The Roadster has an immediate appeal in its trim, clean cut lines, set off by a frontal appearance satisfying to those who still prefer their cars to look like the traditional sports car. It is distinctive in its seating arrangements, being decidedly wide in the body and having a full three-seater bench seat as the main accommodátion, with thé addition of occasioaal seats in the tail, intended for fine weather use, though part of the lid of the compartment hinges up as a windscreeÍl for the passengers concerned. For luggage the tail compartment which contains these extra seats is decidedly roomy.
It is a drop-head style of body and the head is éasily put up and down, so it is a model to suit fresh air enthusiasts especially for use in climates where motoring can be counted upon as being pleasant for long periods of the year. Yet it affords,the protection of a saloon in the closed state, there being normal winding glass windows in the doors which, of course, can also be used for draught prevention with the head lowered.
Thus it will be seen that in its body arrangement this Triumph offers in the medium-priced range features of adaptability that are not, easily found today except at higher price or with special coachwork.
Performance and handling are of a kind which satisfactorily back up the atmosphere of individuality produced by the body style and by the basic arrangement of the car. The four-cylinder overhead valve engine has a quite wide range of top gear fIexibility, it is pleasantIy smooth and quiet, and permits good average speeds without fuss or effort. It cruises with a quiet ease within a quite narrow margin of its 75 m.p.h.- plus maximum speed and the performance is of a vividness which, as an instance during the test, allowed 18 miles to be covered in 20 minutes, over admittedly exceptionally favourable stretch of road.On several occasions mileages between 43 and 45 were covered in an hour. Driven with the intention of going from point to point as quickly as possible, this car is a rival to be reckoned with by the faster cars of the day .
Considered in comparison with the Roadster model previously fitted with the 1800 engine and a four-speed gear box,the present Vanguard-engined car with three speeds is quicker off the mark, as would be expected, and shows better acceleration throughout the range, though it has a not very much higher all-out speed than with the smaller engine. If further comparison is to be made as a matter of interest between the two models, that is, 1800 and Vanguard-engined it can be said that the use of three speeds as against four is little noticed, and, indeed, may be considered an ad vantage by some drivers w ho want a sporting kind of performance with minimum use of the gears. Help in this direction is given by the facts that the current car is appréciably lighter in total weight and top gear of the present three-speed box is slightly lower in ratio than top gear was in the four-speed box, whilst the present second gear ratio is not a great deallower than the former third and thus allows speeds up to 40 m.p.h. odd without stress, the ultimate maximum on second being over 50 for use in an occasional burst of acceleration.
In towns this car can be handled a good deal on top gear, and it will pull away smoothly enough from around 15 m.p.h. without appreciable pinking on low-grade fuel, whilst out on the open road it takes gradients satisfyingly in its ,fast swing; and is quick for overtaking and in regaining the cruising rate after slowing down for various reasons, the acceleration being cleanly responsive to the throttle pedal. The suspension independent in front by a transverse leaf springs gives a feeling of safety at speed, and provides good insulation against shock where surfaces deteriorate - in fact to a better degree in the latter respect, rather unexpectedly, than some modern suspensions of obviously softer characteristics, although some firmness is noticed in the Triumph at the lower speeds over poor surfaces. The lateral stability for fast cornering is good, and the steering, though fairly low geared, inspires confidence, whilst also being light at ordináry and fast speeds, with definite castor action and good automatic sense of direction; also it is not heavy for turning and manoeuvring.
From the outset the brakes impress one favourablv, and the good impression remains. They are of the Girling hydrostatic pattern, in which the linings make light rubbing contact with' the drums all the time. The result is that response of the brake pedal is noticeably dévoid of lost movement or delay, although. there is no suggestion of the brakes coming on fiercely. In an emergency they prove really powerful This braking system deals very satisfactorily with the performance of a quite fast car, and fading tendencies did not become apparent.
The gear lever operates in a ball socket mounted on the steering column, and is controlled by the right hand. The movement was a little stiff into second gear position on the car tested, and some movements of the lever are a trifle awkward in the space available between the column and the right-hand dóor, but the action between gear and gear is sufficientIy positive, and the effectiyeness of the synchromesh, which, unusually, is fitted o~ all three forward gears, is such that if quick changing upward 01: downward is desired it can be carried out without clashing gears. The movements ol a steeringr column gear lever are usually cleaner when, as in this case, only three speeds are used especially as regards finding' reverse, against which there is no form of stop on the Triumph.
An average-height driver finds a very good, close-up position behind the big single flexibly spoked steering wheel, and also considerable leg room, full depression of the clutch pedal calling for a fairly long reach. The back rest of the seat gives good support, and the seat as a whole is conveniently adjustable fore and aft by means of a central lever. There is. a comfortable position for the left toot off the clutch pedal. Driving vision is admirable. Both front wings are in full view in a now exceptional way that makes for complete confidence in judging distances, this being a thoroughly praiseworthy feature which has been almost lost in modern cars. The driver looks on to a fairly long but not too high bonnet, and owing to the exceptional width of the windscreen the pillars are not obstructive, whilst breadth of vision at the often valuable acute angle to the left is noticeably good. Three windscreen wiper blades are fitted.
Full value is gained from the use of a óne-piece front seat by the gear lever being out of the way on the steering column and the hand-brake lever of pull-and-push type beneath the facia board, and the driver can use either door for getting in and out. So wide is the seat that for use by the driver alone, or when only one passenger is carried, it has at its centre a folding arm rest óf considerable dimensions.
Pleasing use is made, in British quality style, of good quality leather upholstery and of polished woodwork for the facia board and the door fillets. The drop head being of comparatively small area it does not tend to flap at high speed and, indeed, there is nothing about the body which suggests other than normal saloon construction when the car is running, except for a certain blindness at the rear quarters noticed at times and the absence of sun vizors.
Special provision is not made for fitting an interior héater or for windscreen de-misting and de-icing; the car tested was fitted with a non-standard electrical de-icer attached direct to the inside of the windscreen.
Detalls of Importance
Instruments, in a neat gouping, include that valuable gaúge, an engine water thermometer, as well as an oil pressure gauge, but not an ammeter, in place of which there is a red tell-tale light. In either side of the facia board is an exceptionally deep compartment with a lid, in addition to door pockets. Twin wind-tone horns give a pleasing, powerful note, and a very good beam indeed comes from the out-built head lamps, which are of appreciably larger diameter than the now common built-in lamps. The driving mirror gives a first-ráte view behind. In conjunction with the gear lever position a white reversing light is switched on at night. The bonnet opens at the sides on a central hinge, ánd good accessibility is given to the various engine auxiliaries and also to the tools for wheel changing. Throughout the test the engine fired at once from cold, but required more than one pressure on the, starter switch before it ran evenly.