News : New Michelotti Triumph photos unearthed

Keith Adams

Triumph 2000 (2)

Fascinating new images of the Triumph 2000 Innsbruck project have been unearthed by AROnline reader Alexander Glorieux. The photographs show styling sketches for the facelifted Triumph 2000, as well as a full-sized mock-up, which shows some interesting styling variations from the final, definitive production version.

Alexander said: ‘I have a couple of photo negatives that were previously owned by Giovanni Michelotti. I added a scan of negatives that are related to Triumph, showing two negatives of drawings of Triumph 2000 (TR) proposals, and four negatives of a car (or mock-up) that is similar to the Triumph 2000, but that doesn’t look 100% like a production car.’

Triumph 2000 (1)

The full-sized car, which was photographed at Michelotti’s styling studio in Italy, reveals that the car has its headlamps hidden behind horizontal slats. This styling trick was used in the earliest Stag prototype, which never made it into production.

The Innsbruck facelift of the original Triumph 2000 was seen as one of the more successful updates of a saloon in the industry at the time – would that have been the case had it retained the striking front end of this 1967 proposal?

Triumph 2000 (3)

Facelift styling sketches

Triumph 2000 (4)

Triumph 2000 (5)

Keith Adams


  1. ‘Full-sized mock-up’? Is this not yer actual 1964 Triumph 2000, driven from Canley to Turin and left there for Giovanni to hack about?

  2. ARW571B was a green 1864 Triumph TR4
    ARW575B was a black 1964 Triumph Spitfire

    No record of ARW573B sadly…

  3. Okay I meant 1964; doubt there were any Victorian TR4s even if some of the engineering was a little bit “vintage”

  4. I’m really liking the first of those design sketches. I don’t think it would have been as successful as the actual facelift, but it’d still make for a great looking car.

    Very much ahead of its time I think. Would suit a ’70s successor to the 2000/2500, were we blessed with such a thing.

  5. Both the design proposals look terrific. I guess it was easier to stick to a solution that allowed Triumph to use off the shelf round Lucas sealed beams though!

    • That’s a good point. What was the first British(-owned) mass produced car to use bespoke light units? My guess is the XJ-S. Do we know of anything else to predate that…? Austin 3-litre came close but bottled it at the last minute.

  6. What about the Trapezoidal units on the Austin versions of the 18/22 series – later 2200 versions of the Princess? Arrived in 1975, the same year as the XJS.

  7. When I was researching triumph stags I was told of this modified 2000 and it was used as a hack as well as a towing car trailering cars to Italy as required. The number plate was genuine to this car and I think you may just see the tow bar fitting. The sliding headlamps did not work on this or the 2 stags that had them as they kept on jamming and were worked by a modified wiper motor. Stag 6105 KV and PVC237G were both fitted with them before being dropped.

  8. We had a few of these when I was a kid, including a 2000 and a couple of 2.5Pi’s. They were excellent cars and the refresh made a big difference in styling turning a 60’s car very much into a 70’s icon. These were my dads company cars and I remember having to go from this to a Cavalier (a bit of a come down although an ok car). I drove them all on private land from being a kid.

    What was great for me was that my dad was a middle manager and whilst he never got new cars, he pretty much had the choise of those that became available from senior managers or a good rep mobile is someone moved on (new reps were always given a new car as part of their package). He once rang me from work to say he’d been offered a Triumph Sprint in Yellow, and should he take it. Of course I said YES!. Really disappointed later that night when he didn’t bring it home – something to do with the brakes – once the chance was gone we never did get one.

    I digress, the 2500 Pi was a lovely car to drive, always remember the overdrive button in the middle of the gear knob. My mam never knew what it was for! I always thought that the cluster of warning lights (which I think from memory included the indicator direction arrows) was cool. This was the first time I’d seen this but of course it was common in the Triumph range throughout the 70’s. My only regret, not being able to have a go in a Stag!

  9. This car appears in several Graham Robson books, and there are also pictures of it in the BMH archive.

    I spoke to an ex Triumph experimental engineer who remebered bringing this car home a couple of times (Bulkington?). He also remembered it being sold on to another experimental department chap after Triumph finished with it.

  10. The hidden headlamp thing was really popular in America in the late 60s. They tended to run off vacuum so as the car was left sitting they would slowly open one at a time giving a woken up with a hangover look.

  11. Considering headlight rules in the USA have been strict I’m surprised hidden headlights were allowed.

  12. Come to think of it 1975 was quite a year for bespoke headlamps. As well as the XJS and Princess units mentioned, there was also the Chrysler Alpines goldfish tanks and the Cavalier MK1’s flush mounted sloping units.

  13. @ Richard, some US cars by the end of 60’s- mid 70’s had hidden headlamps, mostly luxury “personal” as they were called, ie: Imperial 69-73, Lincoln Continental & MKV-VI, Mercury Cougar, Cadillac Eldorado and more…
    I’m led to believe that the glazed surface was a problem(ie Citroen SM had a full glazed front, DS had big clusters too post 68 facelift)
    Then popup lights were banned for pedestrian safety reasons last century.

  14. Is this not a hybrid with lengthened Mk 2 nose & Mk 1 tail? Going by the length of the boot, rear bumper & tail lights? Possibly the original intention was just to do the front end? Looks beautifully balanced even so. Saw a photo on this site of a 4 door Toledo with the original short tail & that looked fantastic too!

    Having owned Mk1 & Mk 2 Triumphs the lower opening boot of the former was a boon but the Mk 2 arrangement was obviously more efficient structurally, which is probably why they weren’t much heavier.

  15. The rear of the car is also a facelift MK1 2000 as it does not have the stand up spare whell as on the pre facelift cars

  16. David Knowles says:
    20 JUNE 2014 AT 8.23 AM
    ARW571B was a green 1864 Triumph TR4

    Just a correction here, my father owned this tr4 in old english white for many years in early 70s. It was an unusual works mule originally with some TR4a parts fitted such as walnut dash. There was no evidence of it having changed colour in this time incl surrey top. I recall the car very well and have several,pictures of it. I wonder if it still exists.

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