track, had a thrilling day, collected your trophy and drove home.

The beauty of owning a Triumph with its' excellent handling and "conservative" horsepower was that the driver quickly learned to become completely in control of the car's performance on winding roads. Drifting corners comes with ease and going through the gears is great fun. Mistakes will be few and easily corrected. Little danger exists, because speeds are not excessive. It is not like driving a 500 h.p. Corvette or Viper where you hang on to the steering wheel for dear life, throttle to the floor and scenery a blur. Such a roller coaster ride may be fun for a brief time, but in a Triumph you are relaxed, confident and enjoying the car and the drive for as long as you want. No wonder those cars were so loved.

 
 

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Many a sports car enthusiast got married and had children, only to see their Triumph sold or relegated to the back of the garage. Triumph was well aware that their devoted buyers had changing circumstances and they wisely provided them with family transportation. From two-door convertibles to four-door saloons, they managed to retain a sporty feel and image and many of these cars are now revered as much as their sports cars.

 

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In the early 1970s, as the new sports car seemed to lose their appeal due to government regulations, I purchased a late 1960s Triumph Spitfire convertible that was in such good condition and well priced that I could not pass it up. Although I sold it for a nice price in less than a year, I enjoyed it on the local back roads. It did have one strange quirk -- going through fast, sharp corners it had a habit of lifting it's "hind leg" like a dog marking its' territory. But it ran like a champ and lived up to its' "fun" reputation.

 
 
The Automotive Chronicles, October 2007
 
 
 
 
 
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