A personal account of the club by one of the founders - Chris Schultz

In 1969 we, my son and I, set out one Saturday morning to buy an MGA, only to find that we had been beaten to the sale. We were informed of a sports car, make unknown, standing in the open outside a block of flats in Kenilworth. We found a TR3 and then traced the owner. At that stage our knowledge of the marque was minimal, we knew that they had been used for racing and rallying but had no personal experience of the cars.

We bought the one owner car including a bootload of spares for R300.00 The confirmed mileage was 47000 miles. (Proof was provided in the form of the original up to date logbook.) On inspection we found that the one half of the crankshaft pulley had broken and the owner could not unscrew the bolt holding the extension. This was easily rectified and the car was used as daily transport. We then decided to overhaul the car as the paintwork was in a poor condition. As I had recently completed the rebuild of an MGB we decided to do the same for the TR.

When my son's friends heard of our intention they were convinced that we were mad. TR's were throwaway cars - there many around, mostly rust buckets. This did not deter us and the word spread of the madmen who were actually REBUILDING A TRIUMPH. In the course of this we met Mike Allen who had had several TR's and was considered a fundi on the marque. We became friends and Mike was very interested in our activities.

We then came across several young men who drove TR's of differing states of disrepair as well as the owners of some TR4's, Sixes and Bruce Erasmus who owned and drove a TR2, which was in perfect condition. (This car had an interesting history as it had belonged to Roux van der Merwe and had lapped Le Mans.) In late 1971 we decided to form a club to bring together TR owners and prospective owners. At this stage the progress of our 3 was the centre of interest of a growing number of acquaintances and several other owners decided to follow our example. We printed fliers inviting the owners of any Triumphs, which we came across to contact us with the view of forming an owners club. The motoring columns of the local newspapers and the local car magazines carried notices of a meeting to be held early in 1972 at the Holiday Inn to inaugurate the club.

At that meeting sixteen owners attended and it was agreed that a club be formed. A date was set for one month hence. On the date only three persons arrived - Mike Allen, my son John and myself. We were disappointed but were determined to persevere. We sent notices to those that had attended the first meeting and placed notices in the press. The next meeting was more successful with several new members attending.

At this stage the original franchise holders for the marque, Welch Motors had closed and Robb Motors had taken over their very limited stock of spares. Spares both locally and from the UK were scarce.

Because of the rebuild of my MG I had become well known to the spares manager of Robbs because I was frequently the cause of great discomfort as I insisted that they provide, according to them "parts and detail components which nobody else had ever required before." When I appeared with lists of Triumph spares they simply accepted these without comment but promised to do whatever was necessary to fulfil my order. Because of the renewed interest in the TR's more owners were approaching Robbs for spares. When a newcomer appeared the counter staff would refer them to me, as my office was close by.

New members were recruited and the membership increased. We organised Sunday runs and noggins at which members could discuss their problems and those who had solved them could offer advice, These proved very popular We published a monthly newsletter which was put together on a Sunday morning on the floor of my living room, by cutting and pasting. I took photographs of TR's for the front cover. The printing was done at student rates by my son.

Bruce Erasmus, who had visited Durban, informed us of the establishment by Graham Cheetham of the TR Register of SA. Many of us from Cape Town joined.

Graham then used his annual leave to tour the country on a "Booze Cruise" (his own words) to visit Triumph owners, to get to know them and to encourage high standard rebuilds. This had a remarkable effect as his vast knowledge and enthusiasm encouraged many to improve the appearance and mechanical reliability of their cars. Many of the local cars had been bastardised and built up of bits and pieces from various models. Graham encouraged adherence to originality and was patient with those who did not see the need for this. The club membership grew and a number of very active members came forward.

The attendance at meetings, noggins and Sunday drives fluctuated but the core remained in place. The centre had a number of Presidents of varying quality and ability over the years but the one who stands out is none other than our crusty and outspoken Des Rudolph. During the eighties Des bullied and cajoled members into making the Centre a vibrant body. I do not have any records but the names of some past presidents come to mind: Mike Allen, who left for Australia, Rob Ingleby, Mervyn Harris, Tim Kent, Roger Robeck, Eugene Rossouw, and Dave Gordon. To those whose names I do not remember I beg their pardon.

In 1997 we celebrated our silver anniversary by a special weekend away at Knysna.

At present the club is vital to the existence of the Triumph brand and promises to remain that way.

Club Chairpersons since inception

  • 1972 - Mike Allen
  • 1973 - Mervyn Harris
  • 1974 - Mervyn Harris
  • 1975 - Tim Kent
  • 1976 - Tim Kent
  • 1977 - Bruce Erasmus
  • 1978 - Bruce Erasmus
  • 1979 - Rob Ingleby
  • 1980 - Hincke Nixon
  • 1981 - Glen Allin
  • 1982 - Rob Ingleby
  • 1983 - Roger Robeck
  • 1984 - Roger Robeck
  • 1985 - Des Rudolph
  • 1986 - Des Rudolph
  • 1987 - Des Rudolph
  • 1988 - Leo Kelder
  • 1989 - Des Rudolph
  • 1990 - Eugene Rossoux
  • 1991 - Eugene Rossoux
  • 1992 - Des Rudolph
  • 1993 - Geoff Southin
  • 1994 - Dave Gordon
  • 1995 - Dave Gordon
  • 1996 - Trevor Hook / Eugene Rossoux
  • 1997 - Chris Schultz
  • 1998 - Mike Napoli
  • 1999 - Mike Napoli
  • 2000 - Mike Napoli
  • 2001 - Mike Napoli
  • 2002 - Geoff Davis
  • 2003 - Geoff Davis
  • 2004 - Gerhard Vorster
  • 2005 - Gerhard Vorster
  • 2006 - Tim Cruise
  • 2007 - Tim Cruise
  • 2008 - Jamie Hart
  • 2009 - Jamie Hart
  • 2010 - Tom Dougan
  • 2011 - Tom Dougan
  • 2012 - Gerhard Vorster
  • 2013 - Gerhard Vorster
  • 2014 - Frank Dreher
  • 2015- Dennis Cook
  • 2016- Dennis Cook
  • 2017 -Dennis Cook