Graham Shipman

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 Gloriaduring 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 Dad bought a 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 Vitesserestored 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 then named)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 this partially restored tow-tone grey Gloria Saloon.

A couple of years later I was driving this Gloria to Club events and continued to enjoy it until 2011 when I sold it to friend & fellow club member Richard.

In 2000 my grey Gloria was joined by my ‘dream car’ this beautiful green Gloria Vitesse similar to the one I saw in 1980 and coincidentally was also restored by Rob Green. I was very proud to own this stunning looking Triumph. By 2017 it was time for a change and sold it to Andy; another friend and fellow club member.

In 2004, I along with friends Chris & Roger, bought this sole surviving 1934 Southern Cross Sports Saloon (above) to restore. We made a great start with help from Rob Green, but eventually its restoration stalled for various reasons. In 2020 Rob (pictured here pushing the car to his nearby workshop) bought Roger & Chris’s share in this Triumph and has now almost completed it.

My current project is to complete the restoration of this 1931 Scorpion 2-Door Saloon; another sole survivor. The late Ian Harper bought it in 1982 when this photo of it in red was taken. Ian made a start to its restoration, but it then lain dormant until 2020. It was then I decided that it should be finished. I entrusted the bodywork, paint finish and many miscellaneous items to Rob Green and by the end of 2020 it was looking resplendent in duo-tone green. This just leaves me to complete its interior, make and fit a wiring loom and refit its engine.

As well as the Triumphs I bought with the aim to enjoy on the road and at motoring events, I also bought these two Glorias (below), one in 2004 and the other in 2007, purely to save them and find the right person willing to restore them back to their former ‘glory’. I’m pleased to say that they are now both under restoration with new owners.

In addition to owning and working of my Triumphs, 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. 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 almost 8,500 during my time as Registrar thanks to the help I have received from many club members.

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 a few copies left, if you are interested! It will be great find enough material to compile a fourth volume, so if you have any old family snaps and recollections of a pre-war Triumph please contact me at registrar@pre-1940triumphmotorclub.com – I will be pleased to hear from you and they will also be valued additions to the Club’s record, thank you. 

Happy Motoring,

Graham