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Triumph 2000/2500

Triumph 2000/2500 Published: 10th May 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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There’s nothing backward about Triumph’s competent compact executive saloon as a practical yet quality classic

Among Triumph’s portfolio it’s the TR sports cars, Stag and the Dolomite Sprint which grab all the attention. In contrast, the 2000/2500 ranges are usually forgotten and yet, as when new, they have a heck of a lot to offer, not least six pot smoothness, good cruising ability plus family-sized roominess and practicality. And, like all Triumphs, they are a doddle to own and maintain. With its independent rear suspension was this Triumph the BMW 5 Series of its day? Absolutely! Are they worth seriously considering as a cut price quality classic – absolutely!

Timelines

1963 Codenamed Barb, the 2000 saloon is launched, using old Standard engine with twin carbs for 90bhp with optional overdrive or an automatic gearbox.

1965 The excellent classy estate model is introduced that October with an uprated rear suspension plus a minor interior revamp across the range the following month.

1968 In time for the summer, the 2.5PI flagship is introduced – an estate follows soon after – with a detuned TR5PI engine (132bhp was claimed, 46 per cent up on the 2000 with a 31 percent increase in torque) coupled with sportier suspension and added luxury: It cost £1450 when new.

1969 The most significant change occurs in time for the London motor show – the Mk2. The chief change is a longer restyled body which echoed the upmarket Stag that was to soon follow. A new wooden dashboard with full instrumentation was fitted and the car generally modernised; no less than nine inches were added to the car’s length to improve boot space, the rear track was widened to aid the handling and an improved interior also figured. Power steering becomes an option on the 2000 range and an alternator now fitted as standard.

1974 After years of suffering well documented PI problems, a simpler less stressful 2500TC model (99bhp) joins the range; similar to PI but uses twin SU carbs instead. Slight interior and facial revise with a Stag-like radiator grille.

1975 Final revise sees engine upgrades all round topped by the new 2500S flagship posting 106bhp. Handling improved by a thicker front anti-roll bar, Stag wheels. Range dropped in ‘77.

Driving

The Triumph 2000 had a fierce in-house rival launched at the same time, the Rover P6 2000 so direct comparisons were always on the cards. Canley’s trump card has always been its smooth and (for its day) swift six-pot engine that, when allied to overdrive (something that the Rover never offered for some strange reason), spelt relaxed and economical motoring which only a Jag Mk2 could match.

The 2.5PI was a true sports saloon that was up there with the best and still delights with its verve while the estate line up offers a sports holdhall that is more usable than a Scimitar GTE.

General handling benefits from the same rear IRS suspension set up found on the TRs and it’s certainly a more comfortable car than the smaller more cramped Dolomite (and the Rover P6 for that matter). For its day the 2000 was a good handler although the front end ‘lean’ into the corners characteristic – exaggerated by the Mk2’s longer nose – needs addressing; fitting the anti-roll bar from a later 2500S reduces it. “One wonders why it was not done before, and why it has been left off the other two cars in the range”, opinioned Autocar in its July 1975 road test on the 2500S. The 2.5 PI as well as all that power sports a higher back axle ratio giving an even more relaxed cruising gait plus a lowered suspension which did improve the cornering to a limited extent although rear spline lock remained a quirky bugbear. Unlike the Rover, automatic (apart from the 3500), overdrive and power steering were all options.

Best models

The Mk1 is liked by purists for its less fussy styling and compactness – the Mk2, is longer, bulkier and doesn’t handle as well as a consequence, although there’s little in it. Most enthusiasts will favour a 2500 model, either in PI or easier-to-own carburettor tune with the last-of-the-line 1975 2500S (higher tuned engine, sportier suspension, Stag wheels) the pick of the pack. However, many 2000s have been upgraded with the larger engine by now and are as good. Estates are very useful and our personal choice of body styles.

Prices

The Triumph offers value with a capital V so if you’re after a cheap classic, look no further. Top 2000s can be had for less than £6000 with the 2500/PI only a couple of grand more and average cars are easy £3000 buys, although given how little the best still sell for, it’s false economy to buy one to ‘do up’.

Verdict

A quality saloon and estate that you can argue BMW emulated with its 5 Series, the 2000 and 2500 offer a remarkable amount of metal for your money plus make very good daily drivers and general runabouts.

Top 5 faults

General

Because they aren’t popular classics, parts aren’t as prevalent as for TR or Stags although the oily bits are fine. New interior trim is all but extinct, but everything is available used. The door wood cappings suffer from the sunlight – the lacquer cracks and peels and the wood can split while cloth trim fades (rear seat top is worst here)

Body

Rot is endemic, facelifted Mk2s (May ’74 on) appear worst. The most common worry concerns rotten sills and footwells, while rear suspension pick-up points also dissolve. Front wings are water traps; low values mean that full restorations are hardly financially logical propositions so are bodged instead

Engine

Engines are durable, but can suffer from excess crank end-float. Up to 12-thou means a simple replacement of the thrust washers might effect a cure. Over about 50thou and the thrust washers fall out. Oil pressure should be quite high and cylinder heads are known to crack/blow gaskets

Transmission

TR4-based manual ’box rarely gives problems, although the change won’t be hurried and the rear layshaft roller bearings can fail. If there’s difficulty selecting first and reverse on a 2500, suspect an aftermarket clutch cover being fitted. Overdrive is usually robust and any problems are normally electrical glitches

Running gear

Clonking from the rear suspension 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. The Triumph twitch can be eradicated by fitting modern driveshafts (a Estates make great handy holdalls and our pick of the body styles Stag specialist can help)

 



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