THERE are days when one craves a large open sports car capable of something round the hundred mark, while other times and for other journeys, a small, neat and lively saloon seems more in keeping with one’s mood. The arrival of a Triumph Vitesse Six, last month, was particularly opportune, coinciding with a period of sunshine accompanied by an intensely cold wind, so that one could safely take refuge inside a closed vehicle without incurring the scorn of hardier friends.
The purposeful length of the bonnet and the clean lines of the rest of the body are reflected in the performance of the car, and a short time after taking over the car from the Triumph showrooms in Great Portland Street we were threading our way at good speed for the great open spaces at the end of the bye-pass roads.
A two-litre engine is used on the 193:-; six-cylinder cars, and this increase of sii,. makes it possible to use a top-gear ratio of 4.75, which gives an engine speed of 3,500 r.p.m. at 60 m.p.h., and consequently easy travel throughout the speed range. The normal cruising speed we found to be between 50 and 60 m.p.h., rising to anything up to the maximum of 73 on straight roads. The car is compact and behaved well on corners, and it was found that an average of 40 m.p.h. could be reeled off indefinitely on quite narrow roads without the driver being aware of making any special effort. The exhaust note was subdued, and though the car tested had accomplished a good mileage, there were no squeaks or rattles to mar
the enjoyment of an otherwise unobtrusive gait. As one would expect from the powerweight ratio, the car has a useful top gear performance and runs smoothly down to 15 m.p.h. with some use of the ignition
conveniently under the right hand. The gear-box facilitates rapid changing from one gear to the other, and though third is low enough for most main road hills, the lever can be snapped into top at full revs when maximum acceleration lever, but there is a tendency to pink when getting away from this speed, and best results are obtained by changing down is required. The gears are quiet, and the only thing we did not care for was the position of the reverse catch which rubbed
into third gear. The gear-change is a simple one, provided the clutch is fully depressed, and a remote-control lever brings the knob conveniently under the right hand. The gear-change is a simple one, provided the clutch is fully depressed, and a remote-control lever brings the knob
against the hand unless the palm is kept horizontally on the knob.
The speed range of the engine extends to over 5;000 r.p.m., at which the maximum speeds in the gears are 21, 35 and 54 m.p.h., but in practice we found that it became somewhat rough and noisy at over 4,400, and We did not exceed this figure unless a high spurt of speed was required when passing another vehicle. Top gear is high enough to prevent the car reaching the rough part of the range even when all out. With road conditions as they are to-day, brakes and steering mean more than ever to the driver of a fast car, and here the Triumph scored heavily from 40 m.p.h. the car was brought to rest in the astonishingly short distance of 48 feet. A little of this must be put down to the freshlylaid tarred chippings with which the road was surfaced, but in this and numerous
other cases we. satisfied ourselves that their power was indeed exceptional. Another point equally important is that they were progressive in action, with a light pedal pressure, and could be applied with full force without causing the car to swerve. The steering is pleasantly highgeared with a strong caster action, sufficient to spin the wheel back to the central position on releasing it after a corner The steering column is adjustable both for rake and for length, making it easy to obtain a perfect driving position. Both front wings are visible, and all the controls, including a powerful handbrake placed horizontally between the front seats, came to hand without stretching.
After satisfying ourselves that the Triumph was eminently suitable for all ordinary fast touring, we found ourselves compelled to drive the car really hard on a double journey totalling over a hundred miles, to keep an awkwardly timed appointment. It followed, therefore, that the accelerator pedal remained firmly down wherever road conditions permitted, but we were frankly astonished to find that over one section of quite difficult main road we had averaged nearly 50 m.p.h. The springing was firm without being harsh, and it was possible to corner with little regard to the fact that one was driving a stoutly-built saloon, but if continuous driving of this type were contemplated, the addition of friction shock-absobers would probably prove beneficial. Underslinging the chassis makes it possible to have a low floor line without complications, and access to the interior of the body is excellent by reason of the four wide doors. The seats are upholstered in soft leather over Dunlopillo cellular rubber, and everyone who rode in the car commented favourably on their softness and freedom from sway. The “IR 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 SECONDS 90 80 70 GO x. 50
a. z40 30 20 IC
front seats, which slide afford good support to back and thighs, though the back of the driving seat was raked back not quite as upright as one would like. The back was roomy, with a folding centre armrest, and the front seat cushions are clear of the floor, giving ample leg room without recourse to floor wells.
high revs ; the sparking plugs are accessible on the top of the cylinder head. A large exterior oil-filter is a welcome feature, and oil is fed by pressure to the big-ends camshaft and rockers. The four-speed gear-box is mounted in unit with the engine, the drive being taken through a single-pate clutch, while a
The instrument board is fully equipped and the under-bonnet tool-boxes are convenient and spacious. With the Windows down, a matter of seconds with the quick-winding handles, the sliding roof open and the scuttle ventilators in use, the Gloria saloon should be as airy in summer as it is warm in the icy blasts of spring, while the locker at the back provides luggage accommodation for an extended tour. The treatment of the rear part of the body is particularly successful, all springs and other chassis excrescences being concealed by the rear panelling, with a metal cover over the spare wheel. D.W.S. permanent jacks are fitted, and changing the rear wheels presents no difficulties. As has been said, the new Triumph six-cylinder engine now has a capacity of two litres, but follows the previous design in having overhead inlet valves and side exhaust valves. A balanced four-bearing crank-shaft is used, with a torsion damper at the front end, and the engine is rubbermounted at five points. Two Solex horizontal carburettors are fitted, with an S.U. petrol pump feeding from a 12i gallon rear tank. Special coil equipment is used to ensure maximum efficiency at
free wheel is incorporated behind the gear-box. The final drive is through an open propeller shaft with needle-bearing Hardy Spicer couplings, thence to a spiral bevel back axle.
The chassis is of the usual channel section, with cross-members of similar type, and a cruciform member behind the gear-box. At the rear it is splayed out and passes under the back axle. Halfelliptic springs are used, and hydraulic shock-absorbers, those at the rear being mounted transversely. The efficient Lockhead hydraulic brakes operate in 12-inch ribbed drums. The electrical system follows orthodox lines, with the two six-volt batteries mounted on either side of the propeller shaft, and a battery master-switch as a useful safety measure.
The Triumph Vitesse Six strikes one as being a solid well-built car of many uses, equally suitable for fast cross-country journeys and week-day business calls. As a closed car it gives a high standard of comfort, while the open version which weighs 2 cwt. less and which is available at the same price, should commend itself still more strongly to the sporting enthusiast.
Miscellany, January 2003
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