Friday, 5 February 2016

Triumph 1300

In 1979 I bought myself a battered old Triumph 1300. After a couple of years of not having a car it was a cheap and cheerful if not exactly sparkling example of motoring heaven.

It had been registered in 1968 and so was 11 years old when I bought it. Although painted white, this had discoloured unevenly and was impossible to clean up - even with my old remedy from teenage days, a tub of Vim followed by re-polishing! A number of dents in the sides and the roof(!) suggested it had been rolled at some point or other...

The car had been designed as the successor to the Triumph Herald and was originally produced as a front-wheel-drive car competing with its contemporary the Austin 1100. This didn't give it the same handling benefit as its rival however, which had a transverse engine like the same company's Mini. The Triumph had the engine mounted in the traditional front-rear orientation and it was mounted over the gearbox. In 1970 it was re-styled as a rear-wheel-drive and became the Triumph Toledo.

It was what I'd call a gentleman's car though, with a walnut wooden dashboard and wooden trim below the side windows. Changing gear required some care and was never a lightning-quick operation. The roof extended beyond the rear window a little and had three vents over the window which can be seen here. These provided through-flow air replacement by drawing air from the car interior to be replaced by air flowing in through the dashboard air-vents.

We had the Triumph for a couple of years and then in 1981 I sold it through the local car auctions. Not long afterwards the police came looking for me. The new owners had obviously not registered their side of the ownership change and it had been left blocking the entrance of the Imperial Hotel on Blackpool's Promenade - at the time of the Conservative Party Conference!

In those days of IRA bomb scares, the police told me it was in danger of being blown up in a controlled explosion. Sadly, they wouldn't give me a lift down to watch and in the event it must have been moved without being blown up anyway!

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