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Triumph 2000/2500

Stag at Bay Published: 12th May 2011 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph 2000/2500

Fast Facts

  • Best model: 2500S
  • Worst model: 2000 auto
  • Budget buy: Anything needing work
  • OK for unleaded?: No – an addiitve is needed
  • Will it fit in the garage? (mm): 4.62m x 1.65m (L x W)
  • Spares situation: Very good
  • DIY ease?: No problem
  • Club support: Excellent
  • Appreciating asset?: Not really
  • Good buy or good-bye?: Good buy
Triumph interior was almost as good as a Jag; steering column adjustable for comfort. Rear seat room fair Triumph interior was almost as good as a Jag; steering column adjustable for comfort. Rear seat room fair
Really classy instrument cluster was advanced, wood fascia is prone to laminating; Fablon is a good dodge Really classy instrument cluster was advanced, wood fascia is prone to laminating; Fablon is a good dodge
Both sixes used common parts as is crank end fl oat wear. Many PIs have been converted to carb guise Both sixes used common parts as is crank end fl oat wear. Many PIs have been converted to carb guise
MK2 rump adds to boot space. Triumph was popular towcar so don’t be surprised to see a bar already on MK2 rump adds to boot space. Triumph was popular towcar so don’t be surprised to see a bar already on
Rims and trims varied – this is correct MK2 2000, but Stag alloys were used later and can be fi tted Rims and trims varied – this is correct MK2 2000, but Stag alloys were used later and can be fi tted
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Triumph’s 2000 formed the basis of the Stag and this saloon shared the same qualities of that coupe but without the snags. Or prices!

Pros & Cons

Refi ned, fast,spacious, cheap, easy DIY maintenance
Too many poor examples around, iffy fuel injection

Produced to compete head on with Rover’s P6 2000, Triumph’s 2000 saloon and estate were ultra-modern compared with the outdated Standard Vanguard they replaced in 1963. The only part carried over was the smooth and torquey straight-six, but with a freer-fl owing cylinder head and improved carburation. The body was penned by Triumph favourite Michelotti (who did the Herald) and there was independent suspension all round care of MacPherson struts at the front and a semi-trailing link set-up at the rear, the latter which eventually found its way onto TR sportsters. Offering space, comfort and excellent build quality, the 2000 (and 2.5/2500 later on) were superb mile munchers at a relatively affordable price. The best thing though is that this hasn’t changed; the cars are as comfortable as they ever were and even more affordable. Prices have risen in recent years, but you can still pick up a great example for under £3000 – for something that in many ways can genuinely rival a modern, that’s seriously good value.


Project Barb was launched at the 1963 Earls Court motor show and made in record time. It had to; the old Standard Vanguard was dead on its feet and new owners Triumph needed to build upon the success of Herald – and fast! The 2000 was made from drawing to car in two years and remember this was an all new car apart from the engine and transmission. In fact, the car may have been badged a ‘Standard’ rather than ‘Triumph’ but by the 1960 Standard had begun to mean basic - and the 2000 was anything but. Two years later an estate edition debuted at the same venue. These new saloons were much needed for the fuddy-duddy carmaker and provided a more conventional but smoother alternative to the super advanced similar named car from Rover. With it s high level of equipment, including something the Rover sorely lacked – overdrive – and the car’s only real change came in 1965 when the old fashioned ring bar horn on the steering was ditched.

In August ‘66 the estate was introduced and really it had few rivals – or peers. Changes for 1967 included detail exterior trim changes and perforated looking leather seating. Two years later came one of the most exciting British cars of the decade, the fuel-injected 2.5-litre PI. Effectively this was a TR5 PI-engined saloon or estate (the latter to special order – only 371 were built) albeit detuned from a quoted 150bhp in the TR (which many felt optimistic) to 132bhp by way of a milder camshaft. Interestingly this state of tune wasn’t considered when the TR6 was derated to 125bhp for 1973…

From October 1969 there was a Mk2 range (strangely codenamed Innsbruck) on offer, with a restyled front end and, on saloons, a facelifted rear as well to give the car a more modern appearance that suited the Stag far better. Interestingly the revamp added a claimed nine inches to the car’s length without any benefi ts to interior space, although a widened rear track to 4ft 10inches aided handling and the boot was appreciably made larger as well.

The interior was also revised (again Staglike), with a new dashboard, controls and seats and power steering, always an option on the PI, was offered to the 2000. That was it until May 1974, when the carburetted 2.5-litre cars reached showrooms as an option, along with a mildly facelifted 2000. In May 1975 the 2000TC, 2500TC and 2500S went on sale, the S having a higher specifi cation with Stag alloy wheels ; at the same time, production of the infamous 2.5PI was halted but all car gained an improved stiffer suspension, especially the S while power for the 2000 TC somehow crept up by a claimed 7bhp. The fi nal cars were made in 1977 to make way for the Rover 2300/2600, after more than 316,000 examples of all types had been produced. As you know, the Rover used a new straight six ohc unit – designed by Triumph.


The main thing about these big Triumphs are their smoothness. With all 2000s and 2500s featuring six-pot power, progress is always relaxed and the car feels far more refi ned than the smaller Dolomite or the Rover P6. Let’s talk performance and power fi gures. The 2000 offers decent amounts of power and torque. When new it was credited with 90bhp but a change to a better cylinder head and manifolding in the 1970s, initially for the GT6 back in ‘68, boosted it to 95bhp - although realigned to 84bhp (‘DIN’ fi gures). Whatever, the 2000 was serene rather than scorching (0-60 14-15 seconds and just over 90mph) but it feels swifter than the fi gures state.

However move to a 2500 and you’ll quickly fall in love with the effortless pulling power of that longer-stroke engine, 132bhp in early FI guise but savagely down rated to barely 100bhp in more reliable TC form. Using the current engine power ratings, the top 2500S gives 106bhp; in comparison it’s probably on par with the 125bhp quoted for the TR6 – and who’s to say if the engine has been swapped and chopped over the decades? The 2.5 certainly gives the car the poke it needs; early PIs were sub 10 seconds to 60 saloons, later ones hovered around 11 seconds but really any big Triumph is more suited to cultured cruising where overdrive provides a relaxed gait. All editions were offered with a choice of manual or automatic gearboxes; whichever you go for is down to personal preference rather than any one engine/transmission being superior. Thanks to decent weight distribution and a long wheelbase, the 2000 and 2500 ride well but because these are large cars but not that heavy at around 1200kg or so), they aren’t the most agile of cars, suffering from a front ‘lean’ into the corner which was only cured when Triumph fi tted a beefy front anti roll bar to the later 2500S model. “The improvement wrought by the massive front anti-roll bar is so marked that one wonders why it was not done before, and why it has been left off the other two cars in the range. No longer does the outside front corner of the car dip towards the road…” remarked Autocar in its July 1975 road test.


The original canister oil fi lter should have been replaced with a spin-on version – at under £40 it’s a worthwhile investment. The former unit has no anti-drain valve, leading to the bearings being starved of oil on start up, whereas the latter type keeps the system primed allowing the oil to circulate much more quickly. The Lucas PI fuel pump can also give big problems due to overheating as it’s sited above the rear silencer, which is why some owners have either moved it or fi tted a cooling coil or a priming pump. If it overheats, fuel starvation will lead to the pump screaming and the engine cutting out.The differential nose subframe bracket tends to split, especially on later cars (post- May 1974) when the ride height was raised. Reinforced ones are £71; fi tting is easy. Tyres for the PI can be hard to source so a popular modifi cation is the fi tment of 2500S wheels (as fi tted to the Stag) which allow 185/70-14 tyres to be fi tted. Because these have virtually the same rolling radius as the original tyres the speedo doesn’t need to be recalibrated. Oh - and fi t a 2500S anti-roll bar. When it comes to the engine, then orthodox tuning along the likes of the TR6 suit’s the car nicely and a healthy 250bhp is achievable! The 2.5 engine can be stretched to 2.7-litres for more torque – but why not do what BL never did and fi t that sweet Stag V8 lump?


Projects start at £300 with roadworthy examples at least £1000; treble this for something really good. The best 2.5PIs and 2500Ss are worth up to £4500, with top-notch 2500s and 2000s worth almost as much. While the 2000/2500 is hardly a blue chip classic, people are now starting to appreciate them more and rarities, such as the MK1 2.5PI estate, are much sought after these days.

What To Look For

  • Rot is endemic, with facelifted Mk2s (May 1974 on) the most rot-prone of all. That’s why all bodywork needs close scrutiny, starting with the seam between the lower front wing and valance. The front wings are double-skinned around the wheelarches, creating a water trap, with the drain holes along the top of the trailing edge of each front wing often fi lled during restoration.
  • The drain holes at the bottom of the front wings are often fi lled, leading to rot in the lower panels. The seam at the base of the windscreen can rust where it meets the welded-on wings; repairs are tricky as the wings have to be removed.
  • The most common problem is rotten sills and footwells thanks to the drain holes either blocking up or being fi lled during repairs. The front outriggers under the footwells frequently rot out because of the drain holes getting blocked under the front wings or the windscreen leaking – replacement of the outriggers is generally easier than patching up.
  • The rear suspension pick-up points also dissolve, so check them from underneath, although you can get an idea of how sound the area is by removing the rear seat cushion and looking at the state of the fl oorpan. If it’s bad on the inside it’ll be much worse underneath.
  • The top spring mountings on the rear suspension can rot and sag, so inspect them, along with the sill closing panel and the inner wheelarch. Also check the door bottoms, which will have rotted out if their drain holes have been allowed to get blocked.
  • On MkII cars watch out for rust along the join between the rear light panel and valance. Also make sure the bonnet is properly aligned; being front-hinged, the slightest knock will push it out of true, and repairs are involved.
  • The 2000 engine will do 150,000 before it needs an overhaul, but the 2.5-litre engine, with its longer throw crank, usually needs a regrind after 120,000 miles or so. Unfortunately the MK1 2000 engine has a tendency to blow head gaskets if driven hard thanks to its studs being too thin to be tightened suffi ciently without stretching.
  • Check for end-fl oat in the crankshaft thrust washers by pushing and pulling on the bottom pulley. If it’s a manual the job is made easier by depressing and releasing the clutch – there should be no more than 0.015” movement. It may also be possible to feel and hear a clonk as the crank moves. Any detectable movement means the thrust washers have dropped out; the engine will have to be thrown away and a replacement sourced – decent used engines are £100 upwards, or £300 for one that won’t need rebuilding soon. If the thrust washers are still in place it’s possible to replace them with oversized ones, without having to remove the engine fi rst, or the rear main cap can be machined to fi t a custom thrust washer.
  • If the car is fuel-injected and has been run on unleaded fuel, the metering unit should have been updated to cope, although there’s debate about the necessity of this as some recommend replacing the unit only if there’s a problem.
  • The TR4-based manual transmission rarely gives problems, although the gearchange won’t be hurried and the rear layshaft roller bearings can fail, resulting in whining. If it’s murder swapping cogs, it’s more likely the linkage or clutch need attention rather than the gearbox.
  • The Layock clutch covers are long-lived and provides a smooth and consistent engagement. They’re no longer available though, so if sourcing a Borg & Beck unit, ensure the diaphragm is at least 0.015” thick and that the plate is secured to the hub by 16 rivets – three-rivet types shear off. If there’s diffi culty selecting fi rst and reverse on a 2500, suspect an aftermarket clutch cover which provides inadequate disengagement. The cure is a longer-throw 2000 slave cylinder fi tted with a 7/8” bore.
  • Another potential clutch problem is the securing pin for the release fork onto the cross shaft, which breaks. This reduces the effective travel causing the clutch to drag. To fi x it the gearbox has to be removed, although pins are just £7.
  • If the overdrive isn’t working properly, it’s usually down to electrical problems or the gearbox being low on oil. Suspect the wire running through the gearlever, along with relays, wiring and connectors if it still desn’t work.
  • Differentials are tough but pinion oil seals leak, sometimes because the breather on top of the unit getting blocked. Most major diff damage is caused by low oil levels, so check the unit isn’t nearly empty.
  • Clonking from the rear suspension when taking up drive indicates wear in one of the six universal joints or (more likely) play in the driveshaft splines. Complete failure is rare, but the rear will get twitchy when accelerating out of corners. However the same symptom can be through snatching of the driveshafts, cured by applying molybdenum disulphide grease, as used on CV joints. The job entails removing the four bolts at the inner end of the shaft, unclipping the gaiter and separating the joint.
  • The tie bars, steering rack and trailing arms need to have their bushes inspected. If the steering rack bushes have degraded and the clamps deformed, it’s worth replacing the clamps with solid aluminium mountings (at £29.38 per pair) to prevent further movement.
  • Rear wheel bearings are tough, but replacement isn’t a DIY proposition. Special tools are required so most owners fi t an exchange hub assembly at around £100 per side.
  • Also check the rear subframe outer mountings, as the central tube can pull out of the rubber. If they’ve already been replaced, ask what with, as some cheap items fail quickly; Metalastik are the most durable.
  • The 9.75-inch discs and 9-inch drums are fi ne, but can fade if driven hard. This applied especially to the pre-1968 2000 Mk1 which had thinner discs (0.35” whereas the other cars used 0.5” thick discs).
  • New interior trim is extinct, but everything is available used. The load bay trim on estates takes a battering, and the front seat diaphragms perish, so the seat collapses. Used seats are available though, and across the various models everything is interchangeable except for rear seats between saloon and estate models.
  • The door wood cappings suffer from the sunlight – the lacquer cracks and peels and the wood can split. Sourcing decent cappings isn’t easy and the cost of refurbishing them is high.
  • Parcel shelves deteriorate because of leaking rear screen rubbers and the top of the back seat breaks down after years of exposure to sunlight.
  • Most of the switchgear, instrumentation and components are easy to fi nd; if you need a new metering unit, a TR5 item will fi t.

Three Of A Kind

Ford Zodiac MKIV
Ford Zodiac MKIV
You won’t buy it for its looks, but if you’re after space on a budget, this could be just what you’ve been looking for. With a 3-litre V6 in the nose, there’s torque aplenty to waft you along effortlessly – if this seems like overkill you could always buy a Zephyr 6 (2.5 V6) or a Zephyr 4 (2.0 V4). If you can fi nd a good one it’s yours cheaply, although gadget-laden Executive carries a premium. Handling can be iffy.
Jaguar XJ
Jaguar XJ
Even the smallest XJ got a 2.8-litre straight-six; alternatives were a 3.4 or 4.2-litre ‘six’ plus the 5.3 V12. the latter is thirsty and complex, so your best bet is to opt for a 3.4 or 4.2 XJ6, but watch out for bodged corrosion repairs; rust has claimed most of these cars. Those worth owning start at £2000, with nice examples from £3500; top XJ6s are upwards of £5000 and it’s worth buying the best you can.
Rover P6
Rover P6
There were never any six-cylinder options for P6 buyers, but the four-cylinder cars give decent performance while the 3500 V8 is fast, refi ned and brilliantly smooth. Pick of the bunch is the 3500S with its manual gearbox, but P6 isn’t just about performance; it’s well-built, spacious, safe and well supported. Indeed, it’s potentially the perfect classic for modern day use.


The 2000/2500 is a much underrated uppercrust family classic that was really the BMW 5 Series of its day. The estates are particularly handy. Prices are still very keen and it’s an easy car to work on and restore. So if you can’t afford a MK2 Jag just yet, have a look at this Stag-like saloon. And that’s not a barbed comment.

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