Class Acts, Part 2: Triumph 2000, 2.5 PI, and 2500 Mk 2

The Triumph 2000 was a hit, giving the Rover 2000 a run for its money and demonstrating that there was a lucrative market for affordable premium sedans. The Mk 2 edition, introduced in the fall of 1969, seemed set to continue that success, but with Triumph now part of the British Leyland Motor Corporation, the 2000’s future would soon be in doubt. In part 2 of our story, we look at the later history of the big Triumph 2000, 2.5 PI, and 2500TC/2500S sedans.

Triumph 2000 Mk 2 badge © 2013 Richard Wiseby (used with permission)
(Triumph 2000 Mk2 Photo © 2013 Richard Wiseby; used with permission)


In our first installment, we talked about the protracted development of the car that became the Triumph 2000 and the success the Mk 1 car found in the British marketplace. To understand all of what came next, it’s important to have at least a general understanding of the corporation machinations taking place during the same period. (Regular readers will probably already be familiar with this part of the story, but it bears recapping for those just joining us.)

As previously discussed, back in 1960, Standard-Triumph International had been acquired by Leyland Motors, a successful British truck and bus manufacturer. The new Leyland management, including Donald Stokes, who became Standard-Triumph’s managing director in 1963, brought a needed infusion of cash and financial rigor that soon restored Standard-Triumph to prosperity. In early 1967, Leyland also acquired the Rover Company, with which Standard had flirted on and off for the better part of 15 years, giving Leyland a solid minority share of the British car market. In the bargain, Leyland also picked up Alvis, a smaller maker of prestigious cars and less prestigious but profitable military vehicles that had merged with Rover in 1965.

1967 Triumph 2000 nose lettering © 2013 Aaron Severson
Triumph began building cars in 1923, but went into receivership in 1939. The Standard Motor Company bought the Triumph name and remaining assets in late 1944. In 1960, Standard was reorganized as Standard-Triumph International, which merged with Leyland Motors in December 1960. In 1968, Triumph became part of the new British Leyland Motor Corporation. Triumph’s place in the BLMC divisional hierarchy changed shifted repeatedly between 1968 and 1984, when the marque ceased production for good, although after 1968, Rover and Triumph were closely linked; the two formally merged in 1972. (author photo)

If that had been the end of Leyland’s merger spree, the future of Triumph (and for that matter Rover) might have been very different. However, there was a further merger in the works: The British government was pushing for a union between Leyland and the massive but ailing British Motor Corporation (BMC) — or, more properly, British Motor Holdings, a holding company created in 1966 by the merger of BMC and Jaguar. BMC (the BMH designation was a legal one and little-used outside formal business documents) encompassed many of the U.K.’s major automotive brands, including Austin, Morris, MG, Riley, and Wolseley, although the latter two were on their way out, having long since succumbed to badge-engineering expedience.

Despite its sizable market share, BMC was beset by serious financial problems and ongoing labor disputes, compounded by an aging product line that was too often flawed, dull, unprofitable, or some combination of the three. The Labour government of Prime Minister Harold Wilson was fearful that BMC would end up in receivership and/or become a satellite of some foreign company. The Rootes Group (encompassing Hillman, Humber, Singer, and Sunbeam-Talbot) was already being absorbed by Chrysler and the Wilson government had no desire to see Britain’s largest automaker end up as another subsidiary of one of the American giants. The government’s solution was to broker a marriage between BMH and Leyland, putting Leyland management in charge in the hopes that they could repeat Standard-Triumph’s revitalization on a much larger scale.

1973 Triumph Stag front 3q © 2010 Aaron Severson
Conceived prior to the British Leyland merger but not introduced until 1970, the Stag was intended as Triumph’s image leader. It was not a sports car, but a luxurious GT intended to compete with the likes of the Mercedes 280SL. The Stag was based on the 2000 (Michelotti’s original prototype was a converted Mk 1 sedan), but the facelifted Mk 2 sedans, introduced in early 1969, were styled to resemble the Stag, which was originally supposed to debut about a year and a half earlier than it actually did. (author photo)

The upshot of all this was the formation in May 1968 of the British Leyland Motor Corporation (BLMC), with Donald Stokes (shortly to become Lord Stokes, a life peer) as its chairman. One of Stokes’ early decisions was to send Triumph’s technical director, Harry Webster, to Austin Morris to replace Alec Issigonis (designer of the Mini) and sort out the mess of BMC’s product plans. To take Webster’s place at Triumph, Spencer King was transferred from Rover, where he’d been involved in the development of Rover’s P6, the Triumph 2000’s arch-rival in the prestige 2-liter market.

Even before the formation of BLMC, Leyland had envisioned a unified, multi-brand lineup with Triumph, Rover, and Alvis. Now, future Triumph and Rover models would have to be weighed against (and compete for corporate attention and funds with) not only one another, but also Jaguar and some of the very same middle-class brands whose lunch money the P6 and Triumph 2000 had been stealing — an awkward situation, to say the least.


Months earlier, before the merger, Triumph management had decided that the 2000 was in need of a stylistic freshening up. At that time, Triumph was still busily developing the Stag, a new drophead grand tourer based on the 2000 and also designed by Italian freelance stylist Giovanni Michelotti. Although the structural relationship between the 2000 and the Stag was becoming ever more slender as development proceeded, Triumph decided the 2000 should at least look like the Stag, whose new SOHC V-8 the sedan was intended to one day share. Around mid-1967, Triumph commissioned Michelotti to handle the facelift of the sedan, which was codenamed Innsbruck. Michelotti’s proposal was approved by the board that fall.

1964 Triumph 2000 and 1972 Triumph 2.5 PI front/front 3q © 2012 Graham Robertson (CC BY 2.0 Generic - modified by Aaron Severson)
Triumph’s big sedans in Mk 1 and Mk 2 form: a 1964 Triumph 2000 (right) with a 1972 Triumph 2.5 PI sedan (left). The Mk 2’s central body structure was largely carryover, but new front and rear clips, a wider rear track, and a heavily revised interior made the Mk 2 look different both inside and out. Both versions were designed by Michelotti, who styled many of Triumph’s sixties cars. (Photo: “Triumph 2000 Mk1 and 2500 Mk2” © 2012 Graham Robertson; resized and modified 2013 by Aaron Severson and used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license with modifications offered under the same license)

Innsbruck’s key feature was a new front end treatment with a broad, horizontally slatted grille and indicator lights similar to those of the Stag. The rear clip was new, too, with a semi-recessed cove for the taillights that also recalled the Stag, albeit not quite as loudly as did the nose. The tail was extended and the rear track widened to the same 52-inch (1,320mm) width as the front, eliminating the Mk 1 car’s “crab-toed” stance. The longer tail allowed the trunk to be enlarged, answering persistent complaints about the sedan’s limited luggage space.

While the body shells for the Mk 1 sedans had been produced by Pressed Steel Ltd. in Swindon, the tooling for Innsbruck was entrusted to the West German company Karmann, which had already impressed Triumph management by turning the TR5 into the new-looking but structurally carryover TR6. The main reason for going to Karmann was time: Triumph wanted Innsbruck done as soon as possible, presumably so that its launch could be as close as possible to the debut of the Stag, which was originally supposed to bow in 1968. Pressed Steel couldn’t accommodate that schedule, but Karmann could. The Stag’s debut ended up being delayed until June 1970, but the Mk 2 sedans bowed at the Geneva Auto Show in March 1969.

1971 Triumph 2000 Mk2 sedan front © 2007 Paul Brown (CC BY-SA 2.0 Generic)
1973 Triumph Stag front 3q © 2010 Aaron Severson
The early Mk 2 cars’ front-end treatment, seen here on a 1971 2000 sedan (top), was similar but not identical to that of the Stag (bottom). In mid-1974, the sedan and estate got a new grille that looked even more like the Stag’s; this was used through the end of production. (Top: “Triumph 2000 my own car” © 2007 Paul Brown; used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license; bottom: author photo)

As we mentioned in our previous installment, despite the Mk 2’s cosmetic resemblance to the Stag, the chances of the sedan receiving the Stag’s V-8 engine were already disappearing. Spen King ordered the V-8 enlarged from about 2.5 liters (153 cu. in. or near enough) to 2,997 cc (183 cu. in.) in search of more torque, which required upgrading the Stag’s body structure, running gear, brakes, wheels, and tires accordingly. Using the enlarged V-8 in the sedan would mean making similar changes, which threatened to make the project prohibitively expensive.

Beyond that, the rationale for a V-8 sedan was no longer obvious, since its main effect would have been to cut into sales of the Rover 3500 and Jaguar XJ6. That had of course been precisely the idea, but in the wake of the BLMC merger, it represented a level of cannibalization British Leyland couldn’t afford. In the end, the only sedans to receive the V-8 were a half dozen or so development mules and a single finished car used for a time by sales director Linden Mills. Considering the V-8’s subsequent reliability problems, it was probably just as well.


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  1. Spent five years in London from ’69. These Triumphs were older folks cars and more than that, Daily Telegraph reading conservative types who couldn’t come to grips with the loss of Empire and long hair on men, years after the Beatles became popular. Met a few of these fossils. Anyone with the slightest bit of style and modernity bought the Rover 2000, rather than the incredibly gangly and awkward looking Triumph. The Rover looked great.

    The real sales leaders were the Cortina and Capri 1600E models, with Rostyle wheels. They looked good, had a decent engine and were everywhere. The Corsair appealed to the tweedy types on reduced means who couldn’t afford the Rover, so sales were slim, not helped by the clunky V4. From 1972 or so, the new Ford Granada with Essex V6 and finally sorted-out IRS did quite well

    When the flash harry Cortina came out looking like a miniature ’65 Chev, private buyers tended towards Volvo 144s instead of Cortina Ghias which were labelled coarse and American. BMWs cost a fortune. Audi 100 LS was the cheap big German car you saw everywhere, and the Saab 99 did well right from the start.

    Chrysler was in the process of ruining Rootes from solid cars to cheap, cheap tin boxes like the Hillman Avenger (Cricket) and the 160 and 180, and quickly became irrelevant. Chrysler were even more inept than BMH. The slack there was taken up by Peugeot who bought one of the old Rootes factories from Chrysler, and began to do very well in the UK market.

    BMH, well they were trying to flog Austin Maxis and Allegros and Morris Marinas, but the new VW Passat began to kind of cut the legs out of their market for FWD cars that didn’t, quite frankly, suck. Folks with less money and notions of buying British continued to buy Minis and Austin 1100/1300 and became inured to stalling out in the rain – never saw any other models by the side of the motorways in wet weather.

    This Triumph was the last of the old-fogey mobiles. Anyone, and I mean anyone who could barely afford them bought the Jaguar XJ6 2.8, 170 bhp. A ride in one of those was like stepping into the future compared to this mass market stuff, but nobody thought the less of you for getting a Rover 3500 or the big old Rover 3 litre with the Buick V8 – the Chrysler 300 of 2004 looked like a bad copy of that big Rover.

    The Triumph 2000 was really mediocrity for the wannabe uppercrust who wanted leather seats and a bit o’ wood on the dash, while they ambled down country lanes, dreaming of the Raj. Not sustainable. The world had changed.

    My question really is, why did you pick this underachiever to feature on this site?

    1. The 2000 was certainly a much more conservative and less technologically ambitious car than the Rover, but I’d be hard-pressed to call the Triumph an underachiever (especially compared to definite underachievers of the time like the Austin 3-Litre). From a commercial standpoint, the Triumph outsold the four-cylinder Rovers, usually by a solid if not overwhelming margin.

      The XJ6 was more sophisticated, but was also a good bit more expensive: At launch, the cheapest XJ6 2.8 was £385 more than a 2000 and still had more of a flash bookmaker aura than I assume your typical middle-class Tory wanted to embrace. Jaguar sold about as many Series I 2.8 saloons in five years as Triumph moved in one, so Triumph clearly had a niche.

      It’s no surprise that the Cortina 1600E sold better than all of them, but then the Cortina was a step down in size and two steps down in price, so they were not direct competitors in that sense.

    2. Enjoyed reading this article, very comprehensive and well-written.

      I join the others in disagreeing with Bruce Armstrong, although the points he made regarding Chrysler’s management of the Rootes Group and BMH’s (so-called) product line were spot on. The Hillman Avenger, however, was a solid and reliable saloon. The CHRYSLER Avenger which it devolved into, was more worthy of your comments.

      Firstly, I don’t consider the Triumph saloon to be “gangly” at all. Yes, the glass area looks too high and the body too narrow when viewed from the rear, but the lengthened Mk2 shape has good side-on proportions and frontal styling looks handsome and aggressive. I like the styling of the Rover P6 also, but don’t think it’s higher level of modernity compensated for that rear wheel arch being cut off far too low. Made the boot section look like it belonged on a different car, a ‘la those horrible current 7-Series bootlids!

      Unlike nowadays, you used to be able to buy a true entry-level luxury car. I lament how cars like this don’t exist in the modern marketplace. I’m talking about a car not priced high enough to be unaffordable to most people (Jag’s, Benzo’s, etc) or a tarted up entry-level model (Cortina Ghia, Vauxhall Cresta) based on the same design and mechanicals as said cheaper sibling. The Triumph and Rover 2000’s were perfect entry-level luxury cars, offering more refinement and class than the mainstream saloons but without exorbitant price tags. Basically, the equivalents of Mercury and Oldsmobile in the Ford and GM lineups.

      If you were a “wannabe uppercrust” individual who thought a “bit o’ wood on the dash” (real or fake) and leather/pleather seats made your car more desirable and aspirational…..

      You’d have walked right past the Triumph dealership and bought a Wolseley 1800.


    3. Are you sure xj6 series1 2.8 had 170bhp? Seen 140bhp quoted…thanks..

      1. It was 180 bhp, actually (I just now looked it up) … but, that was when Jaguar was still commonly quoting outputs in the old SAE gross system. I don’t know recall offhand if Jaguar quoted a net or DIN figure for the early 2.8-liter engine at launch, but either way, 140 hp net sounds about right. So, the answer to this one is, “Yes — and also yes.”

    4. That’s not quite how I remember things : ) A lot of people (most) would claim the Triumph saloons had a sportier, younger image than Rover in the sixties and seventies. It was Triumph after all, not Rover, that built sports cars ….

      1. On the other hand, in general deportment, the Triumph 2000/2.5 PI/2500 felt more Roverish while the Rover 2000 was more what one might have expected from Triumph. A conundrum, to be sure, but it didn’t seem to do the sales of either car any harm.

    5. I’d dispute the 1600 engine. A wheezy gutless pig. Hard to work on.
      The 2000 OHC engine was vastly superior to the Kent.

  2. I can’t agree with Bruce Armstrong. Having grown up in 50’s London, I equated Triumph with sporty cars because of the TR line, while Rover was universally equated with conservative middle-aged professionals. The Rover P6 was certainly adventurous, but the interior of the pre-facelift models was decidedly “pipe and slippers” and as a youngster I found the Triumph more appealing.

    1. Triumph’s reputation was certainly why Standard decided that brand had more traction, market-wise, than the Standard marque.

      Speaking both as an American and with the benefit of hindsight, it’s harder for me to judge how the cars were perceived in their time, but from my perspective, both the P6 and the Triumph 2000 had their points and were different enough in character (while still occupying the same class) that it’s clear why there was a healthy market for both. The P6 is really more my style, but it’s not difficult to understand the appeal of traditional English luxury cues in a tidier and more modern package.

  3. when i was younger i allways wanted a triumph, and the one i finally got was a 2500 pi, mk2 and it was allready 12years old when i got it,but i loved it, everything about it, i loved the power, the 3speed auto,the fake leather seats,the full sun roof,every time i drove it felt special,and it was solid,i loved the admiring looks it got, people would come up to me in a garage and ask if i wanted sell it.and on top of all that it was a beautiul looking car.and it drove so smooth, what an engine,out of all the cars i have ever owned, my favourite will allways be my 2.5 PI,HOWEVER it was not the most reliable of cars, but than it was getting on.and as for running costs, the crude lucas petrol injection system, really was not up to much,even back than i was never ending putting fuel in it,but as far as i was concerned,it was worth every a fan of all triumphs,but, but 2500,well a different class….

  4. Given the reliability problems with the early SD1, it’s maybe for the best that BL didn’t try to engineer any additional versions, although the one off estate looked great. Supposedly the Rover 213/216 that succeeded the Acclaim was to be badged a Triumph.

    Ironically long after the demise of the mass market executive class, the Jaguar XF eventually topped the UK executive sales chart, although in the last couple of years it has again lost out to newer German rivals. I wonder if the forthcoming 3-series rival will do the same.

    Another great article Aaron, have you considered covering the disastrous BMC 1800/2200 land crab and it’s stylish but badly built successor the Leyland Princess/Ambassador. Or on a slightly more upbeat note the Jaguar XJ6 and the XJ40, which I think holds the record for the longest gestation period of any car.

    1. It would have made sense for the Rover 213 to be badged as a Triumph, since the Acclaim was based on the Mk1 Honda Ballade and the Rover 200-series was based on the Ballade Mk2, but BL/Austin Rover had already decided to consolidate its brands. In some cases, I don’t think it mattered much — I don’t know that many tears were shed for Morris, for instance, but with Triumph, I think that was regrettable.

      In retrospect, it’s probably just as well that BL didn’t try to do any spinoffs of the SD1 given the trouble they had just building the basic car in a satisfactory manner, but I do think that even without those issues, they basically halved their market share by abandoning the big Triumphs.

      No plans for the Land crab in the near future, although they covered it recently over at Curbside Classic.

  5. Good article! Although I can see the virtues of the Rover P6, the “big saloon” Triumph (as it was nick-named back then, put one next to any modern car now and you see that they are really small) always “did” much more for me. That silky six, better styling … The broad pleated leather seats and plasticky dash of the Rover did not help too.
    I had a 2000 Mk2 (1972) with leather upholstery – this was still an option for Mk2 cars. Have seen other Mk2’s with leather too so that needs changing in the article. For me the 2000 Mk1 is the best of the bunch, original 60’s looks and better materials, a bit nimbler and lighter, “futuristic” dash although the Mk2 dash is nice too.

    Rootes is missing from your site! What about an article on Hillman in the USA as seen by the Americans? I would love to read the American point. They did quite well in the 50’s with the Minx as a small car (saloon, estate and convertible, luxury Singer versions). Later tried with the Imp which was a great car but not quite for the USA. The Imp is a similar story like the Corvair – a great concept but reliability problems killed it. Mostly caused by bad production but also by non-understanding too-simple Hillman dealers / mechanics which were not used to modern technology.

    1. Thanks for the note on the leather. That clarifies a point with which I’d struggled; a lot of contemporary reviews imply that the choices on the Mk2 were Ambla or Bri-Nylon, although I couldn’t see why even British Leyland wouldn’t sell you leather on a car like this if you were willing to pay for it. (Photos aren’t especially helpful on this point.) I’ve amended the text.

      I hope to get to the Rootes Group at some point, although possibly starting with the Sunbeam Alpine/Tiger, which are about the only ones that have much recognition today. (There are collectors in the States with Imps — I’ve seen some — but not many.) I suppose there’s also the Horizon, if you want to count that, although that was developed after Chrysler’s acquisition and I don’t think most Americans are really aware that there WAS a European version.

  6. My father had a 2.5 PI …..FXD 611J…….No power steering, static seat belts, overdrive. It was maroon with tan plastic interior. He bought it in 1972 from Henleys and sold it in 1982. The car did 140,000 miles in my father’s hands, the fuel pump let him down once and that was it. Lots of great memories, but i remember cruising at 100 mph on the motorway and then accelerating to 115 mph. A great car that was way ahead of its time. PI is now on almost every car now. The PI was not the problem, the problem was fitters who were used to A40’s, Morris Minors and Marina’s who had no idea what they were doing.

    1. The Mk2 PI system suffered assembly issues, to be sure, but there were also a number of design flaws, including the fuel starvation issue (eventually resolved, but annoying) and the tendency to overheat the fuel pump. I suppose those were not the fault of the injection system per se, but some aspects of the production Mk2 system were really not ideal. For example, the engineers at Lucas were not keen on Triumph’s multiple-butterfly/crank-lever system, which was not what they’d originally designed and opened the door to synchronization problems, especially at high mileage or if the linkage was disassembled for any reason.

      In a real sense, later electronic fuel injection systems are less complicated (albeit more sophisticated) than the earlier mechanical units. The mechanical systems used for racing and aircraft engines were simpler still, but racing engines don’t spend a lot of time at idle or part-throttle, so competition systems like the Lucas Mk1 could get by with a straightforward throttle linkage for the fuel cam. Once you started trying to design a mechanical system for road cars, you ran into trouble because it takes a complex vacuum metering system to cope with extended tickover or part-throttle cruising. The mechanical systems could be made to work pretty well, but many of them are bears to fix if the metering unit goes wrong. It generally takes a well-trained and very competent technician to set it up properly, which was definitely the case with the Lucas Mk2 system. (That’s why Triumph advised service technicians not to even try opening or adjusting the metering unit and recommended replacing it instead — although that presupposes that the replacement unit is set up properly, which wasn’t necessarily the best assumption!)

      Beyond that, the 2.5 PI engine had what we could call foibles, as distinct from flaws. The early engines had a rather hot cam profile and relied on the injection (set up quite rich, from what I can tell) to avoid overcarburetion at lower engine speeds. That provided a lot of power, but made tickover a bit hairy, which a lot of owners didn’t like. It’s not difficult to see how the system developed a bad reputation, even if it was a little worse than it actually deserved.

  7. I finished Part 2 today at lunch and read Part 1 last week. These cars are really attractive to me. I actually used to think the Stag was a rehashed 2000, so it was interesting to read all the development details of them both. Great article!

  8. I just stumbled on this site a couple of days ago after searching for info on the Buick Riviera.

    What a great series of Triumph articles. Very informative about how these cars came into being, and their place in the motoring landscape.

  9. Nice interesting reading. Something that has always puzzled me is why the Stag dashboard is so much narrower ( a good 4″) than the 2000/2.5 when all were built supposedly on the same floorpan. Where did those inches disappear to in the Stag?

    1. The Stag is a little bit narrower than the Mk2 sedan, but the difference in overall width (without mirrors) is only about an inch and a half, which I think is accounted for by the Stag’s distinct fenders. (The Stag and the Mk2 2000/2500 share no exterior panels.) The front and rear track dimensions are also identical or nearly so, so I think the difference in overall width is in the sheet metal rather than the structure. As for the dashboard, I haven’t found any indication in my research as to WHY Triumph didn’t just use the same dash for both. Given the Stag’s price, I could see a justification if the Stag dash looked distinct, but the two panels look so similar that even when the cars were new, some press reports claimed the Stag used the sedan’s fascia, which is clearly not the case. It is puzzling.

  10. My late father was a keen Triumph devotee back in the 60’s.Having previously owned an Austin Westminster, followed by two Morris Oxfords,he bought his first 2000 new in 1966 in gunmetal blue with blue interior,costing about 1000 pounds.It was a revelation at the time with wood door cappings,quality carpets,and generally good build quality.At that time you were “noticed” driving around in one,it was classy.

    The engine,although no fireball knocked out 90bhp and 117lb/ft of torque.It could hit the magic “ton” and impressively was flexible enough to pull away cleanly from 10mph in top gear.

    Taken by the car,he bought his second in 1968 in Valencia blue,and came standard with black leather interior,lovely car,smell inside was great!

    His final Triumph before moving on to Audi 100’s was a 1970 mk 2 in sienna brown with tan interior.This was a marked improvement over the mk1 with improved interior and body styling.

    Definitely a landmark car and will always have fond memories of the 66 model.

    1. The 2-liter cars had adequate power with manual shift (and were very smooth and flexible as long as you stayed south of 5,000 rpm), although none of them were quite powerful enough to hit a true 100 mph without a slight grade or favorable wind — the speedometer was shall we say prone to flattery. On the other hand, Standard Triumph were well aware that with the 2-liter six, anything you added on top you would lose on the bottom, both in flexibility and economy, so in that regard they found a reasonable compromise. (The injected cars of course are another matter.)

      The Mk1 is an interesting-looking car and I would say the more original design, although it’s hard not to argue that the Mk2 is the handsomer version and I think somewhat better-proportioned as well. (The Mk2 also looks bigger, although it really is only marginally so, while the Mk1 seems smaller in person than it actually is.)

  11. The first and the last Big Triumph, with a long career (1963-77) says much about the original design which was a big hit from day one. The car sold very well in most markets (US market was a failure, only offered in the Mk1 version) – however the Mk2 as Autocar said in 1969, about the 2.5 Pi Mk2, “Wake up British Leyland, you are producing the best mid size saloon money can buy…”
    Had Triumph been funded correctly the Triumph V8 (3000) would no doubt have been installed and would have been a fitting flagship. There was talk by BL in the mid 70s of running the Mk2’s alongside the Rover SD1, but sadly it wasn’t mean’t to be. The cars were still selling well right up to their demise, which demonstrates the loyal customer base the range enjoyed…. Sadly for BL their demise and quality control problems on the Rover Sd1 saw many customers jump ship, such as my Dad to the plethora of executives saloons which had infiltrated the market by the late 70s….. Fords Granada’s 2.3 /2.8, Cortina 2.3, Volvo’s240/260, Reanult 20/30s, Saab 900, Aud’s 100 all muscled in and the rest as they say is history…… My own personal choice would be a late 2500S with overdrive, power steering, tints and of course broad-cord nylon seats, with a webasto sunroof to finish the car off….. One day!

    1. I’ve got that car !
      pimento red. I had to make it from two others but I had a vision and i wasn’t gonna stop until it materialized. take one 2.5TC. add a 2500S running gear including alloys and anti roll bar and dash and you’ve got the car in your preferred colour. when finishing year 12 school – I would walk to the bus stop and notice an S parked outside a particular house and told myself one day I’d have one….well I have a stag a 2500s and a motorbike(new triumph)

  12. Great article Aaron – well written
    We had both the P6 & Triumph 2000’s CKD assembled in Nelson, New Zealand. The Triumph was the cheaper car & better suited to the NZ conditions here, where top speed was not an issue, but rather, good suspension & grunt for towing our undulating roads. Probably outsold the P6 2 to 1
    I had the P6 2000 for approx. 5 years, which I found very reliable & comfortable but agonizingly slow & heavy on our hills – talk about an over engineered car! Bought a Peugeot 404 followed by a 504 – lighter & way more suspension + a little quicker off the line than either british barges.
    It was felt in these parts, that the Triumphs were not well screwed together, local assembly was blamed, however the P6 was OK. The XJ6 was assembled on the same line as well & had many reliability issues.

    Arron, I’d love to hear your comments on the under-rated pugs as well as the Renault 16? Presumably these were on the U.S. market?

    1. We did get the 16 for a while, although I can’t say I’ve ever even seen one.

  13. I think the 2.5 PI is greatly underrated. The silky smooth 6-cylinder engine giving effortles cruising, yet sufficient punch for something a bit more aggressive. Mine was a successor to a very hot Lotus Elan +2 and although not in that league did not disappoint. Its successor was an Alfetta.
    The car was utterly reliable untlil the fuel pump decided to stop working in the rush hour traffic queue southbound at the Comet roundabout on the A1. Cue embarrassment, a push, a pint, an on the way again. I loved it.
    The contemporary Rover 2200TC had better suspension, roadholding and a horrible instrument layout. The engine was unreliable, tending to chew its bearings at 20000 miles…
    By comparison the Alfas I had after were mechanically bomb-proof. Theit interiors fell to bits with time and they rotted, but, what the heck, they drove brilliantly.

    1. That seems to have been more or less the critical consensus of the time: that the Rover handled better, but that the Triumph (with either of the sixes) had a drivetrain more in keeping with the luxury car image. Was yours a Mk1 or Mk2? Some of the early problems (such as the fuel pump starvation issue) were eventually resolved, although the reputation lingered.

  14. I have a 1968 Australian assembled Mk 1 Triumph that has an upgraded TR5 spec, fuel injected 2.5 in it, and it absolutely flies.
    I’m not sure where the barge like handling comments come from either, mine had Pedders suspension put in it close to 20 years ago, and with 1″ smaller diameter wheels and 225 profile tyres it handles like a go cart, but even with the standard suspension and 175’s it used to comfortably out handle, and out brake any stock 6 cyl ford, or holden from the same era.

    1. I’ve never seen anyone call it a barge, and I don’t think I did. The Triumph was a modest-sized, reasonably well-balanced sedan with fully independent suspension, front discs, and (usually) radial tires, so it was in another league from big American or Australian sedans of the period. (On the other hand, big American and Australian sedans of the late sixties didn’t exactly set a high bar for handling or braking prowess, at least without optional equipment that I think was more common on test cars than in the real world.) However, comparing the Triumph to other contemporary British or European sedans of some sporting pretension, as contemporary testers did, it was clear that it was more comfort-biased.

  15. Reading this brings back memories .Years ago dad bought a Triumph Mk2 2.5 PI .Compared with the other Australian offerings at prices my dad could
    afford it was a revelation in comfort and road holding.Nice to travel
    in it had low wind noise good brakes and plenty of overtaking power.
    The fuel injection pump would need ice around it sometimes on hot days
    I liked it so much I bought it of my Dad when he sold it.It did need
    a fair bit of TLC by the time I had it but at least I was rewarded with
    something nice to drive and I drove it hard
    The worst point was extremely heavy steering at parking speeds.
    Still not bad to look at considering how long ago they were built.
    I believe the body was designed by Bertone.

  16. I just realised the body was by Michelotti not Bertone

    1. Yup — as explained in Part 1 of the article, Michelotti did the 2000/2.5 PI, along with many (though not all) of Triumph’s other cars of this period.

  17. I still own a TR5 ( first Triumph with the 2.5 fuel injected six). In 1976 I owned an auto 2.5 PI. Built like a tank, smooth as sand off a silver spoon and, for a family car, an advanced specification and cosseting comfort. It was, as many have said, also a handsome and striking car that was among Micholotti’s best efforts for Triumph. Much admired and a solid seller in Australia, it held its own against the thrust of BMW and was considered a worthy rival, both in performance and market position. With wife and 4 yr old son aboard, on a trip to west New South Wales, the Triumph had easily swallowed three hundred miles since an early start from.Sydney. I decided to push on at dusk to the next large town, a hundred miles on. The car dispatched this in just on 75 minutes, wife and son dozing unconcerned at 100 mph indicated, the car totally in its stride and unfussed. With fitment of a Bosch fuel pump and attention by a good mechanic, the Fuel Injection system never caused s moment’s worry.Very underrated, these superb vehicles could have been the basis for Triumph to go on to battle BMW with proper funding and development, sadly not achieved in the dog’s breakfast of British Leyland. As for the sneering condescension of your first responder, he tells us more of his own inadequacies than to properly comment on a great line of cars. Your article was much appreciated and comprehensive, if somewhat understated.

    1. Several people have commented about the Triumph sedans being rivals for BMW – it is somewhat ironic then that I believe BMW now own the rights to the name Triumph! There has been occasional rumours of them producing something with the Triumph name on it but nothing so far.

      1. Even more ironic is that the founder of Triumph (in its original form, before being resurrected by Standard in the ’40s) was German, looking for a catchy brand name for the English market.

  18. I have owned 4 Triumph 2000s the first being an ex Oxfordshire police car that was a mk1 and a 2.5 but the injection had been replaced by 175 cds because they did not trust the injection system. I then hankered after a mk2 and purchased one but it was a proper rot box. This was due to the body panels being of foreign origin and were rusty when it came out of the factory. My 3rd one was an estate and I really loved it. Its main fault was it was a 1973 car and I had to pay road fund license on it. I sold it in 2007 for very little money. Last year I purchased a mk2 auto in a very sorry state but I have persevered and it is now fully restored. The only problem with them now is that body spares are very hard to come by. This is due to the banger racers smashing them up and suppliers do not want to hold stocks. I love these cars as they are smooth, heavy and are different to anything else on the road.

  19. great article
    well written and researched
    I am lucky to own a time warp 1970 PI that went into hibernation in 1974 and was re awakened last year.
    Now fully restored it is like new and still smells of new car. Having had herald and still having a GT6 the upscaling in the quality and luxury of the Big saloon compared to its siblings is amazing.
    It is an absolute pleasure to drive .

    Re body panels see the register website or club triumph website as lloyd reed is getting many re manufactured.

    My car will be in triumph world in near future

  20. I cannot agree with mr Armstrong my dad bought out first 2.5 pic when I was 9 yrs old a white one with red interior went all the way to Italy and back never had problem with injection system and now he has another two no problems with it . I have now bought a mint condition one no rust like new for 9000 pound only done 34000 miles from new and is no my prize possesion I intend to show this car and be on the cover of triumph world .
    Theses cars were way ahead of their time and first salon with injection system every manufacturer laughed now look every car is injection

    1. As regards the injection, I think it’s work pointing out that electronic fuel injection is actually simpler in many respects than mechanical injection of the kind Triumph used for the 2.5 PI. The great challenge of indirect injection, at least for passenger cars, is metering. For race cars, aircraft engines, and so forth, it’s simpler because the engine spends most of its time at or near full throttle, but passenger cars are a huge headache — not only do they need to be able to perform at WOT, they need to idle well and tolerate all manner of erratic part-throttle operation.

      With injection, handling those complex metering demands really requires a computer, whether digital or analog. An analog system of the required sophistication (like the various mechanical injection systems offered on production cars) tends to be extremely complicated and thus potentially very delicate or very finicky — you have lots of weights, springs, and linkages that have to be adjusted just so for everything to work properly. By comparison, electronic injection is much easier, which is why electronic systems have become commonplace and reliable whereas many mechanical ones had a reputation for being difficult to maintain.

      For the record, the 2.5 PI was the first British saloon car with fuel injection, but it was not the first. Mercedes-Benz, Chevrolet, and Pontiac all offered mechanical injection well before Standard-Triumph did. That’s no aspersion on the Triumph, of course — many automotive things go back much further than one would expect!

      1. A timely reminder. All too often the American car industry does not get the credit it deserves. Only months ago I had to correct
        an Australian article that claimed BMW were the first with a production turbo.
        And thank you yet again for an entertaining & informative article,

  21. I was under the impression the Twin Carb version was first done here in New Zealand at the Nelson assembly plant due to the unreliability and expense of fixing the Lucas injection system.
    And kiwis loathe being told they can’t fix something, and have to shell out heaps for imported parts instead!
    The twin SUs needed setting up too. A friend’s father had. 2.5 TC. The garage couldn’t balance the carbs well, so he got a Haynes Manual and decided to do it himself. Each Saturday morning he tinkered and after a few weeks it ran well. Then he left it. A year or so later he tuned it again, with the inevitable few weeks of rough running.
    Thereafter he spent 20 minutes EVERY Saturday morning tuning the car, as much to keep himself in tune in doing it as the car. Thereafter he was in demand to tune a ll the twin SU stuff, MG, Triumph and more!

  22. Again thank you for such an interesting article.
    The numerous and interesting replies are a testament to Brtish car, and considerable Triumph sedan passion.
    I’m struck by that Cupid arrow too, and as for many, Dad’s to blame
    In my case he bought 2nd hand a Mk1 2000 with bog standard everything as he was climbing the food chain, and I suppose wanted the comfort, as well as the symbol probably. I never asked him and can’t now.
    As a long haired teenager, he gave me the choice of working to get money and pay for lessons, or drive with him every day for a year.
    Lazier than him I suppose, and thrilled with idea of impressing my my mates as I arrived at six form college, I chose latter option. It was the best school with rush hour traffic every morning and night, there must have been a lot of gear changing and clutch control learned then. Frankly I don’t remember any of that, I do remember being in a dream as we floated twards my driving test.
    Lessons were obligatory, and thanks to Jeff Torr for telling me to push the accelerator on his 1600E as he taught me the fundamentals, the license came first time.
    Dad’s patience ruined me.
    After a year driving with him, the legacy of 6cyl smoothness means I can’t drive any less.
    It’s that laziness again.
    I mean driving around all day in 3rd and 4th, well it’s not everybody’s idea of driving, but it became mine.
    Today I drive a 22yr old 325i, and a joy.
    But it’s not British.
    Even though I’ve been surrounded by French and Italian tin for the last 32yrs, smitten all those years ago, has led me to acquire a 1972 mk2 2.5pi
    Dunno if there’s many easy ways to find parts in this area of France where I live. I’ll raid what I cna find since its been off the road since 1992!!
    This one was first registered in November 72, so I am guessing it has the hotter cam. Is there a register to determine that?
    Does anyone know if the roll fitted to the later “S” is bolt on?
    Are the Bosch replacement pumps freely available?
    We’re options bundled?
    I have yet to collect the car I’ve purchased, which does have leather and overdrive, dunno if those came bundled with power steering or all were separate options.

    Thanks for keeping the Triumph flag flying. I don’t compare, I enjoy each, they’re landmarks in our British car heritage, all have their place, but the big T sedan was technically the first car I drove and no one ever cut that umbilical.

    1. Ian,

      I’m afraid I don’t have answers for most of your questions. I can’t comment on replacement parts (I really don’t track that sort of thing and I’m no mechanic, so I’m the wrong one to ask about fixing things). Regarding the cam, that could be very tricky to verify for certain short of actually pulling the camshaft and checking its markings, particularly since it sounds like your car would be an early 1973 model year example. In the pre-smog era, it was not uncommon for cars built around a changeover point to end up as “mules” of sorts, if only to use up stocks, and there’s always the chance a previous owner made their own substitution.

      Regarding the options, that’s difficult to answer with any confidence. On Mk2 cars, real leather was definitely separate (as vinyl upholstery was standard and some 2.5 PIs had cloth seats). I’ve never seen anything suggesting power steering had to be ordered with overdrive, but new car order forms follow their own logic entirely and if someone said, “Well, when I bought mine new, the salesman said they couldn’t be ordered separately, even though there was a separate charge for each,” I would be inclined to take their word. Also, option-bundling has always been a popular merchandising strategy, so even if the factory didn’t offer any bundles, I wouldn’t necessarily be surprised to see an individual dealer doing so as a local promotion. (Things like that are terribly difficult to track decades later!)

    2. Check your engine number for knowing if yours is the hot cam version. The change was about August 1972 manufacture date, not registration date. See the Triumph 2000 register website for details. There are other French registered PI’s there, so you are not alone. The S anti roll bar makes a huge difference and is bolt on. It’s brackets are welded to the engine mount crossmember. You will also need the drag links with the anti roll bar brackets welded on (or find Stag ones)and drop links. Ken Mills (search KMI) in the UK do a very acceptable rebuilt Lucas pump so no need with a Bosch one. For parts search Chris Witor and join the 2000 Register. You can’t go wrong

      1. Thanks for the info, Graham!

  23. in my opinion the styling of the triumph 2500 is the best of all time even if the car is a bit too big

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