TRIUMPH MK2 2.5
It was a car that offered just a little more than the nearest competition. It also cost a little more $2970 at introduction, but was well under the cost of a Rover, at $3800, or Jaguar. At first, reliability was a bit of a problem, but, as those niggles were sorted out, the Triumph sat easily in the national fleet.
Each weekend, golf-club car parks were full of Triumph 2000s. Small-business owners, accountants, and middle-level executives in New Zealand bought almost 30,000 of these cars across the years that they were in production. In the UK, 20,000 were sold each year consistently across the vehicle’s life.
One accountant in New Zealand who owned one was Sir Robert Muldoon. While Muldoon, then prime minister, was urging us all to “Think Big”, he was actually thinking small and downsized to a Triumph 2500S. This car is still on the road today, and is one of the cars that Auckland Triumph Car Club members Trevor and Cathy Jones own.
The couple found the car for sale 26 years ago, and have enjoyed driving it since then. Tony uses words such as ‘reliable’, ‘comfortable’, ‘smooth’, and ‘enjoyable’ to describe the car — although he says that, “You do need that little extra braking space”.
He tells the story that, in 1984, after announcing the snap election, the Prime Minister went to drive home in this very car, but found that his tyres had been let down. Perhaps after his announcement of what became known as the ‘Schnapps election’, someone was concerned for his welfare and did what was necessary to stop him driving himself home that evening.
That event happened five years after Triumph production had finished in New Zealand. By then, the name Triumph had slipped over the horizon to disappear into the graveyard of all those other British names.
It is a touch of irony that the name Triumph has gone full circle and once again is in German hands. BMW acquired the brand, along with Mini, etc., when it took over that operation. With that scenario, it is unlikely — but still possible — that in the future a new, slightly sporting, slightly luxurious car will be launched onto the market with the Triumph badge on the front of it.
New Zealand Classic Car would like to thank the Auckland Triumph Car Club for its assistance with this article.
The car filled a gap somewhere in there among the regular Holdens, Falcons, Valiants, and Zephyrs. The Triumph had the feel of the more luxurious Jaguar and the cache of being a genuine British car