Sunday, July 05, 2009

Ranting Stan's Sunday Drive: Triumph 2000 Mk.II

With a straight six, 2 litre engine and acres of space front and rear, Triumph's big "family" car of the seventies was also one of the smoothest and most comfortable cars of the seventies.

Originally released in 1969 the Triumph 2000 MK.II combined this space and smoothness with an elegant body which still looks good today. Although mostly considered as a large family car it wasn't intended purely as such.

The original Triumph 2000 MK.I was launched at the same time as the Rover P6 and between them they revolutionised the executive car market. Instead of being massive, rather staid and somewhat sluggish the executive car was redefined as a sleek, handsome saloon offering the comfort and refinement that "executives" were used to combined with power and modern dynamics.

Triumph's redesign gave the 2000 Mk.II the front end treatment which would become familiar on the iconic Stag a year or so later with the rear taking on the Triumph "family" look, but despite this the Triumph 2000 struggled to maintain sales in an ever competitive market. By the time the Mk.II was launched virtually every manufacturer was offering similar types with increasing success and in 1977 Triumph stopped producing the Mk.II.

I never drove a Triumph 2000 but it does remain prominent in my memory thanks to one of my school friends. His mother drove a 2000 Mk.II - actually, his dad's company car - and I had a massive crush on his mum at the time (trust me, she was gorgeous) as my teenage hormones raged. She would drive us (and a couple of others) to and from rugby training in the car and it was one of the highlights of my week - especially when I got to ride in the front passenger seat.

As it turned out, his younger sister had almost as big a crush on me as I did on his mum and I ended up going out with her for a few months when I was 15 - in the innocent way we used to back then (no nookie, just a bit of snogging) - and got to ride in the big Triumph some more as her mum ferried us to various parties.

The Triumph 2000 was a great car for its time with space and elegance. Unfortunately, elegance was not particularly sought after in the late seventies and the big Triumph could not compete with ever bigger and flashier rivals - but the sight of one can still bring a big smile to my face and the memory of my first crush to the front of my mind.

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