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.”
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.
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