1948 Triumph 1800 Roadster
Solid car to use and improve; lots of history; loads of chrome....
The first post-war car from Triumph Motor Company, the Roadster was produced from 1946 to 1949. Initially equipped with a 65bhp Standard 1,800cc engine, it was superseded by a 68bhp 2-litre version in 1948. Styled by Frank Callaby and Arthur Ballard, with mechanical design by Ray Turner, the Roadster was intended as a rival to Jaguar, whose cars had also used Standard engines in the pre-war period.
Post-war steel shortages meant that the swooping bodywork was built from aluminium using rubber press tools that had been used by Standard to make parts for the Mosquito fighter bomber during the war. The chassis was hand-welded from steel tube and featured transverse leaf sprung independent suspension at the front and a live axle with half-elliptic springs at the rear. The rear track was considerably narrower than the front. Brakes were hydraulic and drive was via a four-speed column-change gearbox with synchromesh on the top three ratios. On the 2-litre model this was replaced with an all-synchro three-speed ‘box.
The front bench seat could accommodate three at a squeeze and additional room for two was provided by dickey seats in the rear and a stepped rear bumper to aid entry and exit. A Triumph Roadster was famously driven by Bergerac in the BBC crime drama of the same name, starring John Nettles. Just 4,501 examples were made, making these elegant roadsters very rare and sought after machines today.
This September 1948 example comes with plenty of history having originally been delivered in grey livery with blue leather and a black hood. A RHD home market car, it was built in early August and its registration JYP 842 was issued in London, the number it carries today which remains transferable.
It was in the hands of a student in Loughborough in the 1960s who paid £75 for it, the car by then having lost its seal between the window and the hood - leading to 'a high turnover of girlfriends' by all accounts. Further stories about trips to the pub with 9 on board show that the car has led an interesting life. He sold it in 1969 for £30. The car was resprayed Midnight blue and the column change converted to the floor shift it has today - the gearbox is from an SS Jaguar.
It changed hands again in 1972 for £275 plus a Morris 8!. It passed to the owner's brother before passing on again in 1977. It was then retrimmed in brown with beige upholstery and repainted ivory. A few more owners came and went, the car being offered through Avonvale Classics in 1999.
Our vendor acquired the car in 2021, and has covered a few local journeys since then. He was intending to drive the car to us from Bristol, but found that the brakes need bleeding, the pedal requiring a few pumps to get the car to pull up. The overall condition is solid, although the paintwork is poor (we don't know when it was changed from ivory to blue) and the engine bay has been liberally hand painted black.
The chrome, of which there is plenty, remains in good condition which is very good news, although the car is probably best described as scruffy overall, still, it is priced accordingly so if you are after a use and improve car on a relatively tight budget, this is well worth consideration.
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