Graham Shipman – Archivist & Registrar
Born in the late 1950s I am too young to remember seeing pre-war Triumphs on the roads as the majority had been consigned to the scrap yard by the early 1960’s. My great uncle Jack owned a Gloria during and after the war. As a boy I heard many stories about it, especially the one when it could not keep up with my grandfather’s Talbot Ten! This photograph shows him with his family standing by his Gloria in 1947.
My interest in Triumphs started with post-war models when my dad bought a new 2000 Mk1 in 1966. It made a big impression on me as I remember it looking low and sleek compared with his previous Austins. In the late 1960s I did a school project on Triumph, basing it on my photos of Triumphs spotted in the area where I lived (south Hertfordshire), magazine cuttings and the brochures I managed to scrounge from local dealerships. This project has formed the basis of my current collection of pre & post-war Triumph literature.
I passed my driving test in 1976 and bought a Toledo which was followed by many other Triumph models including Heralds, 2000 & 2500PI, Dolomites and TRs. In 1978 I joined the TR Register and soon after bought my TR4A (which I still own). I was an active member of the TR Register’s Lea Valley Group between 1978 and 1990, helping organise local events. It was at a Standard Triumph International Rally in 1980 that I first saw pre-war Triumphs and amongst them was a stunning Gloria Vitesse restored and owned by Rob Green. It was one of the most beautiful saloon cars I had seen and thought it be great to own one when the time was right.
In the 1990s I visited some of the Pre-1940 Triumph Owners Club’s (as it was named then) events and was persuaded to join this welcoming and friendly club. After a couple of years I spotted an advert in their magazine for a Gloria only four miles from where I lived. It was just the car for me, so in 1997 I became the proud owner of a partially restored Gloria Saloon. A couple of years later I was driving my Gloria to Club events and continued to enjoy it for the next 12 years. In 2000 it was joined by my ‘dream car’ a beautiful Gloria Vitesse similar to the one I saw in 1980 and coincidentally was also restored by Rob Green. The photos below show this Gloria parked at my local railway station and on the North York Moors during Pickering’s 1940s Weekend in October 2009. (I’m not sure who created the most amount of smoke: Roger and his pipe tobacco or the steam train!)
In 1998 I was asked to join the Club’s committee, which I was happy to do. Now I have the responsibility of looking after and expanding the Library and Register. By adding my personal collection of literature and arranging appeals for information in newspapers, motoring journals etc the Library has grown many fold. The recent public access to local authority registration records has helped us increase the number of Triumphs in our Register from just over 1,000 to 5,600 during my time as Registrar. From the appeals for Triumph information, I received many photos and interesting stories from past owners when their cars were still used as the family’s every day transport. This gave me the idea to put these together and find more so that they could be shared. The end result is that in June 2005 I published my first book “Pre-1940 Triumph Motor Cars from Family Photograph Albums” containing over 100 illustrated memories. It created so much interest that by May 2010 I had published “Volume 2” and in June 2014 “Volume 3”. They have sold well and I still have some copies left, if you are interested! I aim to write a fourth volume so if you have any old family snaps and recollections of a pre-war Triumph please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for their inclusion in this book – I will be pleased to hear from you and they will also be valued additions to the Club’s records, thank you.
My Triumph aims for the future are to:
Continue with the search for ‘new’ information for the Club’s Library and vehicles for the Register.
Complete the restoration of the below 1934 Southern Cross Sports Saloon with friends Chris & Roger. (Left to right: Chris, myself & Roger hard at work on the finishing touches on a cold December day!)
Finish the restoration, started by the late Ian Harper, of Helen’s 1931 Triumph Scorpion (see photo below of Helen, in period dress, and her Scorpion at the Club’s Golden Jubilee Rally held at Ragley Hall in 2011).
Gather enough photos and personal memories to publish a 4th volume in my series of books.
Complete & publish the Pre-1940 Triumph Encyclopaedia I have been working on for many years. This book will feature facts & figures on every known model (concept, prototype and production vehicles – over 200 so far!), competition records etc. If you think that you can help add anything to this book I will be very pleased to correspond with you.
With this list of aims I don’t think that I will get bored!