Early 80s, my father bought a Triumph 2500TC – a Mark Two saloon. I loved that car, was the first car I could legally drive in. This car led me to buy my own 2000 Mk2 ten years later – described in COAL #7. Any Triumph “big saloon” was pretty rare in the Netherlands.
When my father had the Triumph 2500TC, I went (by train or bike) to a few Triumph meetings. Here I had a first close look at a Mark One Saloon, and also a Mk1 Wagon.
Some time later, I came across one “in the wild”, a real Curbside Classic! I cycled home to get a camera and take pictures.
When I was a student (mid 80s), I drove a Citroen 2CV and later Sunbeam Imp. Going for parts in a scrapyard I saw a white Triumph 2000 Mk1 on the forecourt. What the hell? I had only ever once before seen a Mk1 on the road and here was the second one, waiting to be scrapped! It was a genuine delivered new in the Netherlands car, very rare. I could not stand that it would be scrapped so I bought it just to save if from that fate. Towed it home, I then discovered the cilinder head was detached and lying in the boot. The doors were rusted through. I really had no place and money for it and sold it on to a fellow student who promised to restore it. I lost contact so who knows.
During the 90s I owned a 2000 Mk2. It was a great car, but this led me to appreciate the Mk1 even more. If there ever would be one for sale… In the year 2000(!), I saw an advertisement for a 2000 Mk1. As mentioned before, a Dutch Mk1 was a real rarity. They never sold well here, too expensive because of the high UK pound in the late sixties. I only had seen these at Triumph meetings and then only a handful. A club registrar told me less than 20 cars were sold new.
So I contacted the owner and made an appointment. Car looked splendid in its four or five year old two tone paint. The owner assured me the car did not have rust problems when the car was painted, the repaint was done because the paint had become flat and there were little dents and scratches and so on. More changes had been done. Usually I am not in favor of modern wheels on an old car (especially hate Minilites), but have to admit the 15” Revolutions look pretty good with their 5 black spokes and polished rims. Wider tires than normal were fitted but also meant the steering got a lot heavier (power steering was a very rarely selected option in the Netherlands at the time).
This was emphasized even more by the smaller sports steering wheel. Car was also lowered a little by having different springs, SU HIF carburettors replaced the SU H4 carbs, a hand made exhaust spaghetti manifold, bigger inlet valves and hardened valve seats to the cilinder head, a faster cam and the stainless steel exhaust system had a bigger diameter. Overdrive was fitted with the sliding knob on the gear lever. The rear wheel suspension was from a Mk2 meaning the track was a little wider. Interior was a very nice black fabric cloth from a Mk2. Green tinted glass (Sundym) was fitted all round (from a 1975 2500S, the top version of the very last of the Big Saloons). Bumpers were without the overriders.
While I was not in favor to all of these changes, I struck a deal because it was rare to find a Mk1, especially one in a good condition.
I made some changes to the car myself – refitted overriders and the original big steering wheel, fitted a tow bar and installed a LPG system.
The next three years this Mk1 was used daily. For two years it towed our caravan (a 1971 Constructam) to the south of France.
I loved it, it looked special, was fast enough for the modern traffic, the only one ever on the road, and much more comfortable than “sporty” new cars. I was the only one in the company who did not want a new company lease car but instead choose to have a bit more money so that I could drive my classic instead of a new car.
Driving the Mk1, one notices a more 60s feeling compared to driving a Mk2. On the other hand it has the same smooth 6 inline engine and direct gear change with overdrive. It is a lovely car to drive, relatively fast at the time. It still gives the impression of being fast which of course is just a sense. One of the things I like so much driving a classic car – you do not have to go really fast to enjoy driving.
The faster-going add-ons from the previous owner did not last long. The special exhaust manifold rusted, and properly rusted away only after a year. It should have been made from stainless steel, not normal steel. The cilinder head with enlarged valves also did not last. The engine gained the symptoms of a head gasket fail – a missing cilinder, white smoke from the exhaust. Removing the head did not make it clear what the cause was. I took the head to a specialist, he pressurised it and said there was an internal leakage. The enlarged inlet tracks had been enlarged a bit too much, a crack had appeared in the wall between the inlet track and the water ways. As it was inside the head, repair was not possible.
I found a second hand head and fitted this to the car. The power was a bit down, I could feel that. As the engine ran on LPG, the valves needed more frequent adjustment. Because I used the car much I had to adjust the valves every other week! I could tell when this was needed because the engine would start to run a little rough – not as smooth as it should do. Of course this would not last forever so I took off the cilinder head again and had hardened valve seats inserted. This was the solution to the problem. Luckily in a Triumph Saloon, valve adjustment is very easy and so is replacing the cilinder head.
Apart from these engine problems, which were mostly due to the efforts of the previous owner, there were no mechanical problems.
After three years rust spots appeared on the rear wheel arches of my Mk1. I took the plunge and scraped away the paint / rust and also, unexpected, big chunks of bondo. Horrible news! The rear wheel arches were very bad and had not been properly repaired with metal before the car was painted. These wheel arches are a known bad spot on these big saloons, and difficult to repair. Inner wings are welded to the outer wings at the wheel arch flange, and often rust attacks both inner and outer wing panels. Which means repairing inner wings and outer wings.
At that time, and probably a long time before, no repair panels were available. No repair panels meant no repair because these wheelarches have a nice but complicated 3D shape – not something you could bang up yourself.
I did not want to fork out much money to a body sculptor so took it to the barn and stored it. I hated myself for falling into the trap of trusting a seller when I bought the car. The seller was a prominent person in the Triumph community, he was ending his hobby and sold his beloved Triumph. I did not expect someone like he would not tell the truth – a hard lesson for me. My fault, I should have inspected it better. Despite the hard to repair rust, I could not bring myself to get rid of the car as it is such a unique car. It just had to wait for better times.
A couple of years ago someone from the UK club started to make panels again, inner and outer wings. They were expensive but I made sure I bought all the panels I am going to need to bring back the car in good condition.
A few years ago I got in contact of a fellow Triumph enthusiast who’s grandfather owned my car from 1978-83. He was the second owner. Pictures are from 1979. I am the 6th owner, knowing 3 of the previous owners.
When I drove my Mk1, my brother admired it and also went out looking for one. Amazingly a few months later he actually found one. Clearly he was more successful in finding them as I had been looking for one for years!
When he showed me the car I recognized it, it was the car I had rescued from the scrapyard nearly 20 years before! The car was fairly original, the doors had been repaired, there was a little rust here and there. He used it for a couple of years, then moved it into the barn where it still resides. His plan is to restore it, some day.
Ten years ago I spoke to an old friend which lived near me around the time I rescued the white car from the crusher. When I told him about that scrapyard rescue thirty years before, it turned out HE also was a previous owner of that same car! He had sold it when the engine dropped a valve. Presumably the new owner must have taken it to the scrapyard. It is a small Triumph world here in the Netherlands.
An extensive history of the Triumph 2000 can be found online here:
Were you also the proud owner of the Austin Alegro in the 1979 picture?.
Ha! I never loved the Allegro so would never have owned one. That picture was given to me from the grandson of the owner who owned it back in 1979. The grandson in fact is sitting on the hood in the other 1979 picture.
Saw a well kept example of one last year at the ferry dock in Picton NZ while waiting to get on the boat to Wellington.
Looks great in that old color. The Mk1 narrow rear wheel track can be seen clearly.
I loved the story on this one (or actually both of them). I hope you get this one back on the road some time soon.
Me too… It will happen someday.
“Dion’s Barn” is worthy of its own in depth post one day. Or even a vacation destination if within 300 miles of the low countries. 5 Euro admission sounds about right for the self-guided version, E10 with a guide, and E15 if you require an english speaking guide. Please make sure the T-shirts (E25) are available in US sizes.
That wagon is sublime, a version I was not previously aware of. As always, excellent vintage pictures with so much other items of interest in them as well besides the subject itself.
As below these cars were very popular here but the wagons were not locally assembled so are quite rare and sought after.
The wagons are nice but have the “Wagon disadvantage” in my view. Which is: it lacks the nice rear style of the sedan. The sedan has a typical roof overhang, a beautiful detail which is lost on the wagon. The wagon is styled a little more bland compared to the sedan.
Of course, a wagon would be more useful but I cannot decide if that would weigh up to the styling “loss”.
Your love and devotion for the 2000 reminds me of my similar relationship to the Peugeot 404, of which I had no less than six. There are certain cars that just really speak to us, and I can see why the 2000 spoke to you. The difference is that my 404 era had a definite beginning and end, over four years, unlike yours that is still going on. Good for you, and may your 2000 ride again!
Your 404 habit is like my Hillman habit, first one a Humber 80 when I was 17 and many since I still have one but a model Ive never had before, 1952 the oldest and 1966 currently newest.
The 404 was “lucky” to have a proper successor (the 504 although they ran alongside each other for a couple of years). The Triumph 2000 was a one-off, albeit in Mk1 and Mk2 form. Its successor, the Rover SD1 with six cilinder engine (2300 or 2600), never was quite the same.
Very nice cars the Triumph 2000, ten years ago these cars were $500 in good nick now they are very rare. the MK2s were extremely popular in New Zealand ridiculously popular, the only weak point if driven hard is the rear axle halfshaft UNI joints, conveniently Datsun 180B uni joints fit straight on were plentiful in junk yards thanks to other deficiencies and out last the car,
NZMC the NZ assemblers actually sought unused CKD packs of MK2 imported and assembled them as late as 79 by then the 2500S trim model was standard and there are still a lot of them on the road,
Performance upgrades were common your car is quite typical and they get along ok and handle well, just dont as my boss found out the hard way buy a MK2 with the 2inch font spray painted assembly number missing from the radiator support panel it means the car has had a shunt and the bodies twisted quite easily and badly, he could not keep tyres on his car it just ate them carefull measuring proved it was bent, shame though it was a nice car.
I have noticed before that these cars are or have been popular in Australia / NZ. I had a look at one on a show in the UK and it is interesting to notice the differences.
Same for the South African assembled cars.
love the “campground pics”!
As an American kid in the late 60’s, I was somewhat familiar with Triumphs. Somewhat, I thought of them as small sports cars. Visiting my Dad in England I was dumbfounded when I saw Triumph Sedans, being used by the police. I suspect it was the this model, but that was a long time ago. I saw it as the police using sports cars, but with 4 doors. Kind of a “did not compute” type of thing, but they seemed cool regardless.
The Mk2 saloon has been used often as a police car in the UK. White with a huge orange stripe. I think you might have seen one of these
The infamous “Jam Sandwich”!
I wonder how much that monstrosity on the roof cost in top speed?
I remember getting stopped by one of these in my Mk2 Vitesse due to some, er, enthusiastic driving on London’s North Circular. When the cop’s first words are “Do you have a pilot’s license, sir?” you know you’re in trouble!
Coming in late….but this was a well respected car and brand back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The Triumph brand was definitely upscale of Ford or Vauxhall for similar sized cars (or ones competing on price but half a size larger), a bit more fashionable than a Humber or Wolseley, less conservative than a Rover…the 1960s/1970s British car was a many layered place. Think of it as an Audi A4 to a Passat, or a Passat to a Skoda Superb. The Triumph had the advantage of a six cylinder engine as well, something Humber and Wolseley never offered in anything comparable.
Nominally succeeded by the 6 cylinder 2300 and 2600 versions of the Rover SD1, which were technically a step backwards in several way.
Great to hear of you on-going plans to get the car back on the road – there aren’t many left now.
Off topic but what is the yellow truck with the roll up door in the back of the barn? Also what’s the blue car behind the truck and is the red vehicle behind the Triumph’s a Hillman Husky?
I think a short barn feature is needed
Correct about identifying the Husky! A project car.
That yellow truck is a 1961 Commer Walk Tru. It was a fire truck from a nearby town. After 30 years owning it, saved it (drove it home) from the scrapyard, and thinking what to do with it, finally sold it three months ago to someone who has good plans with it.
recent pic of the Commer