Sports car projects : Triumph

The Michelotti Bullet & Lynx

Profile view of the Bullet shows delicious proportioning.  (Picture: "MG: The Untold Story", by David Knowles).

Profile view of the Bullet shows delicious proportioning. (Picture: “MG: The Untold Story”, by David Knowles).

Entering the 1970s, Triumph decided on a two-pronged attack on the sports car market: Bullet was the TR6 replacement incorporating, like the Stag, a roll-over bar and T-bar. Lynx was the closed coupé, to replace the GT6. Like all Triumphs since the Herald in 1959 (and excluding the Karmann-designed TR6), both cars were styled by Michelotti.

The grille/headlamp arrangement of this Michelotti Lynx bears a remarkable resemblance to the that of the P10 proposal from 1970. As with much of the design house’s work of the era, the styling is very attractive – notable in this case, for its long, elegant bonnet and kamm-tail. (Picture: "MG: The Untold Story", by David Knowles).

The grille/headlamp arrangement of this Michelotti Lynx bears a remarkable resemblance to the that of the P10 proposal from 1970. As with much of the design house’s work of the era, the styling is very attractive – notable in this case, for its long, elegant bonnet and kamm-tail. (Picture: “MG: The Untold Story”, by David Knowles).

Triumph’s proposed sports car range together in miniature. Certainly, this gallery would seem to show that the plans of the company made a great deal of sense.  (Picture: "MG: The Untold Story", by David Knowles).

Triumph’s proposed sports car range together in miniature. Certainly, this gallery would seem to show that the plans of the company made a great deal of sense. (Picture: “MG: The Untold Story”, by David Knowles).

The TR7-based Lynx

Left: Project Lynx was re-evaluated in 1972, following the establishment of the TR7 as BLMC’s corporate sports car. Unlike the earlier Lynx, this one was related to the fixed head coupé already in development: this time, the TR7. The objective was to extend the TR7 and improve its accommodation. Initial ideas centred on a sports estate version, somewhat akin to the Reliant Scimitar GTE.  Right: The sporting estate theme can be seen again in this double-sided proposal (the other side is shown below). Interestingly, the rear end treatment of this model was less pleasant to look at (being reminiscent of the AMC Gremlin), but more in keeping with the razor edged front end. Either way, it was overlooked in favour of an all-out coupé in the mould of the Ford Capri.

Left: Project Lynx was re-evaluated in 1972, following the establishment of the TR7 as BLMC’s corporate sports car. Unlike the earlier Lynx, this one was related to the fixed head coupé already in development: this time, the TR7. The objective was to extend the TR7 and improve its accommodation. Initial ideas centred on a sports estate version, somewhat akin to the Reliant Scimitar GTE. Right: The sporting estate theme can be seen again in this double-sided proposal (the other side is shown below). Interestingly, the rear end treatment of this model was less pleasant to look at (being reminiscent of the AMC Gremlin), but more in keeping with the razor edged front end. Either way, it was overlooked in favour of an all-out coupé in the mould of the Ford Capri.

A slightly more sloping roofline was investigated for this Lynx proposal – the beginnings of a move away from the sports estate version – towards the final, definitive coupé.

A slightly more sloping roofline was investigated for this Lynx proposal – the beginnings of a move away from the sports estate version – towards the final, definitive coupé.

This incarnation of Project Lynx was a promising 4-seater coupé, to be available in 4-cylinder and V8-engined forms, badged as either a Triumph or an MG. This version was the MG version, which according to plan would have been powered by a 2.0-litre version of the O-series engine, leaving the V8 for the Triumph. Certainly, the plan had been that the Lynx would replace the troublesome Stag. (Picture: "MG: The Untold Story", by David Knowles).

This incarnation of Project Lynx was a promising 4-seater coupé, to be available in 4-cylinder and V8-engined forms, badged as either a Triumph or an MG. This version was the MG version, which according to plan would have been powered by a 2.0-litre version of the O-series engine, leaving the V8 for the Triumph. Certainly, the plan had been that the Lynx would replace the troublesome Stag. (Picture: “MG: The Untold Story”, by David Knowles).

The Lynx from arguably its best angle. The bumpers and rear lamp clusters may have been a little heavy handed, but the car was on a different planet to the TR7 (and MGB) when it came to practicality. Rear seating is surprisingly effective, as it the boot area – the only downside was the high boot sill... not too much of an issue in a sports car, though! (Picture: "MG: The Untold Story", by David Knowles).

The Lynx from arguably its best angle. The bumpers and rear lamp clusters may have been a little heavy handed, but the car was on a different planet to the TR7 (and MGB) when it came to practicality. Rear seating is surprisingly effective, as it the boot area – the only downside was the high boot sill… not too much of an issue in a sports car, though! (Picture: “MG: The Untold Story”, by David Knowles).

Project Broadside

Project Broadside could also be known as son-of-Lynx. This was a last ditch attempt to develop the TR7 into a viable range of cars – offering MG and Triumph versions powered by the O-Series engine, as well as the Rover V8. The coupé version, show here resembled a foreshortened Lynx (II), but offered less interior accommodation, thanks to its wheelbase being some six inches shorter.

Project Broadside could also be known as son-of-Lynx. This was a last ditch attempt to develop the TR7 into a viable range of cars – offering MG and Triumph versions powered by the O-Series engine, as well as the Rover V8. The coupé version, show here resembled a foreshortened Lynx (II), but offered less interior accommodation, thanks to its wheelbase being some six inches shorter.

O-Series engine looks a straightforward fit.

O-Series engine looks a straightforward fit.

Keith Adams

About the Author:

Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007. Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent... Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.

4 Comments on "Sports car projects : Triumph"

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  1. Chris Sawyer says:

    As an American alive at the time, I can say that Michelotti’s Bullet and Lynx would have gone over well here–if the quality and performance had been there. The only other cars that might have made it were the Project Broadside vehicles, with the same caveats and some design detail clean-up. Instead, we got the oddly styled TR7 with its abysmal quality, and a TR8 that was, finally, more to our liking but overpriced.

  2. Wayne Barratt says:

    Back in 1975 a stylist from Rover-Triumph was nice enough to come to our house and showed an aspiring 16 year old car designer(me) the drawings for the Michelotti Lynx (with the name cut out), and to say I was impressed was a total understatement.
    He told me how the design was dumped in favour of what he called “A Kojak Car” (TR7)as the management didnt see the kids driving around in british sportscars that looked like Lamborghini’s.
    Sadly I cant remember the stylists name, I do however remember he drove a grey Mini Van fitted with a roofrack and disliked David Bache with a passion!

  3. Every time I look at the pic of Broadside, I wonder why on earth BL management killed it off – as the car (unlike the TR7) looks like something that could easily have carried on into the early 90s with minor tweaks to bumper/lights – and would have been an ideal recipient of the 16v Sprint engine with fuel injection as well as the V8.

    Not convinced by the coupés, but the DHC is simply a very stylish, well proportioned car.

  4. Phil Simpson says:

    Lynx would have made a good Stag replacement although as it looks like a three door SD1, I suspect that car’s front would have suited it better.

    Broadside would have made a very good facelift TR7/new MGB.

    Lynx II would have been a good successor to the MGB GT & would also be a worthy successor to the GT6 (without that name for obvious reasons).

    Don’t like the split tailgate though.

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