The Triumph Lynx would form the basis of another sad BL story. It was a victim of lack of funds, but also the ongoing battle between Michael Edwardes and the unions.
The car had promise – and the market anticipated a flagship Triumph that worked, unlike the Stag which preceded it. It had Rover V8 power, four seats and ample performance.
Lynx: the Capri fighter that never was…
The ideology behind the Triumph Lynx was straightforward enough – and the fact that strategists identified the need for the company to produce to a sports coupé proved that they were doing their job correctly. In 1972, the Lynx project was resurrected from an earlier sports car project with the same name designed by Michelotti.
The second-generation car emerged as a wholly predictable extension of the TR7 platform, although it wasn’t as stylish as the original Triumph Lynx. Maybe that was because its front-end styling was retained almost unmodified, but from the scuttle line back, the car was almost entirely new. The Lynx was central to the planned expansion of Rover-Triumph announced by Lord Stokes in May 1973.
Developing the new Triumph coupe
The TR7 platform had its wheelbase extended by 12 inches and longer passenger doors were incorporated in order to balance the side view of the car and improve access to the rear seats. The rear end of the car looked vastly different to the donor car and was somewhat unhappy in its detailing – losing the Harris Mann tapering belt line in the process.
The intention was that the car would also incorporate a hatchback, like the MGB GT, in order to offer a practical, as well as stylish package.
Development of the Lynx was stepped up following commencement of TR7 production in September 1974 and, again, extensive use of the BL part bin was made. The gearbox would be the LT77 five-speed unit planned for the TR7 V8 rally car and Rover SD1. There would be two versions of the Lynx – the MG version was to be powered by the O-Series engine and supercede the MGB GT, while the Triumph would get the Rover V8, pitching it as a Stag replacement.
What happened to the Triumph Lynx?
The rear suspension of the Lynx would also be shared with the Rover SD1 – a solid rear axle with intelligent location and damping. The package looked very viable and, once it became clear that Speke would have the excess capacity to produce it, the BL Board gave it the go ahead for production.
The problem was that the time that the tooling was ready to be installed into the Speke factory coincided with industrial relations problems of biblical proportions between the workforce of the Liverpool factory and the company’s management.
In 1978, the TR7 assembly plant in Speke was closed after the long, much-publicised strike that broke out on the day Michael Edwardes became Chairman of British Leyland (1 November 1977). Along with Speke went the Triumph Lynx. By closing Speke Number Two, Michael Edwardes dealt a blow to the jobs-for-life culture that permeated BL.