Triumph 2000/2.5 PI: From Mount Panorama to Mexico City

14 February 2014
Pure nostalgia. A fabulous shot of the Lex Davison/Rock Tresise Triumph 2000 Mk I charging down through the Esses during the British sedan’s Bathurst 500 debut in 1964. Note the old timber ‘safety’ fencing in the background and the illuminated ‘D-A-V-O’ headlight covers which fellow competitors would have found hard to miss in their mirrors.

The Triumph 2000/2.5 PI sedan was a large, rugged and spirited performer, well suited to rallying in the 1960s. Its long career as a factory entrant on the international rally stage commenced in 1964 with the 2000 Mk I and culminated with the 2.5 PI Mk II’s exceptional performance in the 1970 London-Mexico World Cup Rally. 

The ‘big’ Triumph had many of the right ingredients for endurance events. Its strong unitary body shell was equipped with supple four-wheel independent suspension, front disc brakes and rack and pinion steering. This provided an excellent platform for the base 2.0 litre and PI’s larger 2.5 litre fuel-injected inline sixes and their four-speed overdrive manual gearboxes.

It also competed for several years in the annual 500-mile (800 km) Bathurst endurance race at Mount Panorama, when the event catered for showroom stock production cars. Fittingly, the 2.5 PI Mk II model represented the British marque in the rorty sedan’s final Bathurst appearance in the 1970 Hardie-Ferodo 500.

It’s moments after the start of the 1965 Armstrong 500 at Mount Panorama and the field surges towards Hell Corner in a swirling cloud of dust, tyre smoke and exhaust fumes. The two Triumph 2000s look to be giving the V8 Studebaker Lark a run for its money here – but not for long.

 

1964 Armstrong 500

The Triumph 2000 made its Bathurst debut in 1964. With four competing classes based on retail prices, the British sedan was well represented in the most expensive Class D (1,201-2000) with four entries pitched against other high-priced imports like the V8-powered Studebaker Lark, Ford’s six cylinder-powered Zephyr Mk III and Citroen’s ID19.

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