Imported In The ’70s: 1949 Triumph 2000 Roadster

This 1949 Triumph 2000 roadster is a rare sight on our shores, and is a right-hand drive example imported in the ’70s. The 2000 was born out of an escalating competition between Jaguar and Triumph-Standard to build a dominant sports car, and while Jaguar would go onto build the monumental E-Type, the oddly-styled Triumph Roadster didn’t capture enthusiasts’ hearts (and imaginations) in quite the same fashion. Luckily, this example here on eBay is available in estate-sale-find condition, with bids to just over $5K and the reserve unmet.

I’ve actually always found these cars mildly attractive, if for no other reason than it’s clearly a major underdog in the styling department compared to what Jaguar was building at the time. Plus, you have to love any car that attempted to give the classic rumble seat one more shot at living on in the next generation of sports cars (it didn’t work out that way.) The 2000 wasn’t produced in huge quantities and remains a bit of a footnote today – but it did set the stage for the wildly popular TR-series of Triumph sports cars.

The seller notes that despite looking rough around the edges, this 2000 roadster is largely sound underneath. There’s no major rot noted, with a good frame and floorpans. The interior is also largely intact, which is a shock given how fragile they can be when left exposed to the elements. Thankfully, this roadster has a good top, and it actually looks fairly fresh given the lack of color fade and the tautness of the material over the frame. The seller notes the Triumph can be considered all original with the exception of a (bad) repaint.

Some of the paint wearing away would indicate this Triumph may have been black at one time, which, when paired with the cardinal interior and soft top, is a wonderful combo. The engine does turn over, and looks relatively complete. Overall, the first few pictures of this rare Triumph may not be doing it any favors, as it seems like this is far more restoration-ready than I would have thought in first glancing at it. While the design is not to everyone’s liking, it’s unlikely you’ll see another one at your local British car meet.

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Comments

  1. Farhvergnugen

    While there is no doubt that the E-type ultimately dominated anything produced by Triumph, it might be more appropriate to hold this one against the XK120, which was a far better car than the contemporary TR2000 could ever hope for.

    Per that big search engine, the 2000 was “a plump Christmas turkey to set against that dainty peacock (XK)… [more] Toadster [than Roadster]”

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    • Tom Bell

      Comparison to the XK120 would indeed be more correct–the 120 being manufactured from 1948-1954. They would be true contemporaries with a remarkable difference in styling.

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  2. PDXBryan

    Looks like a baby Allard! So funky and cool.

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  3. bob

    I’d be concerned about the obvious subframe wood rot on this car located between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico for more than 30 years possibly outside all that time. Always liked the “funk” factor of the rumble seat TR.

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  4. luke arnott Member

    The 2000 was NOT a sports car and any comparison to the XK120 is erroneous.

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    • Alan

      Agreed, it was never intended to be other than a tourer. Many people get confused, thinking the Roadster was the “TR1”, as Triumph started the production series with TR2 – but what could be considered the TR1 was never put in production, appearing only at a motor show.

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  5. freakinutz

    I saw one of these, fully restored, at a British car show/meet a few months ago in the SF Bay Area. It was beautifully done and it showed majestically. I wonder how available replacement parts are for this model? Lots of potential here.

  6. Sunshine

    Heavy, slow, and awkward is how a friend who owned one described his late 40’s Triumph 2000 roadster. But oh the rumble seat with windscreen! Seller should have taken a 3/4 view with top down and second windscreen up! Makes this a unique British automobile. For those in North America, hold out for a left hand drive imported version. The 2000 has a three speed on the column. Awkward.

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    • Alan

      And the three speed shifter is on the RIGHT of the right side steering wheel. This was done to maximize the use of the bench seat under cover.

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      • Alan

        Looking at the Ebay pics, yes, this has had a transplant, with 4 on the floor in place of the original. Still love to have this baby!

  7. Alan

    The frame is those 4″ steel tubes that run from front to back, the floor is wood, and the body is “aluminium” (as it was UK aluminum) with the exception of the large front wings. They tried making these out of aluminium but they cracked because of the size. I guarantee you will never see a Roadster without rust in the wings, probably because of the quality of the steel post-war.

    There were 2000 Roadster 1800’s (the earlier version) and 3000 Roadster 2000’s made.

    Watch for cracking in the windshield pillars, which means carefully carving replacement ash frames – everyone used to pull themselves out of the vehicle by pulling on the top of the screen.

    By the way, what’s with the twin SUs? My 2000 Roadster (TRA995, slightly earlier than this one) didn’t have them.

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  8. bob

    Alan,
    The twin SUs struck me as odd as well but I claim no authority about this model Vanguard/Triumph. Normally a pair of SU implies “sporty performance” and either engine in this package would hardly qualify as sporty nor performance enhance-able. Quaint but slow and lumbering at best.

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  9. luke arnott Member

    Think this engine WAS used in the TR2?It was used as well in the Vanguard & the early Ferguson tractors.

    • Richard Love

      Someone upgraded to a TR engine from Standard engine. Over 20hp increase and easily accomplished.

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      • Alan

        Thought the motor looked a little unfamiliar to my eyes

  10. Clay Bryant

    Looked at the E-bay pics. This baby comes with it’s own starting blocks and is ready to come out of the chute!

  11. Ken

    While I was in high school my Dad hauled one home in the St. Pete, FL area that had been hit by lightning and had a significant fire. Over a number of years he rebuilt all the woodwork and patched up the melted aluminum cowl. I managed to get it drivable before heading to college. He sold it off while I was in college, to whom & where, I have no idea. With the stock single carb motor they were slow which was a good things as the single circuit drum brakes left something to be desired in stopping power. But a really cool car. This car is a far better example and should be a bit quicker with the twin carb change.

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  12. Martin Horrocks

    These are even worse than they look. To even think of mentioning this as a competitor to Jaguar in the late 1940s (starting the process of revolutionizing sports car-racing) is mind-boggling…….

  13. bog

    Looks cute and quirky. Reminds me of a down-scaled mid-30’s Merc from the front 3/4 view. Love the hand crank out front. Which, the seller mentions obliquely as in “motor cranks”. It could certainly never actually start with a missing plug wire and distributor cap (and who knows what else). Apparently sold for over $8100. Best wishes new owner !

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