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Homepage. This page: A one-off special, based around a 12hp Gloria Vitesse saloon car from 1936.
Triumph Gloria Vitesse

Triumph Gloria 'Twelve' Vitesse car.

Triumph Gloria
Triumph Gloria Vitesse
I bumped into the new owner of this unusual Triumph in 2006, after having first clapped eyes on this unusual motorcar some time before, when I saw it advertised online. The photographs showed a car that looked like no other Gloria Vitesse that I could find pictures of, so I went over to the then-owner's house, 'somewhere in the North West', to have a better look.

At first I couldn't quite work out what I was looking at. The coachwork, rear of the bonnet, looked very Triumph, and was in very good order really, the doors opened very nicely, which suggested that the framework was in fine fettle. The front end I couldn't quite work out, although the wings did remind me of a Riley RM.

Next time I saw the car, it was with a new owner (Jimmy) and back on the road, for the first time in a number of years. It transpired that the car was indeed modified using a Gloria Vitesse as a starting point, with various Riley components being skillfully re-worked and adapted to fit the 1936 Triumph shown here. The bonnet is a one piece rear-hinged job, which was probably made for the job. The wings and (from memory) the running boards look like modified RM panels. They actually fit surprisingly well and you'd have to know your early Triumphs to spot that this wasn't a production model if you saw it driving by. Jimmy mentioned that the car, originally registered BRW658, spent much of its earlier life in the Whitchurch (Shropshire) area.

The car's current owner sent me some more information on the spec of the car:
  • The car is a Triumph Gloria 'Twelve' Vitesse Saloon
  • Original Engine: Coventry Climax 1.232cc 10.8hp no.G12S.2780
  • Chassis no. 12/2/0323
  • Original Registration: BRW 658
  • Reg. Date: 28th April 1936
  • Number of Triumph Gloria 'Twelve' Vitesse Saloons recorded by the Pre-1940 Triumph Owners Club = 20. 8 survive with only 3 (including my car) retaining the majority of their original bodywork.
Jimmy adds: "The chassis and rear tub are definitely Gloria . The suspension is Standard Vanguard as is the back axle and the steering gear. Instruments and steering wheel are Standard Vanguard. I think that the engine is also from the same source, I am not sure about the gearbox as it is a floor mounted four speed change (Vanguard is column as far as I am aware), I have now got original Triumph Gloria seats to go in it - thanks to Mark Noble, an AA patrol man in Newcastle."

Triumph Gloria Vitesse
Triumph Gloria Vitesse
Triumph Gloria Vitesse
The grandson of the car's creator appeared in an edition of the Wolverhampton Express & Star back in 1996, wondering what became of his grandfather's old Triumph.

Chris Clements is a modern-day car designer, responsible for such vehicles as the Ford Ka apparently, and appeared in the paper asking if anyone knew of the car's existence. It seems that the family reluctantly had to sell the car a few years ago to raise some cash, but seem to have regretted it ever since.

The Gloria Vitesse received its modifications by Chris' grandfather in the 1950s, incorporating the aforementioned Riley parts, a modified dash, plain disc wheels, and possibly a Riley engine too. He was keen to find out where the car now lives, and perhaps still is?

Jimmy, the current owner, would be interested in contacting car-designer Chris, so if you know Chris Clements, perhaps by his design work for the Ford Motor Company, please get in touch and I'll forward your details on to Jimmy. The car was registered BRW 658, and is now registered as 558 UXR.

More of your cars can be read about in the classic car stories section.

Photographs of a standard Gloria saloon may be found on this page, within the image archive section of the site.

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