Tag Archive: Leyland



In 1877, John Kemp Starley (1854 – 1901) and William Sutton (1830 – 1888) created the Starley & Sutton Company to manufacture Bicycles. They were concentrating on making the bicycles safer to ride as compared to the “Penny-farthing” bicycles of those days. In 1883 , they introduced tricycles and were selling those tricycles under the Rover brand name.

In 1885 they introduced the revolutionary Rover safety bicycle and can be considered as the father of the modern bicycle. A 1889 Rover safety bicycle –
In 1889, after the demise of his business partner , the company was renamed as J. K. Starley & Company.  In 1896 , with the bicycle business at its peak, the company was renamed as Rover Cycle Company. Starley also experimented with electric cars unsuccessfully and did not pursue further.
After the sudden death of John Starley in 1901 , Harry Lawson (of Daimler) took over the reins and steered the company towards motorisation – Motorcycles in 1903  and later cars in 1904. An 1903 Rover Motorcycle
Rover continued in Motorcycle business till 1925 after which production creased.
In 1904, Rover introduced their first motorcar. A 1905 Rover car
Rover became the well know British marque , across the world and continued to make famous car. In 1905, the company was renamed as Rover Company. Some of the famous cars of Rover are –
A 1910 . Rover Six
A 1929 , Rover Light Six
A 1940’s Rover P3
A 1950, Rover P4 “Cyclops” – third light in the grill –
A 1960 , Rover P5
In the 1950s , Rover experimented with gas turbine engines and introduced the Rover Jet1, unsuccessfully.
In 1948, inspired by the U S Army’s Willy’s Jeep, Maurice Wilks built  the Land Rover literally from the parts of a discarded Willy’s Jeep. Owing to steel shortage after the war and abundant availability of aluminium from aircraft construction, the body was made of light weight aluminum. The paint was military green as this was available in abundance after the war. One of the earliest Land Rovers built based on a Willy’s Jeep , a 1948 Land Rover

 

Land Rovers continued to make vehicle with ladder frame till recently, when they shifted to monocoque construction.
Owning to financial difficulties,  post the 1960s, the Rover company changed many hands.
In 1967 , Rover Company was taken over by Leyland Motor Corporation and integrated as Rover – Triumph division. In 1968, Leyland Motor Corporation merged with British Motor Holdings to become British Leyland Motor Company(BLMC)In 1975, BLMC was nationalised  to form British Leyland (BL). In 1978, Land Rover was made as a separate brand. In 1981, in an internal reorganisation, Austin Motors and Rover Company were merged to form the Austin – Rover group.
A 1984 Austin Montego. This car was made and sold in India as Rover Montego by Sipani Motors.
In 1986, the parent company , British Leyalnd was renamed as Rover Group. The Rover group was taken over by British Aerospace in 1989 and later sold off to BMW in 1994. In 2000, in view of financial difficulties, BMW sold off the Rover brand to a consortium who named the company as MG Rover, the MG brand coming from the Morris Garages and Morris Motor Company.
A 2004 MG Rover –
Further , in 2007 , Nanjing Automotive Group of China purchased the MG brand and SAIC of China purchased the product rights of Rover car but not the Rover brand. The Land Rover brand was purchased by Ford and integrated in to their Premium Automotive Group (PAG), along with Jaguar. In 2008, Tata Motors of India purchased Jaguar – Land Rover from Ford. Currently the Land Rover brand is with Tata Motors. In China, SAIC makes Rover cars but cannot use the Rover brand name and hence these cars are being sold under Roe We brand.
The Rover Logos
The original Rover logo is of a Viking ship.

Land Rover Logo –

Austin Rover Logo –

MG Rover Logo –

Roe We Logo (China) –

 

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Siegfried Bettman (1863 – 1951) , a German by descent , was importing and selling bicycles and sewing machines in England. In 1886, he created S. Bettman and Co for importing bicycles and selling under the name “Triumph“. In 1887, the company was renamed as  Triumph Cycle Company and later as New Triumph Company Ltd. In 1888 manufacturing bicycles were started in England on the insistence of his partner Moritz Schulte.
Triumph expanded in to motorcycles in 1902 and the first motorcycle was fitted with a Minerva engine.
In 1907 , Triumph started manufacturing their own engines as well as used engines designed by the famous Sir Harry Ricardo. During the war , Triumph motorcycles were used by the Allied army.
A 1914 Triumph Model H motorcycle used by the army –
A 1924 Triumph Ricardo Motorcycle –
While continuing to make and excel in motorcycles, Triumph expanded in to manufacture of cars. In 1921, they acquired the Dawson Car Company and launched their first car in 1923 – a Triumph 10/20
In 1930 the company was renamed as Triumph Motor Company and  launched the very successful Triumph Super 7 , in competition to the Austin 7 car.
Unable to keep in pace with the competition, Triumph shifted its focus from small car to large and luxury cars. Successful models like the Triumph Gloria followed.
By 1944 the company was bankrupt and was sold to Standard Motor Company. Standard Motors shifted Triumph to performance and sports cars and continued to sell normal cars under the Standard brand name.
A 1955 Triumph TR2

 

Triumph changed many hands in the following years – 1960 Leyland Motors; 1968 British Leyland Motor Corporation ; 1986 Rover group; 1994 BMW. When BMW sold the Rover holdings , it retained the Triumph brand  and the brand name is currently with BMW.
The last Triumph was a 1983 Triumph Acclaim

 

While the Triumph cars ceased production, the motorcycle continues till date. In 1936 the motorcycle division was sold to Ariel Motor Cycle Company and was renamed as Triumph Engineering Company Ltd. In 1951, the Triumph Engineering Company was taken over by BSA.  In 1956 , BSA sold off the bicycle division to Raleigh Bicycle company but retained the motorcycle division. In 1971 , the Triumph Motorcycle Division was sold to Norton-Villiers to become Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT). In 1977 NVT was sold to The Meridien Motorcycle Co-operative to become the Triumph Motorcycle (Meridien). 1983 saw the bankruptcy of Triumph and a builder /property developer John Bloor invested in Triumph to keep the brand alive till date as Triumph (Hinckley).

A 2011 Triumph Thunderbird Storm

The Triumph Logos –
A Triumph Bicycle head logo
A Triumph Motorcycle Logo –
A Triumph Car Logo –

 

Frederick York Wolseley (1837 – 1899) was working in a Sheep shearing company in Australia. Wolseley invented a mechanical shearing machine powered by a gasoline engine and in 1887 formed the companyWolseley Sheep Shearing Machine co, in Australia. He hired Herbert Austin as the chief of manufacturing in his company. In 1893 , Wolseley moved his company to England.
Herbert Austin was more interested in motor cars than sheep shearing machines and in 1896 made the first Wolseley motor car – a three-wheeled motor car.
In 1897 , he made the second Wolsely car, named Wolsely Autocar No 1. While he demonstrated the ability manufacture cars, these early versions were not very successful.  In 1900, Herbert Austin created the first four-wheeled Wolseley car and in 1901 , the company Wolseley Tool & Motor Co was formed.
After the death of Frederick Wolseley , Herbert Austin had frequent difference of opinion with the company directors and left Wolseley to form his own company – Austin Motorsin the year 1905. In 1905 , Wolsely and Siddley Auto car company joined together to make cars underWolseley – Siddley brand. A Wolsely – Siddley tourer.
Some of the famous Wolseley models were Wolseley  25 and theWolseley  6/80, a British Police car.
Wolseley Logo –
Over its lifetime , Wolseley changed many hands –
In 1914, the company was renamed as Wolseley Motor Co. In 1918 , Wolseley enters Japan through a joint venture with Ishikawa Ship Building & Engineering co to manufacture and sell Wolseley cars.  This compnay , in 1949, becomes Isuzu Motors.
In 1927 , Wolseley was acquired by Morris Motor co under the Nuffield organisation. In 1952 Nuffield organisation acquires Austin Motors and is renamed as British Motor Corporation (BMC). In 1956 , BMC is renamed as British Motor Holdings (BMH). In 1969 BMH and Leyland Motor Corporation joins to form the British Leyland. In 1986, British Leyalnad was renamed as the Rover group and later MG Rover.
In 1975 , the Wolseley brand was discontinued. Currently the Wolseley brand is with SAIC(Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation)  , China which acquired MG Rover group.