President’s Message – January 2023

President’s Message – January 2023

Here’s wishing everyone at Toronto Triumph Club all the best for a happy and healthy 2023 filled with lots of great Triumph-related activities.    

British Car Day 2022 – an excellent day at the park!

Talking of which we have a couple of “winter” events planned for January and February. Derek McAllister has taken on the Meeting Co-ordinator role for 2023 and he has some great ideas so we can look forward to seeing what he comes up with to keep us entertained.  In the meantime …

On 25th January we are welcoming back John Macartney to lead us through one of his entertaining and informative presentations titled “British Leyland (Part 1) – From formation towards the wilderness years”.   Here’s a synopsis of his talk:

John’s early career saw him as one of two Personal Assistants to Donald Stokes, Leyland’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer – and in this role he had almost unlimited access to members of British Leyland’s Main Board and the whole of the senior management team across all Group factories. Sadly, many of those highly competent businessmen and brilliant engineers collectively (and confidentially) referred to British Leyland as the “biggest poisoned chalice this country has ever been expected to manage”.   Burdened by serious under-capitalisation, a range of products which competed with one another, ever-increasing trade union disruption and pressure, allied to successive governments that mostly entirely failed to fully grasp the enormity of such an enterprise, British Leyland was arguably on a hiding to nothing from the day its launch first hit the headlines in 1968.  In John’s view, more recent commentators and observers have been overly harsh in their criticisms of British Leyland’s senior management – and Donald Stokes in particular – citing incompetence and a lack of commercial awareness. That said, it should be remembered the Leyland Motor Corporation (as it was before amalgamation) was specialised and profitable. What few people appreciate is that those at the helm of the new company never truly wanted to become involved in such a behemoth that actually became British Leyland.

On 10th February we will be celebrating Sir John Black’s birthday when hundreds of Triumph owners from across the world will be Driving our Triumphs.    Well maybe not in Ontario, but hopefully you will be able to take a suitable photo of your Triumph tucked-up in its garage or even venture out onto your driveway.   I’ll send details of how you can participate in a couple of weeks.

21st February will herald Terence McKillen’s annual TTC Quiz.  I asked Terence what we can expect and this is his response.    Beginning with the early years of the Triumph Company, questions will pick up intensity through the 1920s and the ‘Glory Days’ of the 1930s and then the War years until the revival of the marque under Standard-Triumph in the 1950s, Leyland in the 1960s, and British Leyland in the 1970s / early 1980s. Questions will focus on the cars and some of the personalities involved. Sometimes, an encyclopaedic knowledge of Ragtop articles or memories of previous quiz questions could help provide an answer!  I know one thing for sure, it will be challenging!

This year’s F1 calendar includes 24 races across the world which is a record and it all starts in Bahrain in March.    Half-way through the season is the British GP at Silverstone and I’ll be there.  Yahoo!   I was going to visit there a couple of years ago but the COVID pandemic put paid to that.  Maggie bought me a ticket and I can’t wait to take-in the action.   The last time I was at a British GP was 1971 when the race was won by Jackie Stewart.   The circuit hasn’t changed a whole lot in the past 50 years but the stands and facilities, as well as the cost for a ticket, have grown exponentially. 

Take care, keep safe and enjoy the holidays.

Cheers; Dave

Dave Sims, President, Toronto Triumph Club