Me and my Motor - Graham Sinagola, 1951 Triumph Renown
PUBLISHED: 00:19 25 August 2013
Graham Sinagola’s transport of delight was made in the same year he was born, and it is a triumph of British engineering
Retired photographer Graham Sinagola and his wife Susan have a soft spot for a bygone age.
They dress up in 1940s clothes to attend various nostalgic social gatherings. But until two years ago, they weren’t able to arrive in the appropriate style.
‘We go along to ‘40s events, and we decided that we didn’t want to keep turning up in the Triumph Herald we’ve got,’ says Graham, aged 62, from Bowdon, Altrincham. ‘So I started looking around for a suitable car.’
He chanced upon a 1951 Triumph Renown, advertised in Timperley – not quite a ‘40s car, but as Graham says: ‘They hadn’t moved on. They were still building cars in the pre-war style’.
The two-litre family saloon, with a three-speed manual column gearchange, needed a new set of tyres, new brakes and some judicious application of grease in the complicated steering mechanism, but was otherwise in good condition.
‘There’s more to do. The seats need recovering. It’s the kind of thing you can keep doing bits to all the time – a rolling restoration,’ says Graham, who is handy enough as a mechanic to do many of the tasks himself.
‘It’s difficult to say how many miles it’s done, but it’s probably been round the clock. There’s a brass plaque on the engine saying it had been rebuilt at the factory in 1958 or 1959. In those days, engines needed work doing to them from time to time, not like modern engines that go on and on.’
Graham sought the car’s history from the DVLA and discovered it had had only seven owners, beginning with an upmarket address in Sussex.
He says the Renown was named after the battleship HMS Renown, which served in both world wars, and the model is closely related to the Triumph Roadster which
was famously driven by TV detective Bergerac.
If the Roadster is anything like the Renown to drive, the idea of Bergerac rushing to the scene of a crime really is pure fiction.
‘It’s mainly good in straight lines, not so hot on country lanes where there are lots of bends,’ says Graham. ‘The steering is quite heavy and the turning circle is quite big. You can’t manoeuvre it very easily.
‘I will keep it for as long as I can, but with the steering being so heavy, a few years from now I may have problems.’