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First MINI Now Triumph?

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BMW is working on a two-seater based off of the MINI platform that will form the basis of a Triumph concept car later this year and may eventually see production. This seemingly incredible news comes from this morning’s edition of autoindustry.co.uk and is based on information from Autocar’s January 3rd issue. For those that might not be aware, along with BMW’s purchase of Rover back in the mid-90s came a handful of old British brands such as Triumph. At the time it had been rumored that the MINI would be the first of several brands coming back to life. However it was assumed these plans were shelved when Rover was broken up and sold by BMW in 2000. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

Reviewing the unconfirmed news that BMW Group design team is working in California on a two-seater sports car derivative of the current MINI platform, Autocar’s 3 January issue speculates that the car, “close to getting the green light for production”, could become a concept vehicle later this year, and eventually, could be marketed under the Triumph brand.

You can read the entire article below:

[ BMW protects ownership of Triumph brand ] Autoindustry.co.uk

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Written By: Gabe

  • Graham Robson

    A new Triumph from BMW ? Why not ? They have already done the same sort of thing with Rolls-Royce, which is now totally BMW-based.

    If BMW is serious about this, marketing surveys show that they will concentrate on the USA market, so it figures that the car could be manufactured at the BMW factory in Spartanburg, South Carolina …. but as the Mini factory at Oxford (England) is currently being enlarged maybe they could make it there instead.

    A model name ? Not a TR, surely, and can you honestly see the Germans reviving the name ‘Spitfire’ ?

    GRAHAM ROBSON

  • http://community.webshots.com/user/vitesse1963 Léon F Guyot

    I Owned 1974 Triumph 2000 Mk.2 Sedan from 1978-1990, 1967 Triumph Herald 1200 Convertible from 1981-1998, 1963-1971 Triumph Vitesse Mk.2 Convertible from 1986-date), plus lots of Spitfires and other Heralds for short periods.

    Love(d) them all.

    If BMW really do it, then all the more power to them!

    If any car company does it, then I personally am more than happy if it is BMW. Better BMW than Shanghai Motor Co, or any other Chinese concern.

    Bring them on boys, be they BMW designed Sports cars built in their South Carolina plant or wherever.

  • http://www.mc2magazine.com Gary Anderson

    Think two words: Lotus Elan. What a good idea, that must have seemed. Front-wheel-drive open two-seat sports car with a classy nostalgic name. Who would care that it had a no-name (Isuzu) engine? As you might recall — if you can remember the car at all — it died an inglorious death. Protect the Triumph name that BMW bought with the rest of the Rover package? Certainly; good business decision to keep someone else from using it. Design a concept car for the show circuit and use the Triumph name to test the waters for a cheaper two-seater without suggesting it would ever be produced as a BMW? Also a good business decision. Actually produce a fwd sports car called the Triumph? No chance at all before, say, 2010, and even then I’d take 5-1 odds against it.

  • http://www.blokspeed.net Eelke

    Put mgcman’s post next to Gary Anderson’s, as well as half a dozen of people that have already commented on the FWD vs. RWD argument, and I think these people are all making a lot of sense and this is not going to be more than flexing of marketing muscles and trying the water.

    • Why would BMW give a cheap roadster under a resurrected brand name another try after they have gotten rid of MG? If they wanted that, they could have marketed the MG brand when it was still under their ownership – which was quite alive at the time – and take it with them out of the Rover sale just like they did with the Mini brand. Maybe they thought that Rover had a fighting chance if they would be allowed to keep MG (eventhough IMHO MG-Rover never stood a chance without Mini and Land Rover).
    • What sense is there in making a roadster based on a FWD car? The world wasn’t ready for the Lotus Elan and I don’t think it is ready now, or ever will be.

    Of course, people can change their minds and their positions in a company, and maybe BMW are now wishing they had kept the MG F like they did with the Mini, and are now going for a second try. I just hope they do the Triumph brand justice by putting it on a proper, RWD roadster.

  • http://triumph.hottr6.com hottr6

    That sucks. Basing it on the MINI means a wimpy 4-cylinder FWD.

    This retro fad is going too far. Designers are using it as an excuse for not having to work. I’m all for nostalgia, but I want the real thing, not some lame, sterile and personality deficient limo that passes for modern motoring.

    Disappointing.

  • Bobby7

    One thing they can’t recreate that an orignal TR has is “Character”, no way, no how. I have owned 4 TR7′s. Rode in Spits and TR8′s. You guys that have never owned a 7 shouldn’t go on heresay. The late models are actually pretty good cars and a lot of fun. But, a new Triumph\BMW may actually sell pretty well, the majority of folks don’t even know what a Triumph is or that the Mini was orignially an English car.

  • Triplesn8s

    Rear Wheel Drive Please! Rear Wheel Drive Please! Rear Wheel Drive Please! Rear Wheel Drive Please! Rear Wheel Drive Please! Rear Wheel Drive Please! Rear Wheel Drive Please!Rear Wheel Drive Please!Rear Wheel Drive Please!

    Something Spit/GT6 Retro-styled would be cool. Great looking as a fastback coupe or convertible. Historically justified both 4 & 6 cylinder enginers. Not like the Z3 Covertible which looks nice but the Z3 Coupe looks like a Jensen (Healy) GT, appearance-challenged. Design for both from the get-go.

    TR8 Owner Oops, you could have had a V8!

  • giacomo

    The Z4 no more looks like a Jensen than a 1955 Fiat Cinquecento Topolino looks like a Ferrari 275 GTB! GMAB!

    “THE SPIT”?????????? Do you mean Bug Eyed Sprite?!

  • http://www.canleyclassics.com Macauspit

    I think a new Triumph roadster built with the quality/marketing abilities of BMW is a fantastic idea, but we have been here before with false starts. I would have thought the Triumph brand is to long dead to resurect? We make our living from selling Triumph parts, and we own over 50 Triumphs, but try explaining to the non enthusiast what you are driving and be met with a blank expression. The best you can hope for is they identify it as an MG (wash my mouth out!). Its only because we live and work in and around Coventry (where all real Triumphs were made) that we stand any chance of the passer by tipping the nod, and only then because they probably worked at the factory. I would think that the clever money at BMW (surely all young enough not to know what a real Triumph was?) would have thought it easier to carry on hanging BMW badges on their cars?

  • Jim Henningsen

    Where do I send my deposit!! Modern components in a classic TR look – count me in.

  • Triplesn8s

    I should have mentioned I meant the later style Spitfire/GT6. The Mark 3/4 redesigned by Michelotti(?) was much sleeker and a better styling update candidate.

  • John Horton

    My first sports car was a TR4. A great car and driven daily for years. Many years later I am collecting and restoring Triumphs. I presently have a TR6 Tr7 Tr8. A new line of Triumphs would be wonderful. Bring them on!

    John H.

  • http://www.dctra.org John Horton

    Our club website for Triumphs

  • Christian

    A new Triumph, yes please!!! Where do I send the deposit?

    On the RWD thing, it’s worth pointing out that the MG F/ TF is based on the FWD metro, but that it is a mid engined sportscar. Rover started developing the MINI NOT BMW. So there is a good chance they planned the MIMI floorpan around a future mid engined TF. Kind of handy really….

  • Joe B

    Hey BMW, can I leave my deposit now for a TR9?! She would look great next to my TR6 and Cooper S! And now I now this is a great site with Kas Kastner, Graham Robson, and Gary Anderson on here. Hey, is Jay Leno lurking anywhere?

  • Matt Richter (aka Dr Obnxs)

    You guys are mostly missing the real model to copy… The TR-3. BMW can make sure it doesn’t fold in half in accidents, but the little doors are way more stylish than the slab side of the 4 and 6.

    Matt

  • Graham Robson

    Caution, please, guys …. Please don’t get too excited about what WAS, but what MIGHT BE. I don’t honestly think there is any point in hoping that BNW might re-create a car with the character of the TR3, or the TR4. If they are working around the MINI theme, then they are looking at a much smaller car than that. Personally, I’d like to see them produce a mid-engined car, using MINI running gear, which would make Toyota MR2s look old-fashioned. But am I baying at the moon ?

    GRAHAM ROBSON

  • Colleye JM

    My first Triumph was a Herald 1200; today,I drive my 1976 Dolomite with always the same pleasure. 1500/1600 cc engine, 5 speed gearbox, rwd, TR4/TR4 Dove look.What a nice Triumph we could see again on the road. A new Triumph for and from BMW. Great!May we hope a Saloon too? Better From Germany than China. JM Colleye (Liège, Belgium)

  • Jay W.

    I currently have a 1974 TR6 with less than 50k original miles as my daily driver. My wife just asked me if I would be interested in the “modern TR6″. I replied with, “…only if it rear-wheel drive!” I want a real sports car.

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  • Larry R

    Stumbled upon this site, owner of a ’76 TR6, constantly looking for a reason to take Trixie for a ride…now this. Not sure what to think. At least a test drive…just to check one out! Ah, the Triumph marquis.

  • Art F

    Inputs from Kas Kastner and Graham Robson!! Maybe this is serious!

    BMW did a great job with bringing the Mini into the 21st Century. If you haven’t driven one, you should. Especially before you comment.

    A Mini-based two-seater might not a lot to do with TR2 through TR6 series cars, but it certainly would deserve serious scrutiny. I’ve driven a Triumph Spitfire since 1982. A Mini-based Triumph — front wheel drive or rear — might just grab my attention.

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  • j

    how much is a 1963 t4 worth not running and needs engine work and interior work


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