Beautiful certificate from the Triumph Cycle Company
issued in 1898. This historic document has a vignette of the company name. This item has the signatures of the Company's Director's, (including Siegfried Bettmann), and its Secretary, and is over 109 years old.
The Triumph Motor Company had its origins in 1885 when Siegfried Bettmann (1863-1951) and Moritz (Maurice) Schulte from Germany founded Bettmann & Co and started selling Triumph bicycles, from premises in London and from 1889 started making his own machines in Coventry, England.
The Triumph Cycle Company
From bicycles, the Triumph Cycle Company, as the company was named in 1897, branched out in 1902 into making Triumph motor cycles at their works in Much Park Street. At first these used bought-in engines but the business took off and they soon started making their own and in 1907 expanded into a new factory in Priory Street taking over the premises of a spinning mill. Major orders for the 550 cc Model H came from the British Army during World War 1 and by 1918 they were Britain's largest motor cycle maker.
In 1921, Bettmann was persuaded by his general manager Claude Holbrook (1886-1979), who had joined the company in 1919, to acquire the assets and Clay Lane premises of the Dawson Car Company and start producing a 1.4 litre model called the Triumph 10/20 which was actually designed for them by Lea-Francis to whom they paid a royalty for every car sold. Production of this car and its immediate successors was on a moderate scale but this changed with the introduction in 1927 of the Triumph Super 7 which sold in large numbers through to 1934.
Triumph Gloria SixIn 1930 the company changed its name to the Triumph Motor Company. It was clear to Holbrook that there was no future in pursuing the mass manufacturers and so decided to take the company upmarket with the Southern Cross and Gloria ranges. At first these used engines made by Triumph but designed by Coventry Climax but from 1937 they started to make them to their own designs by Donald Healey who had become the companys Experimental Manager in 1934.
1937 Triumph Dolomite RoadsterThe company hit financial problems however and in 1936 the Triumph bicycle and motorcycle businesses were sold, the latter to Jack Sangster of Ariel to become Triumph Engineering Co. Ltd. Healey purchased an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 and developed an ambitious new car with an Alfa inspired Straight-8 engine called the Triumph Dolomite.
In July 1939, the Triumph Motor Company went into receivership and the factory, equipment and goodwill were offered for sale. T.W. Ward purchased the company and placed Healey in charge as general manager, but the effects of World War II again stopped the production of cars and the Priory Street works was completely destroyed by bombing in 1940.
After the war, in 1944 what was left of the Triumph Motor Company and the Triumph brand name was bought by Standard Motor Company and a subsidiary "Triumph Motor Company (1945) Limited" was formed with production transferred to Standard's factory. The pre-war models were not revived and in 1946 a new range of Triumphs starting with the Triumph 1800 Roadster was announced. Because of steel shortages these were bodied in aluminium which was plentiful because of its use in aircraft production.
In the early 1950s it was decided to use the Triumph name on sporting cars and the Standard name on saloons and in 1953 the Triumph TR2 was launched, the first of a series that would run through to 1981. Standard had been making a range of small saloons called the Standard Eight and Ten and had been working on a replacement for these. When this was launched in 1959 as the Herald it carried the Standard-Triumph badge and slowly the Standard name was dropped disappearing in 1963.
Triumph SpitfireIn December 1960 the company was bought by Leyland Motors Ltd with Donald Stokes becoming chairman of the Standard Triumph division in 1963. Further mergers led to the formation of British Leyland Motor Corporation in 1968.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Triumph sold a succession of Michelotti-styled saloons and sports cars, including the advanced Dolomite Sprint, which, in 1973, already had a 16-valve four cylinder engine. It is alleged that many Triumphs of this era were unreliable, especially the 2.5 PI with its fuel injection problems. While the injection system had proved itself in international competition, it did lack altitude compensation for the adjustment of mixture at altitudes greater than 3000 ft (1000 m) above sea level. The key reason for the Lucas system's unpopularity, was that Lucas was not inclined to further develop it on the one hand allied to the unwillingness of Standard-Triumph dealers to attend factory and field-based training courses dedicated to this propulsion method.
For most of its time under Leyland or BL ownership the Triumph marque belonged in the Specialist Division of the company which went under the names of Rover Triumph and later Jaguar Rover Triumph apart from a brief period in the mid 1970s when all BL's car marques or brands were grouped together under the name of Leyland Cars.
The last Triumph model was the Acclaim which was launched in 1981 in a joint venture with Japanese company Honda. The Triumph name disappeared in 1984, when the Acclaim was replaced by the Rover 200, which was a rebadged version of Honda's Civic/Ballade model. The BL car division was by then called Austin Rover Group which also sounded the death knell for the Morris marque as well as Triumph.
The trademark is currently owned by BMW, acquired when it bought the Rover Group in 1994. When it sold Rover, it kept the Triumph marque. The Phoenix Consortium, which bought Rover, tried to buy the Triumph brand, but BMW refused, saying that if Phoenix insisted, it would break the deal. The Standard marque was transferred to British Motor Heritage Limited, along with Austin, Morris, and Wolseley marques. The Austin , Morris and Wolseley marques were later sold to MG Rover Group Ltd, on the 10th December 2003. The Standard marque is still retained by British Motor Heritage who also have the license to use the Triumph marque in relation to the sale of spares and support of the existing 'park' of Triumph cars.
The MG marque was sold to Phoenix along with the sale of the Rover brand images and a license to use the Rover name. The Rover name was later sold to Ford, with Nanjing Automotive gaining the rights to the brand image. The Triumph name has been retained by BMW along with Riley, Rolls-Royce and Mini.
Model Name Engine Year No's Built
Triumph 1800 Saloon 1776 cc inline 4 19461949
Triumph 1800 Roadster 1776 cc inline 4 19461948
Triumph 2000 Saloon 2088 cc inline 4 19491951
Triumph 2000 Roadster 2088 cc inline 4 19481949
Triumph Renown 2088 cc inline 4 19491952
Triumph Mayflower 1247 cc inline 4 19491953
Triumph TR1 / 20TS 2208 cc inline 4 1950
Triumph TR2 1991 cc inline 4 19531955
Triumph TR3 1991 cc inline 4 19561958
Triumph TR3A 1991 cc inline 4 19581962
Triumph TR3B 2138 cc inline 4 1962
Triumph Italia 1991 cc inline 4 19591962
Triumph TR4 2138 cc inline 4 19611965
Triumph TR4A 2138 cc inline 4 19651967
Triumph TR5 2498 cc inline 6 19671969
Triumph TR250 2498 cc inline 6 19671969
Triumph GT6 1998 cc inline 6 19661971
Triumph Dove GTR4 2138 cc inline 4 1961-1964
Triumph TR6 2498 cc inline 6 19691976
Triumph TR7 1998 cc inline 4 1974-1981
Triumph TR8 3528 cc V8 1979-1981
Triumph Spitfire Mk 1 or Spitfire 4 1147 cc inline 4 19621965 45,763
Triumph Spitfire Mk.II 1147 cc inline 4 19651967 37,409
Triumph Spitfire Mk.III 1296 cc inline 4 19671970 65,320
Triumph Spitfire Mk.IV 1296 cc inline 4 19701974 70,021
Triumph Spitfire 1500 1493 cc inline 4 19741980 95,829
Triumph GT6 1998 cc inline 6 19661973
Triumph Herald 948 948 cc inline 4 19591964
Triumph Herald 1200 1147 cc inline 4 19611970
Triumph Herald 12/50 1147 cc inline 4 1963-1967
Triumph Herald 13/60 1296 cc inline 4 19671971
Triumph Vitesse 6 1596 cc inline 6 19621966
Triumph Sports 6 (US version of Vitesse 6) 1596 cc inline 6 19621964
Triumph Vitesse 2-litre, and Mk.2 1998 cc inline 6 19661971
Triumph 1300 1296 cc inline 4 19651970
Triumph 1300TC 1296 cc inline 4 19671970
Triumph 1500 1493 cc inline 4 19701973
Triumph 1500TC 1493 cc inline 4 19731976
Triumph Stag 2997 cc V8 19711977
Triumph Toledo 1296 cc inline 4 19701978
Triumph Dolomite 1300 1296 cc inline 4 19761981
Triumph Dolomite 1500 1493 cc inline 4 19761981
Triumph Dolomite 1500HL 1493 cc inline 4 19761981
Triumph Dolomite 1850 1850 cc inline 4 19721976
Triumph Dolomite 1850HL 1850 cc inline 4 19761981
Triumph Dolomite Sprint 1998 cc inline 4 19731981
Triumph 2000 1998 cc inline 6 19631975
Triumph 2.5 PI 2498 cc inline 6 19681977
Triumph 2500TC/S 2498 cc inline 6 19741977
Triumph Acclaim 1335 cc inline 4 19811984 133,625