The Triumph Motor Company (not to be confused with the modern Triumph Motorcycles Ltd) was a British car and motor manufacturer formed in eighteen eighty five, and dissolved in nineteen eighty four. In the hundred or so years of its history, Triumph came out with various sports and sedan/saloon cars, some of which enjoyed high success and popularity, others not so much. Triumph was founded by Siegfried Bettmann in eighteen eighty five. At the start Triumph was a bicycle importer and seller company. Its founder S. Bettmann began importing pushbikes from continental Europe and selling them under his own brand name in London, England. Born in Germany, Bettmann joined forces and formed a partnership with another German national Moritz Schulte a year after founding the Triumph Company. By the late eighteen eighties, both men had their own bicycle building factory in Coventry, England.
Not even ten years later, Triumph Company had moved away from pushbikes and was fully immersed in design, engineering and production of its own motorcycle range – the company was renamed Triumph Cycles Co Ltd. The motorbikes were initially built at their original factory in Coventry. In the early nineteen twenties, Triumph once again expanded and entered the realm of car manufacturing. The first Triumph model to be released on the market was the 1.4 Litre Triumph 10/20. Originally Triumph cars were manufactured at the production site formerly owned and occupied by the Dawson Car Company. About a decade later, company owners began realising that they could no longer compete with larger car companies, mass producing vehicles for the general public. In result, they fully engaged in production of luxury sports models such as Triumph Gloria and Triumph Southern Cross. This however did not help Triumph too much and the company was forced to sell off the bike and motorbike branches due to financial difficulties experienced in the late nineteen thirties.
In nineteen forty, the original Triumph Motor Company entered receivership and all of its assets were pitched for sale. A certain portion of the company was sold branched off, building their own car models, some of them based on Alfa Romeo vehicles. Most of the Triumph prototypes produced in the late nineteen thirties are in fact unrelated to the original company. In nineteen forty four, the remainder of the original company was bought by another entrepreneur and relaunched as Triumph Motor Company Limited. The company’s new owners were closely related to Jaguar as they were the principle engine suppliers for the larger British brand for some time. There was however some conflict between the two directors as Triumph was looking for direct competition with Jaguar models due for release in the first decade after the end of WWII.
In the nineteen sixties, Triumph changed ownership once more, this time to Leyland Motors. Triumph cars continued in production under that trade name as late as the early nineteen eighties. Although not overly large, and with a bumpy history, Triumph Motors has left its mark on the auto manufacturing scene of the twentieth century. Triumph models, some better than others are still much loved and sought after vehicles, many of them of collectors’ value. There are many Triumph fan and support clubs from the UK to Australia, one of them triumphcarclub.co.uk. The last ever vehicle to be mass produced bearing the name and badge of Triumph was the eighty one Acclaim, which was in fact a sub-licensed version of the Japanese Honda Ballade. The brand name is currently owned by the German giant BMW, who bought Rover in nineteen ninety four and Rover had been the then-current owner of the Triumph brand.