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Posted by Glenn Rowswell on 30th October 2017

A large part of the charm of classic cars in today’s modern world is character; it’s often argued that new vehicles are severely lacking in this department. The Triumph Vitesse stands as the perfect tonic to that sea of ‘resale silver’ blandness – its combination of expressive styling, a sonorous six cylinder engine and comfortable, spacious interior makes one of the best all-round propositions on the classic market today.

Largely based on the four-cylinder, friendlier-faced Herald, the Vitesse arrived in 1962 with a useful injection of performance from its 1.6-litre straight tsix – an engine which itself would go on to power a whole range of exciting Triumph sports cars in slowly increasing displacements, while the Vitesse itself eventually benefited from a two-litre version. Performance from both units is strong; with just a shade over 900kg to propel, acceleration is very brisk indeed and a top speed of 100mph can be reached in the later two-litre models.

A big part of the appeal of a Vitesse – not to mention its Herald, Spitfire and GT6 cousins – is the ease of DIY maintenance. The car’s bonnet also incorporates both front wings; with the panel flipped forward on its front- mounted hinges, the access to the engine, ancillaries and suspension components is unparalleled.

Mechanically, the Vitesse is a simple beast; with such good access, even some more complex jobs shouldn’t pose too much of an issue for a competent driveway mechanic. The whole Herald family of Triumphs enjoy a good level of parts and specialist support too; while Moss Europe (www.moss-europe. com) doesn’t cater specifically for the Vitesse, much of its stock of Spitfire parts will transfer directly. James Paddock Ltd. ( and Rimmer Bros. ( are just two of the wealth of other suppliers out there – if you are keen to select a classic car that is as simple to keep running as possible, the Vitesse is the perfect candidate.

It may not be the most sophisticated choice – and there are certainly plenty more sensible classics for everyday use – you’ll be very hard pressed to find a car with as much personality as the Vitesse that’s as easy to run and enjoy for a similar price.

Triumph Vitesse Buyers Guid

* The Triumph’s chassis is prone to severe rot in the outriggers and suspension mounts, front and rear.
* Chassis rails can also rust out as moisture works its way through the sills and floors, and the sections that extend under the boot floor are particularly prone to attack.
* Timing chain rattle is common on the Vitesse, as is crankshaft rumble on start-up. Oil from the crankshaft though is more worrying as replacing the oil seal isn’t a particularly easy job.
* Vinyl seat coverings are generally tough but can appear untidy with age – ditto carpets – and these aren’t difficult to sort out, getting the job done properly will soon bump up the price of your purchase.

Triumph Vitesse Buyers Guid

Triumph Vitesse 1.6  – from £1200 (condition 3) to £7000 (condition 1)
Triumph Vitesse 2.0 – from £1500 (condition 3) to £8000 (condition 1)