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 with the introduction of the annual test and the cars coming to the end of their life. 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 (below) 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 2000 Mk1 in 1966. It made a big impression on me as I remember it looking low and sleek compared with dad’s 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 the Club was named then) events and was persuaded to join. After a couple of years I spotted an advert in the Club’s 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 this Gloria to Club events and continued to enjoy it for the next 12 years. In 1990 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. This photograph (below) shows my friends Roger & Edna and I in period dress standing by my Gloria Vitesse at Pickering Railway Station during the North York Moors War Weekend in 2009.
In 1998 I was asked to join the Club’s committee, which I was happy to do, and 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. With the recent public access to local authority registration records the number of Triumphs recorded in our Register has increased from just over 1,000 to 4,500 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”. Both have sold well and I still have some copies left, if you are interested! I have now completed Volume 3 which will be published in May 2014. 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 record, thank you.
My aims for the future: Continue with the search for ‘new’ information for the Club’s Library and vehicles for the Register. Complete the restoration of the above 1934 Southern Cross Sports Saloon with my friends Chris & Roger. Finish the restoration 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). Aim to publish my third book in 2014. 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 – 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.