Triumph Dolomite Sprint
Innovative engineering (arguably the world’s first multi- valve production engine) and clever marketing (it foresaw the sports-saloon boom) let down by really crappy manufacturing: the original ‘135’ name had to be dropped as they couldn’t build engines that could reliably make that much power, despite the design being good for 150bhp.
History has not been kind to Triumph’s final sports car; the wedge styling is neither timeless nor retro-chic: just heavy and dated. Frankly, current affairs weren’t kind to the TR7 either; it moved factory three times in its six-year life, and none could build it properly.
A deeply ordinary car, but interesting as the first Japanese car to be built in Europe. The badge said Triumph but the Acclaim was a Honda Ballade underneath and the first car from the BL-Honda tie-up that kept the British car industry on life support for a while. Decent build quality, but you’ve Honda to thank for that, and it wasn’t enough to save Triumph.
Stylish, comfortable and quick by the standards of the day, the 2000 and its successors were appealing, Alfa-esque sports saloons. Designed by Giovanni Michelotti, who also penned Maseratis and defined BMW’s look to this day, this car and aesthetic could have inspired future Triumphs the way William Lyons’ Jaguar XJ of ’68 set that brand’s tone for 40 years.
Another Triumph whose shape is instantly recognizable, even if the vast majority have long since rusted away. Try to see that familiar shape with fresh eyes though: it’s also the work of Michelotti and spawned five body variants and three sports cars, presaging today’s niche-crazy car market by half a century.
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