The company that would eventually go on to make some of the most elegant and classiest cars out of the British Isles began life making bicycles. By the time the Great War erupted in 1918, Triumph was the biggest manufacturer of bicycles in Britain. The shift to cars came in 1921. By that point, the car was the "big thing", and Triumph was unfortunate to arrive at a party already in full swing.
The 1800 roadster: built to stand out
In order to set itself apart from other automobile manufacturers of its time, Triumph had to do something that no other company did. So, taking a completely different track, Triumph decided to focus on luxury cars. One of the best examples of this was the 1800 roadster. It was not the first roadster in the world-the famous Ford Model T preceded it be a full decade-but it was refreshingly different.
It simply looked different-more rounded curves, the bulging fender, the many lights adorning the front, the distinctive tall grille, and, of course, the elegant spirit of triumph proudly standing on the hood. At the time, many people chided that it was an ugly look. Today, however, it can be said that Triumph's radical design represented the first true step towards true diversity and elegance in design.
The Spitfire: legacy of speed
Looks alone do not make a car, however. So, in 1962, the Triumph Spitfire rolled of the company's production lines. Ironically, for a brand that wanted to distinguish itself for luxury, the Spitfire was a relatively inexpensive car to manufacture. That fact only made it more impressive that, with only a 1147 cc inline 4 engine, it could achieve over 92 mph and acceleration from 0-60 took only 17.3 seconds!
That may not be an impressive spread of numbers today, but back in the day, it made the Spitfire the perfect vehicle of choice for serious competition-minded motorists. In fact, this tidy little racer, humble as its build might be, performed well in the 24-hour Le Mans endurance race. The Spitfire proved that one could, indeed, balance performance with affordability.