Car: Triumph TRX, 1950

It was known as the “new Roadster,” or by its nickname “Silver Bullet,” but for Triumph, the official and futuristic TRX proved nothing but trouble.

1950 model car Triumph TRX
The sheer quantity of gadgets, such as the electrically-operated hood, was the ultimate downfall of the TRX
1950 model car Triumph TRX
1950 model car Triumph TRX

The smooth-lined two-seater, unveiled in 1950, was meant as a replacement for the Triumph 2000 Roadster, a delightfully old-fashioned model with its tiny cockpit, dickey seat, and huge, free-standing headlamps. Seeking a more progressive image, Triumph stylist Walter Belgrove came up with the TRX’s sleek, torpedo-like profile, which was built in double-skinned aluminum.

1950 Triumph TRX
1950 Triumph TRX

To maintain the flowing look, headlamps were concealed behind revolving metal covers, and the rear wheels were artfully faired-in. The new car was loaded with power-assisted gadgets. Windows, radio aerial, headlight covers, and the side-opening hood were electrically operated, and the overdrive on the three-speed gearbox was electro-hydraulically driven. A large electric motor drove the system, whose network was carefully sandwiched inside the double-skinned bodywork. With so much complexity, the Silver Bullet was plagued with problems. Soon plans were ditched, and Triumph turned to the simple TR2 sports car.

“When he pressed a button to raise the window, the seat slid back, and when he pressed the seat adjustment button, the hood was promptly raised.”

Philip Turner, motor magazine, 1973

Video model car Triumph TRX

Specification model car Triumph TRX

PLACE OF ORIGIN: Coventry, Warwickshire, UK
ENGINE: four-cylinder, 127ci 2, (088cc)
LAYOUT: front-mounted engine driving the rear wheels
BODYWORK: two-door, two-seater roadster
TOP SPEED: 90mph (145kph) (projected)