An icon of post-war British motoring – with one very notable former owner – will come under the hammer in our Spring Fine Art & Antiques Sale.
First released in 1946, the Triumph Roadster owes its longevity at least in part to the steel shortages felt in the aftermath of war, the Standard Motor Company instead electing to use lighter-weight and more durable aluminium. With panels constructed over an ash frame, using the same machinery and techniques employed in the manufacturing of the wartime Mosquito bomber, the Roadster soon developed a reputation for robustness and consequently amassed faithful following. Indeed, the Owners’ Club was established only fourteen years after the car’s first released. Today, there a reckoned to be around 400 of the original 4,500 still in roadworthy condition, giving a very healthy survival rate of almost 10%.
The distinctively bulbous front wheel arches, while undoubtedly the most obvious, are far from the Roadster’s only distinguishing feature. The inclusion of the, by 1946, fairly archaic “dickey seats” meant that one’s two-seater Roadster could be converted (through the deployments of additional folding seating concealed in the boot compartment) into a more capacious four-seater tourer, with the rear passengers even benefitting from the luxury of optional wind-screening.
The Roadster’s sedate ride was enlivened in 1948, when Standard upgraded the 1.8-litre engine to a more powerful 2.1-litre unit. This late example (1949 being the final year of production) benefits from the increased horsepower (to 68bhp) and top speed (circa-80mph) afforded.
Though the majority of people will forever associate the Triumph Roadster with fictional Jersey detective Jim Bergerac, this particular car has been owned and driven by a surely much more culturally significant (and decidedly non-fictional) individual: veteran Scottish musician, writer and broadcaster Jimmie MacGregor MBE. Acquired by Jimmie in 1971, the roadster spent fifteen years on display in the Glasgow Transport Museum. It will go under the hammer in our Spring Fine Art & Antiques Auction.