Thursday, February 20, 2014

1967 Triumph 2000 Mark I

"Please! This Triumph is not a sports car. This is the new Triumph 2000, the family-size Triumph. But most 2000 owners insist it's a four-door, 5-passenger sports car. After all, they argue, only a sports car offers accurate rack-and-pinion steering. Four forward synchromesh gears. Bump-smoothing, 4-wheel independent suspension. Dependable power-assisted disc brakes. (They do have a point here. Because not even most higher-priced sedans offer such standard equipment.)"

Fast-forward through some more tech talk, this contemporary British ad finishes with a nice twist: "As a leading manufacturer of real sports cars, we find this misconception quite embarrassing. So, if you buy the family-size Triumph 2000 — please! Don't call it a sports car. No matter what it tells you."

Our pictured Triumph 2000 lives in Havana's Vedado district, near the famous "Acapulco" art dec√≥ fuel station and cinema. There are quite a few English cars around in Cuba, yet this one stands out, because you typically see only Russian cars of this vintage on the island. So, how did the Triumph arrive on Cuban shores? The owner tells us the story: "This car was brought to Cuba by a Sopranista from Bulgaria. I worked together with her for a long time. In 1982, I bought the Triumph from her when she got divorced and finally went back to her country."

Codenamed "Project Zebu", the development of the Triumph 2000 dates back to 1957. English Standard-Triumph, one of the various British car conglomerates, looked for a successor of their "Standard Vanguard" mid-size sedan. Amidst the development, Project Zebu came to an halt and then began again, now as a Triumph. Technically, the new project was quite ambitious, sporting all-independent suspension and a modern unibody construction. The production model bowed at the 1963 London Motor Show as the Triumph 2000, the name hinting at the displacement of its 6-cylinder engine. 

According to the owner, this engine had its advantages: "The Triumph had an inline 6-cylinder engine with two independent carburetors. When one carburetor failed, I could still reach home on three cylinders, which was perfect, as they broke quite often. These were small carburetors, similar to the ones of a motorcycle, and when they finally gave in, I replaced them with ones from a Russian "Jupiter" motorcycle. The only problem was that these were even smaller, and the car didn't go fast anymore. Spare parts, too, were impossible to find. Thus, finally, I installed a Lada engine, and now I'm happy with the performance."

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