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Homepage. This page: Original side-on look at a Triumph Vitesse 6 saloon of the early 1960s.

Triumph's Vitesse 6 saloon.

When first clapping eyes on this old photograph, it'd be easy to assume that it was of a Triumph Herald 13/60 (the revised and updated version of the 1200 Herald). The twin headlamp setup on the Vitesse would have been a real giveaway had this car been photographed from the front, likewise the trim on the bootlid would have done the trick had the car been shown from behind. But side-on, differentiating the Vitesse from the Herald is a lot trickier.
The first giveaways are the bumpers - 13/60 Heralds had cheap white rubber bumpers, whereas this car has anodised alloy jobs in silver, a Vitesse trademark. A magnifying glass reveals the second clue - the tax disc is dated June 1964. The 13/60 Herald didn't make its debut until October 1967, whereas the Triumph's Vitesse Six saloon entered the market alongside the 1147cc Herald in May 1962.
(Please click the thumbnail to view full-size image.)
Triumph Vitesse car photograph
Two smart young ladies are seen in the Vitesse 6, excited no doubt by the prospect of putting down all that power from the Triumph's six cylinder 1596cc engine. Even more exciting could be the handling, the swing-axle rear end (borrowed from the Herald and Spitfire) could be quite "entertaining" if you powered around a bend then chose to lift off abruptly, mid-way around. This handling trait would be overcome in later versions of the Vitesse, thanks to the installation of a much more capable Rotoflex arrangement, but the early cars had to be treated with great respect. Mk1 GT6s, also fitted with the heavy straight six and Herald/Spitfire rear axle, could be equally entertaining on greasy roundabouts.
Whereas the Herald could be purchased as a two-door saloon, a convertible, an estate and a van, the Vitesse would only be available as a two-door saloon or rag-top. Although a little nose-heavy, all of the six-cylinder cars based on the basic Herald/Spitfire chassis are entertaining and smooth modes of conveyance. My modified 2.5 Spitfire, with Rotoflex suspension grafted on, was a lot of fun, and I imagine that 2.0 Mk2 Vitesses with the same rear axle arrangement would be equally nice to own now.
Return to Page 12 in the vintage car gallery.
Memories of an early Triumph Vitesse, sent in by a visitor to this site, can be found on this page.

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