GARAGE GURUS OUR SHED, OUR CARS, OUR STORIES
“GROWING OLD is inevitable, growing up is optional” or so the adage goes. But did I really need to go back 40 years to find another old, cranky British sports sedan?
In January of 1974 I bought the first car I could truly call mine. It was a Mark 1 Triumph 2000 in British Racing Green and very flash with reclining bucket seats and slivers of timber decorating the dash.
A year later I bought a second and far better example. During two years of ownership it delivered 80,000 kilometres of fairly reliable motoring before being replaced by a Leyland P76 V8.
During the years since, the Chambers garage has been occupied by a variety of Brit or European brands including various Jaguars, Ford Escorts, a couple of Minis and even an Audi.
But there remained fond memories and a persistent hankering for another Triumph.
Finding Mark 1 2000s these days is near impossible and most of the later Mark 2 cars were either decrepit or automatic.
Then appeared this sporty example of the late-series 2500S. It’s an Australian-assembled car and plated December 1977 so one of the very last 2500s to be delivered. The fourspeed gearbox comes with overdrive on 3rd and 4th gears and enhancing the attraction was a nifty set of Minilite-inspired alloy wheels, uprated suspension and front seats from a latemodel Alfa Romeo.
Email chat was followed by a test-drive during which long-term owner Steve Murphy revealed the car had at one point been set up for semi-serious rallying and that the 2.5-litre engine was kicking out a fair bit more power than the factoryspec 79kW. Best of all, the sometimes troublesome overdrive clicked in and out instantly in response to a flick of the gearlevermounted switch.
With the deal done and step-son’s ute loaded with a pile of spare parts that came with the car all that remained was a gentle cruise to the Advanced Custom Worx at Yatala south of Brisbane where paint ‘n’ panel guru Troy Beaton would take care of some rust and paint issues.
That too proved traumatic, with a torrential downpour dumping 150mm in the space of five hours and the intrepid driver battling to keep the windscreen clear of mist as we surfed our way through the deluge.
Why the blacked-out bonnet? Rally historians will already know that answer but for the rest of us it has been
painted that way in tenuous homage to the 2500PI that defied every critic to finish second outright in the rugged 1970 World Cup rally. Those cars were black on white but the red provides a more strident contrast. Well I think so anyway.
Despite a purposeful stance (slightly lowered springs and 195-section rubber) and its matte-black nose the Triumph and ancient owner won’t be doing anything too serious in the motor sport arena. Doesn’t mean we’re going to just park and pose at car shows though. Dirt or bitumen sprints, the odd hill-climb and maybe a track day should satisfy any lingering need for speed.