Triumph was one of the most famous makers of the archetypical British sports car, the moderately powered, light-on-its-feet convertible roadster. BMW owns the name and is reportedly mulling resurrecting it from the dead.
German company taking over British brands
BMW has taken over a number of brands, though interestingly enough, the Bavarian firm has been buying up car marques that couldn’t be more quintessentially English. BMW bought Rolls Royce in the late 1990s and also resurrected the MiniCooper, which has become a strong seller.
In 1994, BMW also bought Rover Group from British Aerospace, according to AutoCar magazine, an English car conglomerate that included the ownership rights to several long and storied car brands. BMW sold Rover in 2000, but kept a few of the “heritage names” for itself, including Triumph, a car company that made the quintessential British sports car – lightweight roadsters and convertibles that weren’t overly powerful but incredibly nimble.
There are rumors, according to AutoBlog, that BMW is thinking of bringing Triumph back as a re-engineered Z4. BMW has filed for a new range of patents for the Triumph name, including things like merchandise and other stuff.
Sometimes they come back
Occasionally, defunct car brands make a comeback, though the manner of the comeback can vary. For instance, the new Delorean Motor Company manufactures parts and complete reproductions of the old DMC-12.
In the early 2000s, according to CNN, Mercedes-Benz resurrected Maybach, a luxury land yacht company that had gone out of business during the Great Depression. The new Maybach barely lasted a decade, though, as the plug was pulled in late 2011. Hardly anyone could afford one and those who could preferred a Rolls or a Bentley.
Right now, according to Fox News, an entrepreneur in Colorado owns the rights to Studebaker, the storied American car maker with the bullet nose that went out of business almost 60 years ago. The company, staffed mostly by volunteers, is looking to make a line of hybrid vehicles sharing names with classic Studebaker models.
Another British car brand, TVR, a competitor of Triumph back in the glory days, has also been resurrected, according to AutoGuide. TVR went under in 2006, but as of late 2011 is making new models of cars that it was making when it was split up in 2006.
The best planned cars of mice and men
That said, just because someone buys the name to or says they plan to bring a car brand back doesn’t make it so.
For instance, in 2007, the Chinese automaker Nanjing Automobile Corporation bought the rights to Healey, another British sports car company, according to Car and Driver. Apparently classic English cars are fashionable, though the Tata and Proton companies are having a difficult time of keeping the Jaguar and Lotus brands afloat.
Several companies are trying to bring Saab back, but only time will tell on that account.
Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/leisure/2012/02/17/colorado-man-plots-return-studebaker/
Car and Driver: http://www.caranddriver.com/news/healey-nameplate-resurrected-car-news