Model Page

Triumph 2000 Mk 1

Production Run:


Production Date:

1963 - 1969


Triumph 1,998cc Straight Six


Canley (UK)


13.6 Secs

Max Speed:

95 Mph

The Triumph 2000 Mk 1 is a mid sized rear wheel drive luxury car, alongside the Rover P6 the vehicle revolutionised its market segment when it burst onto the market in 1963. Available as a four door saloon or estate the car proved very popular selling over 120,645 vehicles before being replaced in 1969 by the restyled Triumph 2000 Mk 2.

Buoyed by the finance gained by Standard Triumph selling their profitable tractor divison for £12,000,000 Triumph’s management looked at developing new vehicles. Under the stewardship of Alan Dick project “Zebu” commenced development work on a new vehicle to replace the poor selling Vanugard Mk III in 1957. The design brief was to develop a mid sized four door saloon that combined high levels of performance and handling with a luxurious upmarket interior – in short design an executive express.

The Zebu team comprised Chief Engineer Harry Webster and stylist Giovanni Michelotti, initial designs included a vehicle whose main design feature was a reverse slope rear window and pillar-less construction. Under Webster’s guidance the vehicle started to take shape the vehicle was given a separate chassis with bolt on body construction and was fitted with independent front suspensions with a McPherson struts suspension system, pneumatic suspension was considered but was dropped before progressing too far. To improve weight distribution the vehicle used a rear mounted transaxle gearbox, a new six cylinder engine was destined for the vehicle to give a less frantic drive than a 4 cylinder unit more in keeping with the style of the vehicle.

Following a visit from Motor magazine’s editor Christopher Jennings the future of the car was put in major doubt, he informed Webster that a vehicle with a reverse rake rear window was already in development and much closer to hitting the market than Triumph’s offering - he was of course referring to the Ford Anglia. The vehicle was hastily redesigned with a traditional rear window as Triumph reacted to the news, further complications arose when investigations revealed vibration problems that arose from the unconventional transmission, it was at this point that Triumphs management decided to give the project less of a priority.

Casting further doubt over the project was the perilous state of Standard Triumphs finances at the time, both domestic and export sales were suffering resulting in increasing losses for the parent company. This in turn lead to the manufacturer not having sufficient funds for the project to realise production thus the project was effectively cancelled. Fortunately Leyland Motors were looking to expand from their traditional bus and truck manufacturing business into motor vehicles and so in May 1961 Leyland acquired Standard Triumph. One of the first moves by Leyland was the swift appointment of Stanley Markland as the CEO of Standard-Triumph, he had the foresight to support development of new projects to replace the aging fleet of products manufactured. Markland made refreshing Triumphs model line-up a priority, amongst his first actions was the approval of development of the Spitfire and a replacement for the Vanguard.

Development on the Vanguard’s replacement began once more during the Spring of 1961 this time under the codename of ‘Barb’ using many of the principles and design concepts learnt during project Zebu. Development was rapid and took a little under two years from start to finish, Harry Webster was in control of the mechanical development whilst Michelotti took care of the styling.

The styling of the vehicle was distinctive, smart and modern with a short rear end, long bonnet and plenty of chrome-work. The nose of the vehicle was somewhat pointed and featured twin headlamps and a full width grille. Unlike project Zebu the new vehicle used a monocoque body tub rather than the separate chassis with bolt on body. The engine of choice for the vehicle was a revised version of the 1,998cc straight six overhead valve engine that had been previously used in the Standard Vanguard Luxury Six. Refining the engine for use in ‘Barb’ required the installation of a new inlet manifold with twin Zenith Stromberg 150CD carburettors and a redesign of the combustion chambers these changes helped the engine to develop a respectable 89 bhp @ 5,000rpm and 117 lb/ft of torque @ 2,900 rpm.

McPherson struts were chosen for the suspension at the front of the vehicle, it was intended that the rear suspension was to have suspension members steel pressed hanging from the floorpan. This was later changed for coil sprung semi trailing arms after problems were discovered with transmission noise encroaching the passenger cabin. The braking system was courtesy of a Lockheed sourced system with servo assisted 248mm front discs and 229mm rear drums. The car was originally fitted with a four speed manual gearbox with optional Laycock overdrive unit, it would not be until mid 1964 that the vehicle would be made available with a Borg-Warner Type 35 3 speed automatic gearbox as an option.

As was fitting for a car in this segment the vehicle was sumptuously appointed featured a polished wooden dashboard with comprehensive instrumentation, polished wooden side cappings, thick carpet, courtesy lights and even heating ducts in the rear passenger footwells. Quality seating was installed finished in vinyl although it was possible for customers to upgrade to full leather upholstery, a contrasting paint scheme for the roof panel was a no cost option.

Triumph had considered marketing a version of the Triumph 2000 equipped with a 1600cc engine and less well specified mechanicals and interior but this was dropped before production as it was found that the car could not be produced at a competitive enough price to make a profit.

The Triumph 2000 was launched at the London Motor Show in October of 1963, reaction mainly being positive with Autocar stating that the car was a ‘Golden Prospect’. The vehicle was made available to the public from the start of 1964 and was pitched head to head against the Rover P6 two litre. The P6 was more modern, had a faster top speed and was considered to have slightly better handling that the Triumph 2000 albeit at a higher price, the 2000 was deemed to have better acceleration from rest and have more passenger leg room.

Not wanting to rest on their laurels, Triumph continued developing the 2000 rolling out several updates after the launch. In 1964 a weakness with the rear rubber suspension mountings failing was addressed through replacing the items with vertically mounted bushes between the rear subframe and floorpans. A major improvement over the Rover P6 was announced in the Autumn of 1965 when Triumph released the Triumph 2000 Estate, the vehicle was very similar to the saloon but to facilitate the conversion to an estate a new roof panel and modified rear doors were fitted to the vehicle. To allow the rear seats to fold down the petrol tank was relocated beneath the boot and the filling cap relocated to the right hand side. Part built Triumph 2000 body shells were taken from Pressed Steel in Swindon to the Carbodies facility in Coventry where they were converted before being shipped on to Triumph production facility at Canley for painting and finishing. The vehicle was identical to the saloon, even retaining the same overall length with the exception of increased spring rates to compensate for the additional weight. The Triumph 2000 Estate had the entire market place to itself in some respects with the only major competition being the Ford Corsair, but this was significantly more expensive and was more of a bespoke vehicle.

In 1966 the entire range was subjected to a raft of improvements including revised badging and an upgraded interior with new seats finished in leather as standard. A new through flow ventilation system was installed with air passing through the cabin and exiting through vents above the rear windscreen on Saloon vehicles or above the number-plate on estate vehicles addressing a major failing in the first models. The dashboard was now finished in black rather than the previous two tone arrangement and as part of the through flow ventilation arrangement was fitted with “eye ball” vents. The electrical system for the vehicle were changed from positive earth to negative earth to bring the manufacturer in line with the majority of manufacturers at the time. At this point the vehicle benefited from the installation of a revised version of the Borg-Warner 35 three speed gearbox.

Rover introduced the 2000TC in 1966, essentially a high performance version of the P6, the existing 2000 was ill equipped to match this threat. Triumph wanted to hit back and so worked on shoehorning the 2.5 litre petrol injected engine from the TR5 into the Triumph 2000’s engine bay. The Triumph 2.5 PI was introduced in October of 1968 following a lengthy development period due to Triumph’s overly stretched resources. The engine was revised to provide the characteristics expected from an executive express developing 132 bhp @ 5,500 rpm and 153 lb/ft @ 2,000 rpm, this compares with the same engine in the TR5 developing 150 bhp @ 5,500 rpm and 164 lb/ft @ 3,500 rpm.

The Triumph 2.5PI offered a substantial improvement in performance achieving 0-60 in 10.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 107 mph, to provide adequate braking the brake system received a minor reworking with a more powerful brake servo and thicker front discs. The 2.5 PI used the same body tub as the 2000 and could only be distinguished visually through Rostyle wheels and rear pillar section coated in vinyl.

The 2.5PI did not enjoy the best of service records with problems arising from the fuel system due in part to the fuel pump being a modified windscreen wiper motor. Further details on the 2.5 PI can be found on its own information page.

The Triumph 2000 and 2.5PI remained in production until October 1969 when the range received a substantial facelift with the introduction of the Triumph 2000 (codename Innsbruck). By this time 120,645 Triumph 2000’s had been built and 9,029 2.5PI’s of which only 223 of which were Estates. The vehicle was a considerable success for Triumph consistently selling over 20,000 units per year and comfortably outselling its Rover counterpart, the only failing of the car was in the lucrative American market where the car entered the market during the muscle car craze within which with its 2.0 litre engine it was unable to compete.

Today the vehicles are highly sought after with the 2.5 PI attaining the highest values, good examples fetching in excess of £10,000, the Triumph 2000 values are not quite so strong with excellent examples only fetching £3,500.


Triumph Straight Six





Compression Ratio:


Fuel System:

Twin Zenith Stromberg Carburettors

Maximum Power:

89 bhp@ 5,000rpm

Maximum Torque:

117 lb/ft @ 2,900 rpm


4 Speed Manual (Optional Laycock Overdrive)

Borg Warner 3 Speed Automatic

Top Gear:


248mm Front Discs / 229mm Rear Drums

Kerb Weight:

1170 Kg


13.6 Secs

Max Speed:

95 Mph