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an old Triumph advert promoting the Tiger 70

Triumph were cycle and motor manufacturers once located in Coventry.

The Triumph Cycle Company began as cycle manufacturers at Much Park Street, Coventry in 1889. Yet the origins began in London four years earlier when Germans, Siegfried Bettmann (1863-1951) and Mauritz Schulte (b.1858) began selling British built cycles abroad under the ‘Triumph’ name.

After some early developmental work, it was in 1902 that Triumph marketed their first motorcycles at new works at Priory Street, Coventry. It was through the manufacture of motorcycles that was to make Triumph a household name. During the First World War, the company secured a deal supplying some 30,000 models for active war service, and these were soon labelled ‘Trusty Triumph’s’ by the soldiers that used them.

Production continued with great confidence into the 1920s, but by the beginning of the 1930s, the business, like many others, fell on hard times and almost collapsed entirely. Up stepped Jack Sangster of the Ariel Company to take control, and before long he drafted in a number of personnel who would alter the company’s fortunes, most notably that of Edward Turner. In 1937 Turner unveiled the 500cc ‘Speed Twin’, a machine that revolutionised the motorcycle world through its design.

In November 1940, the Coventry factory was all but destroyed by German bombers, but production recommenced at a new site at Meriden and remained so for a further 40 years creating iconic machines such as the ‘Tiger’ range, and the ‘Bonneville’. Triumph motorcycles are still being made to this day at Hinckley.

Considering that motorcycle production began at Triumph in 1902, the production of cars did not come about until 1923 with the 10/20 two-seater. The ‘Super Seven’ arrived in 1928 and was followed by a number of other small capacity cars into the 1930s such as the ‘Gloria’. Models like the ‘Dolomite’ followed until the outbreak of WW2. Afterwards, Triumph became part of the Standard Motor Company; the first car introduced being the 1800 razor-edged saloon. Many notable Triumph models followed including the ‘Mayflower’ in 1949, the ‘Herald’ ten years later, and the ‘Stag’ in 1970 amongst many others.

The last car to carry the Triumph name was the ‘Acclaim’ which ran until 1984.
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