Triumph Motorcycles, Meriden Documentary 1983 Part 1



Very interesting, original 1983 documentary about the struggle for survival of the Triumph workers Co-Operative in the Meriden works.

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34 Comments to “Triumph Motorcycles, Meriden Documentary 1983 Part 1”

  1. Roadghost88 says:

    Japanese bike makers were getting tremendous support from their government.  Massive tax breaks, research grants, export subsidies and there were barely any tariffs against them.  Contrast that to Triumph who received almost no tax breaks, token support and little with which to do R&D and you have a recipe for failure.  Of course they got complacent in the 1960s and everyone was on the take – including the governments who were making great taxes of the industry – but it was a shame not to support them in their time of need.  Regardless, Triumph lives again today and sells well even though they are largely made in Philippines with assembly in the UK.  The new Triumphs are the best ever.

  2. The British bike industry went under in large part because of a failure to invest in new designs. 2 cylinder engines with both pistons going up and down together in most cases leaking oil too. Compare this with Japan producing 4 Cyl ohc and dohc engines with no oil leaks and 5 / 6 speed gearboxes costing the same. Maybe if they had looked at Honda etc as serious rivals instead of looking at them as 'rice burners that 'real bikers' wouldn't want they might have changed and survived but they didn't

  3. Paul J says:

    They lost the plot in 1971, suddenly the beautiful Bonny was ugly and still had the same old problems with the outdated engine. Farce and tragedy. It looked like crap parked next to the Norton Comando.

  4. karl Tempest says:

    Damm unions didn't help…

  5. Mike11913 says:

    Lack of investment in new machine tooling seemed to be one of the root causes of Triumph's (Meriden) demise. One could argue that the Bonnie was outdated but Harley Davidson's are hardly 'state of the art' but seem to sell well.

  6. "…until we stripped teh thing right down we couldn't see what had gone wrong." LoL that sums this up nicely. 7:34

  7. "takes your breath away, doesn't it?" No. Ugly block.

  8. Kastaru says:

    There such great bikes, it's very hard to find them used! lol

  9. Kastaru says:

    Thanks for this! It may have been lost for a long time. Now it will be floating on the net for a long, long time.

  10. Rikitocker says:

    Love Trumpies – Meriden, home of some of my ancestors!

  11. Yes,it´s all nice ,but you can´t beat Japanese quality and production numbers…I drove Norton and I am sad as well you are….:-((

  12. Maggie Thatcher was such a bitch to the Uk – its just a wasteland..

  13. MoleBop says:

    Thanks for uploading this, Davy. I wonder what happened to the characters in this film? I read John Rosamond's book and I am still non-the-wiser about whether the local politicians and the west mids enterprise board were actually helping or hindering the co-op? (T160 owner)

  14. How did John Bloor get hold of the Meriden factory for redevelopment, in Lancashire they have cleared the old MOD site at Euxton, Bloor Homes is now there too!
    Building houses will not save the country…we need industry & jobs, but the politicians talk about everything & anything else!

  15. I've owned many old Triumphs…wonderful bikes. Motorcycles are built and designed by brilliant men who understand what the public wants and understand you need to make a profit to survive.

  16. Kirk Conway says:

    really good factory footage, and the gates in front when they closed
    nice gentle clanking sound,like a big factory estate.

  17. Tornfreedom says:

    I wonder what motor they are for?. Maybe you could send me the prefix and number and I might be able to tell. I been riding 500 Triumphs since 1975 (obsolete since 1973/4). Many things that weren't Nailed down found their way out of Meriden Factory, and they were not all reject bits. I might even be the good home!.

  18. Sarah Martin says:

    I live in Meriden. Found two brand new engine casings when we moved in. We've yet to find a good home for them.

  19. Jeff Jones says:

    Thanks for sharing a piece of history, those lads skilled tradesmen let down by a tinpot Goverment that could of invested in people and manufacturing but instead wanted to create service industries how damn stupid!.

  20. silver760 says:

    The UK government did its best to destroy all UK industry and move over to a cash shoveling economy.The middle finger was shown to industry and every thing that could be done to remove what the government saw as a "Troublesome" industry was done.The gov were more interested in banking and finance as it was the "in" thing.What was done to what was the biggest and best manufacturing industry in the world by the governments of the time was criminal.The UK became a wasteland while london thrived.

  21. @davytriumph
    Thank you for sheering it with us .

  22. meriden4ever says:

    For what REALLY happened in the end, read John Rosamond's unadulterated account in 'Save The Triumph Bonneville ! The Inside Story Of The Meriden Workers' Co-Op' (Veloce 2009)

  23. hankedful says:

    I still have my last bike, a Triumph, serial number indicates it was made in Meriden, in april 1970.

  24. Zer0kbps says:

    i pray the Hinckley factory will never suffer the same fate

  25. great history,my 71 bsa is nearly a triumph. still learning the history around the bike.

  26. IewiIewi says:

    Simply ace video thanks for sharing !!!!!

  27. karl Tempest says:

    this is like all the greats of this once leading country,ie technology industry all gone,its so sad to have seen all industry in this isle gone,gone to a tin pot country like china,mase in china has a cheap ring to the name,long live triumph ..(hinckley)

  28. davytriumph says:

    Sorry,
    I recorded this from the telly in 1983 and only recently transferred it to DVD for personal use.

  29. Sparky9507 says:

    Thanks for posting this video, I grew up in Millisons wood right next to the factory, the video brings back fond memories of growing up next to it . . . used to love the White Helmets show every year when they picked up their new bikes

  30. Definately very interesting. As far as where are the workers now….? I know of one with a small shop in Colorado. He'll be rebuilding the top-end of my '79 T140E next week..!

  31. Cesare Ricci says:

    thanx for posting this. very interesting.
    Cesare

  32. meriden4ever says:

    Absolutely brilliant and Twenty-Five years since the end of the Real Triumph factory …Surely, the most legendary motorcycle ever on Earth ? Why did Meriden have to close (sob !) ?
    Wonder where the workers are all now ?

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