Triumph is better known today as a motorcycle manufacturer. But little do the younger generation know that the marque also produced cars for a good part of the 20th century. This can be traced back to 1923 when the company decided to venture into producing cars.
Beginnings in London
The very first incarnation of Triumph was established in 1885 by Siegfied Bettman. This German businessman moved to England and got enticed by the growing bicycle trend in the region during that time. The following year, the London-based S. Bettman & Co. changed its name into Triumph Cycle Company. After 17 years in the bicycle business, Triumph customs parts were put in bicycles to produce the marque\'s first motorcycles. This was the beginning of Triumph\'s involvement in manufacturing motorized vehicles.
The dawn of the 20th century proved to be an interesting time for Triumph. Its motorcycle sales reached the 500-unit mark and production reached the German market via a manufacturing subsidiary in 1903. Two years later, Triumph was able to produce its first all-British motorcycle. However, when the First World War broke, the marque had to concentrate its efforts in building military-spec motorcycles. Its participation in the war machine helped transport the Allied troops across rendezvous points, camps, and targets.
By the 1920s, it had already established itself as a company that made bicycles, motorcycles, and other Triumph parts. Since the market was getting congested different marques, Triumph decided to focus on high-tier cars oriented to sports. However, the efforts did not pan well because of the marque\'s unsuccessful marketing campaign. The company went into bankruptcy but was acquired by a steel group in the late 1930s. During the war, Triumph parts were produced not to build personal vehicles but to support Britain\'s campaign against the Axis Powers. Unfortunately, the Coventry plant ended up as war collateral. It was leveled down by German bombers in November 1940 and rendered it unable to manufacture Triumph car parts anymore.
Triumph vehicles in the post-war era
In an effort to support the British economy back to its previous state, British companies began exporting vehicles to the US market. As Jaguar and MG penetrated the American automotive industry, Triumph caught up with the trend by sending out the TR2. This was followed by models like the Triumph Herald, Standard Eight and Standard Ten. The period dictated elaborate ornaments which might have also influenced the Triumph accessories during that time.
In December 1960, Triumph was acquired by Leyland Motors Ltd. The marque continued manufacturing saloons and sports cars for the next two decades. However, the marque\'s cars during this era had a reputation for being unreliable and faulty. Triumph performance parts like the injection system found itself capable in international tourneys. However, it had a flaw . the inability to adjust when the car was already driven above 3,000 feet above sea level. The marque tried to make amends for these setbacks but its path continued moving in a downward spiral. By 1981, the Acclaim became the last vehicle to carry the Triumph badge. Three years after, Triumph was no more. Looking on the bright side, BMW has acquired the Triumph name more recently. But the question remains: when will Triumph come out again from the ashes?