This is a lovely early Triumph saloon from the immediate post war period. In super condition with great history and sporting a cameo role in the Netflix series “The Crown“ on its CV, this fine classic is a true survivor.
The Triumph 1800 saloon was one of the first, all new, British models to be launched after the end of the Second World War. Following the takeover by Standard at the end of the war, Triumph was keen to release a new model onto a market starved of cars. The result was this saloon and its sister, the Triumph roadster. Both cars utilised an upgraded version of Standard’s pre-war engine with a new head, the same engine being utilised in Jaguar’s 1.5 saloon. With an increased capacity of 1776cc, the engine provided modest but reliable performance.
The body was an in-house design by Triumph, handbuilt by Mulliner, using a strong steel chassis, a wood framed body and aluminium panelling including doors, boot lid and B post. As such, it bore comparisons with larger and more expensive cars produced by the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce in the late 1930s. The use of aluminium was a factor of the shortage of steel after the war rather than it being chosen deliberately to produce a lighter body. Nonetheless it would no doubt have contributed to a better power to weight ratio. Inside, the interior continued the luxury theme with a wood veneer dashboard, column mounted gear change and leather faced seats.
Although the inside is a nice, period place to be, what initially stands out today is the sharp edged bodywork. Now known across the Triumph range of this era as Razoredge, in the original brochures for these cars it was referred to as “knife-edge“. One aspect of the car which contributes to this is the location of the spare wheel within the boot lid allowing it to have a smooth exterior panel, not to mention a reasonable sized boot as well. This stylistic theme continued throughout the era of the more powerful 2-litre models, the 1949 Renown and the smaller engined and sized Mayflower. By the time the range ceased in the mid 1950s, it was looking decidedly dated as against the newer, rounder, American-inspired designs from the major manufacturers with their lack of separate wings and built-in headlights. For the owner today this has the happy effect of combining what looks essentially like a pre-war design with postwar engine and mechanicals.
This particular example has an interesting early history. Still sporting its original registration number as recorded on the buff logbook, it was first sold in Aberdeen city in April 1948 to a well regarded local stonemason whose wife ran a hairdressing salon. It came in one of the two standard colour schemes available at the time of black with a beige leather interior (the other being dark metallic grey with grey leather, although Dinky Toys produced more vibrant versions). He used the car for three years until it was sold at the end of May 1951 (after covering 11,000 miles) to a farmer in Aberdeenshire. It then remained in his and his son’s ownership until 1978: all of 27 years. After then it passed into the ownership of a succession of enthusiasts based mainly in the Tayside and North East Scotland regions.
In recent years it has been owned, successfully used and maintained by a classic wedding hire company near Edinburgh. It was they who had the lower half of the car repainted in cream to match other vehicles in their fleet. While it is not the original colour scheme, other Triumphs of this era have been similarly painted and the job has been done well and looks very smart. The interior has been kept nicely patinated but clean as its clientele would have demanded. The bright work is exceptionally good as the photographs show.
Prior to being repainted, the car had its brief claim to fame when it appeared in 2016 in episode 10 of series 1 of “The Crown“. It can be seen driving then Prime Minister Anthony Eden (played by Jeremy Northam) and his wife (Anna Madeley) into what is intended to portray the gates of Balmoral at the start of the Suez crisis. Still photos from this episode are in the file.
Other paperwork is quite extensive and includes:
- original buff logbook as mentioned above, plus later V5 registration documents and some tax discs,
- a variety of magazine articles and memorabilia,
- original and photocopy version of the owner’s instruction book,
- an original sales brochure for this model,
- service manual and spares catalogue,
- two extract articles from a journal designed for garages and service stations, “Motor Trader” – the first from October 1947 providing a full specification, wiring diagram and maintenance instructions and the second being service data from a February 1952 article about the later Renown,
- “The Book of the Triumph Cars“ from the contemporary Pitman Motorists Library series, the frontispiece of which is a photograph of one of these cars,
- a sheaf of MoT certificates covering the period 1997 to 2013 (the car now being exempt of course),
- plenty of invoices for service and spares orders, especially in later years, many of which come from the Razoredge Owners’ Club.
Chassis no. TD227IDL Engine no. 2254
This is a lovely example of a car which is both actually and fictionally historic and is looking for its next caring owner.