Home Business Triumph-ant visit to Blowing Rock

Triumph-ant visit to Blowing Rock

So many choices, which one to choose as fan favorite?

By David Rogers. July 5, 2018. BLOWING ROCK, NC — A passion for foreign cars evolved as a triumph — quite literally — for Blowing Rock’s George Ellis last week. And certainly, it brought a touch of international flavor to town.

A former member of the Blowing Rock Planning Board, Ellis always seems to be putting two and two together. After meeting a salesman at Foreign Cars Italia (Greensboro), Ellis was introduced to Steven Ward, a regional president of the Triumph Registry in an event called, “The Gathering,” at Shelton Vineyards north of Elkin. The resulting conversation included an idea for organizing a Triumph car owners’ event hosted at Chetola Mountain Resort in Blowing Rock, with ready access to the highways and byways of the High Country, including the Blue Ridge Parkway.

The idea blossomed, and recently brought some 53 Triumph “TRs” to Blowing Rock, most of which are now considered “classic.”

This model of Triumph is rare. Only a reported 22 were made before the line was discontinued because the car was “too hot inside and noisy”

A history of the English-bred Triumph automobile dates all the way back to the creation of a bicycle company in 1885. That morphed into the largest British motorcycle manufacturer by the time of World War I thanks to military orders.  Several periods of boom and bust followed, accompanied by the requisite company reorganizations and acquisitions. At various stages of the timeline, what finally emerged as the Triumph TR2 in 1953 may have been influenced to various degrees by Alfa Romeo, Jaguar, and Austin-Healey designs.

This model saw only limited production, too — because it was VERY expensive.

Even with such a pedigree, the beloved Triumph brand and its TR design through the years was plagued by reliability issues. In speaking with various car owners exhibiting at the recent show at Chetola, almost all chuckled in acknowledgment that upkeep was often expensive.

The Triumph brand became defunct in 1984, but the passion for the Triumph driving experience lives on.

The High Country’s weather gods certainly smiled on the Triumph owners during their visit. With big smiles and the tops down on these mostly convertibles, there was no finer ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway and other High Country thoroughfares.  And with seldom rivaled hospitality, Chetola and Blowing Rock scored big.


Here’s a sampling of the cars exhibited at Chetola.

SLIDESHOW By David Rogers for Blowing Rock News





  1. Thanks, David. for your excellent coverage on the recent National Triumph sports car club visit to Blowing Rock and Chetola Resort, specifically. Many residents, having seen the cars driving around town, wanted to see the cars up close, so came into Chetola during the Concours event. The pleasure was all mine with doing a small part in having Blowing Rock as the 2018 venue. Herein lies an opportunity, however, for the boards that deal with tourism in town; virtually every Triumph driver that used the local roads, as well as the Blue Ridge Parkway, simply raved over our local by ways and views. ‘Best driving roads ever’, the ‘best venue in 40 years of coming to these events,’ ‘ We had no idea such great driver’s roads were in NC’, out of state owners said to me. Do we have a resource in the BRP that has yet to be totally exploited? I’ve seen cars being tested by magazines such as Car & Driver, Road & Track, on the BRP and local roads without the need to go over posted speed limits. Why? Because our fantastic scenic routes, twisting and turning, really test the mettle and flaws of all new sports cars. Testers can easily determine if a new Italian or German exotic lives up to its hype. Regardless, many of the club members said that they’d be back, hopefully bringing friends or grandkids with them. If the vintage British sports car can facilitate that, then it is a triumph. My thanks to all in Blowing Rock, from town staff to merchants who helped with this event!


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