A Six-Cylinder, Two-Carburetter, All-Independently-Sprung Family Saloon of Luxury Demeanour, Selling for Under £1,100
One of the more interesting aspects of the last Motor Show was the introduction of new 2-litre saloon cars by Triumph and Rover. Because both had new engines of approximately the same capacity, were announced about the same time, and were in roughly the same price group, there was keen speculation as to which was the better car.
Having at last driven the Triumph 2000, and having been treated generously by Rover much earlier in the year in respect of facilities for getting to know their new 2-litre, I would say that the cars are in rather different classes. The Rover is a technically-advanced o.h.c. 4-cylinder luxury car, costing nearly £200 more than the Triumph, and it is primarily a 4-seater. Judging by the numbers on the road to date, it is being built in relatively small numbers. It will no doubt benefit from the 2-carburetter rally engine, or even a 6-cylinder power unit.
The Triumph is a 6-cylinder, luxuriously equipped and styled family-type 5-seater saloon, likely to appeal to ordinary rather than discerning motorists. It already has twin carburetters, and is coming on the road in appreciable numbers.
Ending this preliminary comparison and concentrating on the Triumph 2000, the pleasing factor which I discovered early in this renewed acquaintance is that subtle improvements have been made since I tried an early production model last October – which doesn’t imply that there is no room for further improvement!
Outwardly, I think the Michelotti-designed body of the Triumph, with dual headlamps in recesses each side of a low nose, gets over, even if there is little ingenuity about this frontal styling. If anything, the car looks a trifle too long. In fact, the tail is cut off and the deep but short boot has no overhang. The bonnet air-intake is a dummy.
Within, the decor may well appeal to the masses but it is fussy, even vulgar, with its combination of polished wood facia and fillets, two shades of upholstery forming the under-part of the facia, non-dazzle facia-sill, and deeply-recessed instruments surrounded by cheap corrugated plated sheeting. There is no gainsaying the fact that the interior of the Triumph 2000 is individual, however, and the Mercedes idea of thin strips of wood on the facia instead of a complete panel of wood is followed and is effective albeit the wood is highly polished in the English car, discreedy dull in the one from Stuttgart. The remarks made when I first commented on the Triumph in MOTOR SPORT last November do not need much qualification, except to say that the poor throttle and clutch action of the early cars has been almost eradicated, although all the pedals are too high and the accelerator action, like the clutch, too heavy. The gear-change, although the lever, is nicely placed, is stiff and definitely notchy – not a very nice gearbox. The brakes are very “sudden” on first acquaintance, but in reality are sensitive and powerful, a good Lockheed combination of discs and drums, tendered very light to apply by the vacuum-servo.
This is essentially a 5-seater car, because while three can sit together in the back when the arm-rest is up (and strap themselves in itf they wish), the separate front seats are divided by the width of the transmission tunnel, although this drops to a shallow level at this point. The well-placed hand-brake is also between the seats.
It is commendable that this comparatively inexpensive car is so fully equipped and its controls, etc., so well thought out. Thus the front seats have adjustable squat and are moderately comfortable, the cushions, however, are too small and the p.v.c. upholstery unpleasantly sticky (leather is available as an extra). The doors have extremely good (sill-internal) locks and shut easily but “tinnily.” The boot is unexpectedly short and the vertical spare wheel in a dust-proof covering takes up much space, but to make up for this the well is very deep.
The engine is willing and flexible but was, I thought, geared too low, inasmuch as overdrive, which operates in 3rd and top, can be used almost continuously, instead of being a “motorway” gear. It is selected by a r.h. stalk and a rather heavier l.h. stalk works the turn-indicators, which have repeaters on the door sills. A very good item is the depressable knob of this l.h. stalk which gives very convenient finger-tip full-beam lamps’ flashing.
The facia arrangements are practical, but fussy. The two dials are not only deeply recessed to obviate dazzle (screen reflection of warning lights, etc., is still-evident, however) but the faces are themselves recessed. Nevertheless, they remain easy to read if poorly calibrated. The l.h. dial indicates water temperature, dynamo charge and fuel contents, and is matched by a 110-m.p.h. Smiths speedometer, with total and trip-with-decimal odometers and tiny k.p.h. markings. The trip was impossible to read within 100 miles as the leading digit showed two figures at once, but may have been brutally reset at some time, as the speedometer glass bore instructions about this. The speedometer was consistently a mere 1/2-m.p.h. “fast.”
Between the dials four grouped, coloured warning lights deal with choke out, low oil pressure, low petrol level and low dynamo charge. The fuel light came on when fuel for 65 miles remained, so Triumph 2000 owners should never be stranded from that cause! Above the instrument nacelle are three more warning lights, for l.h. and r.h. turn indicators and full lamps’ beam, a good place for them, although it is unfortunate that they resemble rather tawdry stuck-on goodies.
Big push-buttons look after headlamps and sidelamps on the left, wipers and washers on the right of the nacelle. As these pairs of buttons are at different angles and the entire panel curves away and tapers on the passenger’s side, the fussy aspect is thereby emphasised. One appreciates, however, that this is just the sort of individual treatment that may well appeal to the public for which this 6-cylinder Triumph is intended.
There is no denying the completeness, indeed, the excellence of the equipment – folding vanity mirror within the big, lockable cubby-hole, guard on the drawer-type, wood-lidded facia ash-tray, lipped under-facia shelf before the passenger, colour identification of simple twin heater-control quadrants on the centre of the facia, substantial pendant pedals, three knobs below the instrument nacelle for choke, cigarette lighter and rheostat control of panel lighting, big glove-locker where the radio fits, single spoke of steering wheel sounding the horn, good rear parcels shelf, spring roof-level rear seat “pulls,” central roof lamp, door arm-rests-cum-pulls, front and rear radio speakers; neat ash-trays on the backs of the front-seat squabs, carpets on the floor, and wrapround rear bumpers, as well as the items mentioned previously.
Besides this comprehensive equipment, the Triumph 2000 has only two greasing points calling for attention at 24,000-mile intervals, and a 14-gallon fuel tank provides for some 370 miles’ non-stop driving. There is no starting handle.
As to handling habits, generally the car deserves good marks. The rubber-mounted rack-and-pinion steering is a bit “rubbery” but free from lost motion. It is fairly light until held on lock and transmits rather less than average reactions and no kick-back; castor return is powerful. The Triumph understeers on fast corners and it is then that the somewhat spongy steering is noticed, especially as, geared at just over four turns, lock-to-lock, it calls for comparatively big wheel movements. The wheel is big and high-set.
The ride is good, but somewhat “dead,” the weight of the engine being sensed; there is, indeed,10%, more frontal than rear weight distribution. To obtain good handling qualities it was deemed desirable to use 30 lb./sq. in. tyre pressures instead of the 24/30 settings recommended with the Dunlop C41 tyres for normal driving. This caused some had shudder through the body structure and a harsh ride at low speeds. In any case, the bad-road ride is not outstanding, for although pitching is absent the action is choppy. The o/s. front Dunlop was losing pressure, which, until discovered, showed up handling in an inferior light, naturally, and inflating it was an unwelcome daily chore. However, the car is reassuring on fast corners, roll is not apparent, and there are no vices. The 1,998-c.c. engine has the benefit of twin 150CD Stromberp ard pokes out 90 b.h.p. at 5,000 r.p.m. having a cr. of 8.0 to 1 it thrives on premium fuel and has no temperament. By judicious employment of overdrive the excellent fuel consumption in general running of 28 m.p.g. was achieved. Traffic driving pulled this down to 25.4 m.p.g. Overall, the figure was 26.7 m.p.g. There is a small filler, its cap unsecured, beneath a flap on the n/s. of the body. Only a pint of oil was consumed in nearly 900 miles and no trouble was experienced, apart from a shattered windscreen, quickly replaced by an agent.
The fresh-air flow from the ventilating system wasn’t particularly effective. The door area is generous, the front-seat squabs recline fully, the doors all have arm-rests, and the more-than-adequate performance is revealed by the figures in the accompanying panel. The old “globe” motif is found in the centre of each wheel nave plate, Dunlop SP tyres are offered as an extra, and altogether this Triumph 2000 is an interesting car, better by far than early experience of it led me to expect. The Leyland Group deserves to succeed, with such a well-equipped, well-thought-out, 93-m.p.h. 6-cylinder car at a competitive price, which is ,£1094 2s. 1d. inclusive of pt., although in its existing state of development it is hardly an outstanding car. – W.B.
R.A.C. TOURIST TROPHY
The 29th R.A.C. Tourist Trophy (details of which arrived too late for our Fixtures for August) will be run on August 29th at Goodwood. The event allows GT cars over 2,000 c.c. complying with Appendix J, Group III and sports cars over 1,600 c.c. complying with Appendix C. Prior to the Tourist Trophy Race there will be a sports-car event. The meeting starts at 2 p.m., and further details, Regulations and Entry Forms are available from the B.A.R.C., Sutherland House, 5-6, Argyll Street, London, W. 1