1930s Triumphs

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Sir,

I was interested to read the recent letters regarding the ‘triumph Southern Cross, but feel that some people have become confused over the various Triumph models of the ‘3os.

Some years ago, I was the second owner of a 1934 (October 31) four-seater tourer, with 17 gallon slab tank and twin spare wheels. The engine was a 1,232 c.c. 10F. engine “built by ‘1’riumph under licence from Coventry Climax” according to the legend on the engine plate. The original owner of the car Jack Howarth, late of Sale, Cheshire and Isle of Man had purchased the car new and referred to it as a “Monte Carlo”. It was one of six built in ’34 when Donald Healey was with Triumphs, bore the body plate “GI o COMI’. TOURER NO 5” and was used by Jack in British rallies before the war registered AJX 7 until 1958 when we reregistered it 217 EMA. (Anyone know her now?).

From the Monte Carlo a long-swept tail Vitesse was developed, and also the ciao seater Southern Cross using the same four cylinder unit. Later in 1935 a 6 cylinder 1,5ao c.c. engine was introduced and this found its way into the four seaters though not as tar as I can tell into the Southern Cross. Later still the fiat radiator gave way to a rather ugly chrome affair on the Vitesse saloons.

It would seem wrong therefore to refer to any 34/35 Triumph tourer as a Southern Cross or a Monte Carlo, as only six Montes were built, and only the two seater was a Southern Cross. Presumably all other lour seaters should be Gloria Tourers or Gloria Vitesses. Incidentally, the Cheshire Police used the Southern Cross tor a while, so presumably they were not considered sluggards. My own Monte Carlo once managed to reach 6,000 r.p.m. in top which, worked out on my slide rule, equated to 94 m.p.h., but that was in the 1960s, and doubtless better fuel etc. have helped increase performance from the claimed 88 m.p.h. maximum of its debut.

Apologies for taking so much space, but I wanted to try to put the record straight.

Romford R. J. DOVE