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Another automotive anniversary book just dropped, and it’s a good one. Simply titled Triumph Cars: 100 Years, the book tells the story of the rise and fall of one of the best makers of pure, driver-centric sports cars. Although they are far from faultless, they are definitely worth remembering (if not owning).
Bruised Knuckles & British Cars
In all fairness, I must disclose that I grew up around various TRs (as Triumphs are referred to by their owners). In addition to being a car family in general, we were deep into the British cars – mainly TRs, MGs, and Sunbeams. TRs, although generally underpowered and noted for their British “reliability,” are fantastic cars to drive. As my dad would say, “They’re very forgiving.” In other words, you can get all sorts of crossed up, and TRs are very easy to recover and bring back into shape.
It’s also worth noting that I have shed blood for these cars. Being pressed into service, aiding and abetting my brothers in working on the things, I have skinned more than a knuckle or two. As I’ve been fond of saying over the years, I grew up in a sports car family, but sadly, they were British cars.
I’m not saying I’m biased; what I am saying, however, is that Triumph Cars: 100 Years is a fantastic book. It’s well-researched and written and dripping with excellent photography. I’d say that whether I had a soft spot for the cars or not.
Exercise Science & Automotive Journalism
Written by Ross Alkureishi and published by the fine folks at Motorbooks, Triumph Cars: 100 Years spans 224 pages and will take up about a square foot of space on your coffee table. The book lacks nothing in the content department. It starts back at the very beginning, a century ago when the company was originally involved with sewing machines. There are details aplenty imparted to the reader along the way, but it moves right along.
Alkureishi’s original background was in exercise science as a lecturer (he didn’t get into automotive journalism until 2009). “I had a can of an energy drink before I went in, and I talked the hind legs off the proverbial donkey,” recalled Alkureishi on the Cars Yeah podcast with Mark Greene, describing his interview for a motoring journalist role at Classic Cars magazine. “I like to write, and I talked for a living for 12 years, so I thought if I could get an interview, I would have a bloomin’ good chance of getting this job.”
Triumph Cars & Group 44 Racing
Triumph Cars: 100 Years has some interesting digressions along the way. For example, there’s a nice sidebar about Bob Tullius. That name might not mean much to people nowadays, but back in the 1970s, Tullius was the main guy who kept the British flag flying on race tracks throughout North America. He raced TR 6s, 7s, and 8s, always decked out in his racing colors: a double green stripe over a white body. And they always used the number 44, reflective of his team: Group 44 Racing. Tullius even raced a big V12 Jag XK-S. He didn’t win all the time, but he won enough. Many of us do remember, and it’s gratifying to see that author Ross Alkureishi remembers, too.
As an Amazon Associate, Automoblog earns from qualifying purchases.
Author Ross Alkureishi chronicles the Triumph Motor Company from the first 10/20 and early Supers and Glorias to the TR and Spitfire ranges.
Illustrated with hundreds of historic, contemporary, and racing photographs, along with period advertising.
Makes a great birthday or Christmas gift for sports car enthusiasts.
The Fall & The Miata
As to be expected, Alkureishi covers the end of Triumph. The fall of Triumph was unexpected, but in hindsight, it was probably inevitable. You’d go to a race in the 1960s or ’70s, and half the cars parked in the infield were TRs, MGs, and Healeys. And by 1980 –poof– they were all gone. What befell Triumph affected other manufacturers: changing times, changing buyer behavior, build quality issues, labor issues, marketing issues, and, of course, bad management. Triumph Cars: 100 Years doesn’t exactly point fingers or call out people or known technical faults by name, but it does help the reader understand what went down when it all collapsed.
It would be a sad motoring world to look back and say, “Man, where did all the fun cars like Triumphs go?” But, as it turns out, some guys at Mazda were knee-deep in TRs, MGs, and Healeys. And they ended up making the Miata. So, all’s well that ends well.
Great Gift For Gearheads
A book like Triumph Cars: 100 Years can be read and enjoyed by a wide cross-section of gearheads. TR guys, of course, will love the book, but so will anybody who is into British cars or sports cars in general. If you have a gearhead with a birthday coming up, this would make a great gift. At the time of this writing, new and used hardcover versions of Triumph Cars: 100 Years are available on Amazon.
Longtime Automoblog writer Tony Borroz has worked on popular driving games as a content expert, in addition to working for aerospace companies, software giants, and as a movie stuntman. He lives in the northeast corner of the northwestern-most part of the Pacific Northwest.