New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature -

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

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