Classic Sports Car
Buyer’s guide Triumph 2000
The 2000 was an impressive all-rounder when new, and now makes a great family classic
The 2000 was important in the Standard-triumph story. The firm was always a bit small to compete head-on with rivals such as BMC, and battled on with separate-chassis construction for the Herald/vitesse/spitfire/gt6 family and the TRS long after others went monocoque, and its Standard marque was dying in the water. Styled by Giovanni Michelotti, the 2000 was the first monocoque Triumph, replacing the Standard Vanguard with a car that was almost infinitely more modern. It was stylish, airy, comfortable, lively, smooth, quiet, economical and handled well: an outstandingly complete package.
The six-cylinder engine was ultimately derived from the 803cc Standard Eight ‘four’, with two cylinders added and brought up to two litres of silky straight-six. The new, all-synchro four-speed gearbox, with optional overdrive, was a great step forward; other advanced features included built-in rear seatbelt mountings and generously adjustable reclining seats that could turn the interior into a passable double bed.
Dropping in the TR5’S 2.5-litre injected lump gave the car a whole new lease of life, creating an understated hot rod with 0-60mph in sub-10 secs and minimal changes required to the running gear. A 5800rpm rev limiter was a wise addition to the long-stroke unit and well-chosen gearing gave a 111mph maximum in direct top, but easy 100mph cruising in overdrive. Thicker brake discs and 185x13 tyres on 5J wheels were all that was needed to cope with the extra power. An automatic transmission and the estate body were offered with the PI, though rarely seen now.
Michelotti was also responsible for the 1969 Mk2, which gave the car an impressive new look, with longer bonnet and tail (except the estate), new seat material and switchgear, and power steering: a formula that helped the car stay on sale until 1977. New column switches including a ‘flick-wipe’ facility were particularly modern, and a front seatbelt warning light (with pressure switches in the seats) was added by 1974.
Sadly, the PI’S Lucas fuel injection caused too many warranty issues and was replaced by the 2500S in 1975 with two big SUS, a hotter cam, 14in wheels and (at last) a viscous fan.
Rust is the main challenge today, and it can take time to find an original example because many parts were swapped around to keep cars going when they were worth little.