View Full Version : Return of the TR?

01-03-2005, 04:17 PM
I just remembered something I read not to long ago in an obscure internet article, that BMW currently owns the rights to the Triumph name? Supposedly they got it in one of the deals for Rover. Anyone know if this is fact or not? The article said that for the last year or so Bimmer had been kicking around the idea of building a new TR model to compete in the same price category as the Mazda Miata. Another iconic British marque in German hands, I wonder how that would be received by the Triumph faithful.

01-03-2005, 07:08 PM
Personally I don't see it unfortunatly as it would just erode BMW own Z4 roadster.

01-03-2005, 07:20 PM
Triumph World had an article on that prospect last year. They didn't that would happen due to the niche that TR's hold. They would directly compete with BMW's market shares.

01-03-2005, 08:06 PM
I hadn't heard of a new Triumph, but word of a Z8-based big Healey (called the Warwick) has been around for a while:



01-03-2005, 08:46 PM
I too, can't see BMW doing that, as they would be in direct competition with themselves.
But,as muddled as that whole Bimmer situation is, I wouldn't rule anything out.
However, the current BMW's are plagued with electrical problems, they overheat, and, they leak oil. Maybe a segue into a new TR would be a natural progression.
Ka-Ching. $.02

01-03-2005, 09:16 PM
Really? I don't see a new TR cutting into BMW's niche with the Z4. One of the things I hated about the Z4 when it came out was that it cost so much more than the Z3, so alot of the enthusiasts that could just make it into a Z3 didn't have a prayer of getting into the new car. The proposed new TR would be significantly below the Z4 in price, competing more with the miata in the mid to high 20 thousand dollar range. The 05 Miata starts at $22,600, and the current Z4 at $34,300, so there's quite a bit of room in there to play around. And honestly, if you've got 25 grand in your pocket and you're hot for a new convertible 2 seat sports car, really, what are your choices? The Miata is close to being the only game in town. Sure, there's the Mustang convertible, but it's not a sports car. The Honda S2000 is nice, but it's in the same price class as the BMW, and Toyota is killing off the MR spyder after this year. There's the Mitsu Eclipse spyder, but again, it's not a 2 seater. I think if BMW was smart, they could make it work. Everything else is well into the $30K range. Granted, I don't think they'd be able to build a car as bulletproof as the Miata though, but it would be really cool to see a new TR roaming the streets.

01-04-2005, 12:50 AM
Well whats so wrong with the 350Z??-Keoke

01-04-2005, 10:27 AM
Well whats so wrong with the 350Z??-Keoke

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Sorry, I couldn't think of every car in that category, I was bound to miss something. Nothing wrong with the 350Z at all, it's a fine car. I've been a big fan of Nissan's Z cars for most of my life, and owned two of them. However, the Z roadster starts at $28.5K, which puts it dangerously close to that $30K threshhold and, IMO, at the very top of the price range of a car like the Miata. However, I'd say that it would still be a competitor to a proposed new TR. Still though, that only gives you two choices for a sub $30K two seat convertible sports car (unless I've forgotten yet another).

01-04-2005, 11:00 AM
BMW is already well entrenched in the business of successfully resurrecting LBCs in the form of the MINI Cooper. They're selling like hot cakes, and they're great cars. BMW just announced the 500,000th one sold, with long waiting lists for folks who wish to buy a new one.

IF (a very big if, I think!) BMW decided to bring back some kind of retro-look Triumph model, I'd assume they'd use a successful Triumph model for the platform. Maybe the TR-6? How about a nice BMW TR-8 knockoff? Or, a "new" GT6 with glove leather interior, all the trimmings and 200BHP?

The possibilities are endless, and not difficult for a company like BMW. We can only dream, but what a dream it is!

01-04-2005, 02:53 PM
What about the Spitfire? I think it was Triumph's best looking car, with styling that still looks contemporary today. Build it with the M engine as standard equipment, put on a convertible top that offers good protection against the rain, and price it at $20,000. BMW would sell them as fast as they could make them.

01-04-2005, 05:39 PM
Agreed. And I'd be one of the first in line at the "BMWumph" dealership!

01-04-2005, 05:56 PM
I'd love to see something like a new Spitfire. Something without all the frills. I don't need A/C, power windows, etc, etc. Unforuatly all these "extras" are exactly where companies make their money.

Mickey Richaud
01-04-2005, 06:13 PM
I'd love to see something like a new Spitfire. Something without all the frills. I don't need A/C, power windows, etc, etc. Unforuatly all these "extras" are exactly where companies make their money.

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Unfortunately, we're at the mercy of all the marketing "experts" who know better what we want. Forgive my rant, but I recently bought a Toyota Tacoma Double Cab, which I really like, but it's not what I wanted - not exactly. I wanted a manual transmission, but was told that their research told them that if someone is going to spend a certain amount of money, they expect an automatic transmission. I told them that was not my expectation, but no matter. They said that it MIGHT be offered at a later date, but not now. It's in all the other Tacoma models, but not the Double Cab. So, unless there are enough voices out there to make it worth their while, car makers are going to offer what they think they can sell the most.


01-04-2005, 07:29 PM
The insider info (which actually became "outside" info a year or so ago) was that BMW was toying with bringing out an entry-level ragtop called the "Sprite." They, however, decided on sticking to their number system.

BMW has absolutely no plans to ever use the Triumph name again. From a pure marketing standpoint, Triumph evokes too little positive name recognition. The majority of people who remember the name associate it with the TR7, which was widely considered ugly, slow and unreliable -- unfairly associated, but that's what marketing people have to go on.

Don't count on a TR anytime in the next decade.

Of course, us Triumph fans can band together and buy the name from BMW!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

Mickey Richaud
01-04-2005, 08:05 PM
BMW has absolutely no plans to ever use the Triumph name again. From a pure marketing standpoint, Triumph evokes too little positive name recognition. The majority of people who remember the name associate it with the TR7, which was widely considered ugly, slow and unreliable -- unfairly associated, but that's what marketing people have to go on.

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Too little positive name recognition?? Again with the marketing people! Makes you wonder whom they're asking in these polls. For my money, when you're talking Triumph, as in British sports cars, you're talking about not only the TR7, but much more the TR3 and 4, and the Spitfire.

Think I'll go take my blood pressure medicine...


01-04-2005, 08:08 PM
...Unfortunately, we're at the mercy of all the marketing "experts" who know better what we want. ...

[/ QUOTE ]The marketing "experts" couldn't care less what we want. We being gearhead LBC enthusiasts.

They know they'd have to sell a bunch of them to make it worth bothering and to sell a bunch they would have to appeal to a reasonable percentage of the general public. The fact that MX5's direct competitors in the reasonably priced little two seater convertible market like the Capri and MR2 have come and gone with barely a blip on their makers' balance sheets doesn't bode well for a Triumphant return.

I agree that that the Z4 appeals to different customers than would a new TR. The MINI convertible on the other hand...


01-04-2005, 09:16 PM
I personally would love to see a new Spitfire made by BMW. Something with clean lines much more Z3esque then Z4ish, and a nice nod or two to the original Spitfire 4. Alas the likelyhood of this ever happening is nil.

01-04-2005, 10:13 PM
I'm repeating myself from a similar comments made a while back, but since some of you have commented about entry-level sports cars, I'll kick in two that I really like: The Suzuki Cappuccino and the FIAT Barchetta. Sadly, neither is available her in the U.S. Both are a bit cheaper than the MX-5 Miata (I still think that Miatas are the best deal going in entry level sports cars).

The Suzuki Cappuccino

FIAT Barchetta

Also, an Indian company tried to work out a deal to make a new "MG Midget" based on a TATA Avia. The car was fairly smart looking, but the deal fell through (which may be just as well since engineering was reported to be pretty shabby).

Proposed "New Midget"
https://www.tiscali.co.za/motoring/xaura.image?content=102978&fieldtype=102487&index= 0

Speaking of smart looking, the Smart Roadsteer is a keen little entry level sports car (in my view). Since Smarts are coming to the U.S., I guess it's possible that these might make it stateside as well.

Smart Roadster

01-05-2005, 06:56 AM
Not sure about the Barchetta, but the Cappuccino and it's competitor Honda Beat have not been made for many years.
The Suzuki Cappuccino and the Honda Beat both came out in the very early 90:s and are still seen often on the roads here in Tokyo. Great little machines! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/driving.gif

01-05-2005, 10:32 AM
Why is it all these cool little cars that exist elsewhere in the world never seem to make it to the US? I can't believe it's taken this long to get the Lotus Elise here, what a fantastic car! How many other fantastic cars are out there that we will, sadly, never get to enjoy here in SUV-land?

01-05-2005, 10:05 PM
Very simple -- we have ride height and impact standards that are expensive to meet. Also, Clean Air legislation requires significant and expensive development to engines.

So you'll need to either fit an exisitng US-spec engine (like they did in the Lotus) or you make an engine for just one small production car. Ask Honda why they are stopping the production of the S2000 this year?

Also, the American market is very tough on small cars, because we are a horsepower society. It is near impossible to sell a new car with under 120HP in America now.

I feel your pain. We need to keep in mind, though, that marketing-driven business is a good thing IF you have good marketers. I think that GM and Ford gave marketing guys a bad name, mostly because they never quite understood how to brand-manage in the way that traditional marketing-driven companies (like P&G) have done.

As a guy who got a degree in marketing and worked in the corporate world before becoming a writer, I understand that BMW can't use us as the target for an entry-level two seater. Most of us are too old, or too finicky to buy a Miata competitor. Sure, a number of us might buy a new Triumph, but consider that only 660,000 (approximately) sporting Triumphs were made (TR2-8, Spit, Stag, GT6.) That's just too small a population (even throwing in 600,000 MGA and MGB owners and the small group of Healey owners.)

BMW has talked about bringing out a 1-series sports roadster, and BMW has more to gain with its own name, than to have the issues of trying to maintain another separate brand name.

But personally, I'd love to see a new TR! I just don't think it makes sense, given BMW's positioning and the fact it already owns the Healey name, which has a better and higher-end recognition among non british car owners.

01-06-2005, 01:17 AM

Yeah, I sort of knew all the things you mentioned, but I wanted to gripe anyway, eases my frustration. I'm a big horsepower freak, no doubt, but I'd still love to have the opportunity to own one of these cool little modern sports cars.

As much as I would like to see the rebirth of a classic LBC brand, I certainly hope they do not build that Warwick concept. I'm a big fan of the classic Healeys but I'm sorry, that concept is butt ugly. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/pukeface.gif

01-06-2005, 11:03 AM
I agree that the Warwick concept is not a pretty auto. I wish there were some more pictures of it to puruse, But from what I can see of it I think the rear end might look pretty good, and if they remodeled the grill and headlights, took a little of that edge off it would be a very pleasing car. But oh well its not like they would actually decide to bring the healy badge back, as a big healy would compete directly against the Z4. I think the odds of them reviving the Triumph badge would be more likely.

01-06-2005, 02:46 PM
I remember seeing a few pictures from different angles of the 'Warwick' a some years ago.
Remember thinking it looked great and wished they'd make it.
Needless to say, I have no idea where I came across the pics! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif

01-07-2005, 12:43 AM
A not-so-great rear view of the Warwick:


01-24-2005, 12:20 PM
Maybe our best hope for affordable roadsters lies in, gulp, GM? I'm looking forward to the Pontiac Solstice and its sister the Saturn Sky, both of which are expected to come in around $20K to start.

01-24-2005, 01:15 PM
huck, you may be right. I saw them both up at NAIAS and for the first time I saw a car I would consider buying (the Saturn Sky, not the Pontiac Solstice, just don't like the front end). Plus there's already a factory supercharger for the Ecotec (it's on one of the other Saturn models).

(sorry for the size)

01-24-2005, 04:43 PM
The rear thre quarter shot of the Warwick actually looks nice. Very good lines if only the front could match it. I like the looks of that Saturn, pretty snappy looking, I just wonder how it will perform and how it will hold up.

01-24-2005, 05:55 PM
Agreed, I like the sky alot, but want to puke when I look at the solstice. Sorry if that's harsh, I'm just not a big fan of Pontiac styling.

I'd be surprised though if they could bring the Sky in at $20K, the car just looks alot more expensive than that, at least with some decent options. However, it would be great if they could, so I'm rooting for Saturn and GM on that one. Would give the people looking for a nice stylish entry level drop top sports car another option.

You know, the more I stare at that Warwick picture, the more it grows on me, at least the rear view. I don't think I'll ever like the front view, but the back is not bad, very Healey-ish.

01-24-2005, 10:14 PM
I heard 25k for the sky, not 20k...

02-01-2005, 01:04 PM
Wow, ya know, I actually really like the look of the Warwick, as it were. That is one of the few retros I have seen that stylistically does a fair job of paying hommage to its namesake. Some retros really seem to miss the mark for me. This one has a classy look, is definitely modernized, keeps some aero-dynamic lines, all without giving up any of its prestige. Not bad. I would way rather look at that coming downt the road as opposed to yet another VW bug, or PT Cruiser!!

02-01-2005, 10:41 PM
My only real problem with the Warwick, are the headlights, and the front bumper. It would look so much better with no bumper, and round or roundish headlights.

02-03-2005, 12:53 PM
I think that the Sky is supposed to be more expensive. If the demand is there, it will be well above its price-point anyway (IE: MINI Cooper).

Here's a niche that no one is addressing, five seater convertibles. Few four seaters actually seat four adults and none are designed as five seates (well below $100,000 anyway). A convertible Chysler 300 would be neat. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/square.gif

02-03-2005, 03:03 PM
A convertible Chysler 300 would be neat.

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I couldn't agree more. I'd love to see the return of an American phaeton 4 door convertible ala the 60's Lincolns. The 300 would make a great candidate for this, although I'm pretty sure that whoever made it I wouldn't be able to afford it. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif