Triumph Roadster

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Triumph Roadster
Triumph 1800 roadster FR.jpg
Manufacturer Standard Motor Company
Production 1946–1949. 4501 made
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Engine 1776 cc (1946-1948)[1][2]
2088 cc (1948-1949)
OHV Straight-4
Transmission 4-speed manual
3-speed manual
Wheelbase 100 in (2,540 mm)[1][2]
Length 168.4 in (4,277 mm)[1]
Width 64 in (1,626 mm)[1]
Curb weight 2540 pounds (1150 kg) (1800 model)
2460 pounds (1115 kg) (2000 model)
Successor Triumph TR2

The Triumph Roadster was the first post war Triumph made by Britain's Standard Motor Company, produced from 1946 to 1948. It was first made with an 1800 cc engine and superseded by a larger-engined version, the 2000 Roadster, from 1948 to 1949.


Triumph 1800 Roadster with dickey seat occupied
1948 Triumph 1800 Roadster with hood up

The car was designed in the closing days of World War II, shortly before Triumph was bought by the Standard Motor Company and the Managing Director, Sir John Black, wanted a sports car to take on Jaguar who had used Standard engines in the pre-war period.[3] Frank Callaby was selected to style the new car. After getting Black's approval for the general shape, Callaby worked with Arthur Ballard to design the details of the body.[4] Design of the rolling chassis was by Ray Turner. Walter Belgrove, who had styled the pre-war Triumphs and was employed as Chief Body Engineer, had no part in the design.[2]

Early post-war steel shortages meant that the body was built from aluminium, using rubber press tools that had been used making panels[4] for the largely wooden bodied Mosquito bomber that had been built by Standard during the war.[citation needed] The frame was hand welded up from steel tube.[2] The engine was based on a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder Standard design that had been supplied to Jaguar.[5] A four-speed gearbox[2] with synchromesh on the top three ratios was used.[6]

The tubular steel chassis was a short-wheelbase version of the 1800 saloon, featuring transverse leaf sprung independent suspension at the front and a live axle with half elliptic springs at the rear.[2] The rear track was considerably narrower than the front. Brakes were hydraulic.

Roadster dickey seat with folding windscreen
Triple windscreen wipers on a Roadster

The body design was anachronistic. A journalist old enough to remember the pre-war Dolomite Roadster that had inspired the car felt that the elegant proportions of the earlier model had been abandoned in favour of a committee-based compromise, "a plump Christmas turkey to set against that dainty peacock ... [more] Toadster [than Roadster]".[1] The front had large separate headlamps and the radiator was well back from the front between large "coal scuttle" wings. Passenger accommodation was on a bench seat that was claimed to seat three: the car's 64 inch width helped make a reality of the three-abreast seating, and the approach meant a column gear change was required. The car's unusual width also made it necessary to fit three screen wipers in a row, an example followed by early shallow windscreen Jaguar E Types.[1] Additional room for two was provided at the rear in a dickey seat with its own folding windscreen: this was outside the hood that could be erected to cover the front seat.[4] Entry and exit to the dickey seat was never easy and a step was provided on the rear bumper.[citation needed]

On test by Autocar magazine in 1947 top speed was found to be 75 mph (121 km/h) and 0–60 mph (0–96 km/h) took 34.4 seconds. Evidently keen to be positive without misleading their readers, the magazine described the maximum speed as "satisfying but not startlingly high".[1]

2000 Roadster[edit]

1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster

The only significant update in the Roadster's production came in September 1948 for the 1949 models, when the 2088 cc Vanguard engine, transmission, and rear axle were fitted.[7][8] A retrograde step was the fitting of a three-speed gearbox even though it now had synchromesh on bottom gear.[9] Apart from minor modifications to the mounting points, the chassis, suspension and steering were unaltered.

On test the changes resulted in the top speed increasing marginally to 77 mph (124 km/h) but the 0-60 mph time was much better at 27.9 seconds.[citation needed]

The car was never made in large numbers and was mainly hand built. 2501 examples of the 1800 and 2000 of the larger-engined version were made.[8]

Today, surviving examples are keenly sought and change hands for high prices.



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