A Life In Cars

The life story of Dickie Sutherland

1966

Triumph Gloria

1934 Triumph Gloria, sporting saloon. Coventry Climax engine.

Lester an apprentice mechanic at work told me of his friend with a 1934 Triumph Gloria for sale.  £10, ten pond, bargain, it ran too.  I bought the Triumph with a view to restoring it, yes it was well-used, ran down condition needing quite a lot of work, however, it did run.  A sporting saloon, with a leather interior, wood dash, 4-speed floor change, huge wire wheel with massive brake drums, Coventry Climax four-cylinder engine, a true sporting salon.   Gloria was unregistered, so better to go out under the cover of darkness.  Only one headlight was working, then when I hit the dipper switch they both work on low beams.  In the weeks following I registered it and drove down to Ted Kaminski’s.  Ted a motor mechanic extraordinaire from work, his assessment of the mechanicals and the car, Ok he did say that would need some work.

Gloria in her splendor

Things I remember. The steering wheel had a taped covering that was holding small banana boat-shaped pieces of sheet steel that formed the finger grips on the underside of the wheel.  Because when I was younger the thing to do was tape the handlebars of our pushbikes, using my brother’s black electrical (non-stickie) tape. Hence I stripped off the tape and saved as many of the ‘boats’ didn’t follow through with the retaping.  The aluminum inlet manifold I weld up the corroded areas, but alas I did not finish filing to shape either. Filing aluminum was not as easy as filing steel, aluminum would clog the file up and deeply score the manifold, maybe I’ll finish that later.

With an initial enthusiastic effort in several different directions energy fizzled out, so after a long time of not much progress and the hints from my parents about cleaning up the yard, I sold the Gloria to a chap from Marion for £15. A dreamer without a plan, a man who had the vision and drive to do the work required.

Stop the Press!

A few days ago while sorting through boxes of memorabilia stored in the garage a box marked “Trip to Queensland / Tasmania. 1970s. There were many pamphlets on what to see and do on the Trips we had taken. These were trips Carolyn and I had taken. I’m setting the scene, sorry for the pre-amble, but there in the pamphlets and postcards was a New paper, Tourist Sun April-May 1979 a New South Wales Snowy Mountains area Publication. That trip Tony and Helen were traveling with us.

(the article reads)
What it means
This was to become an historic occasion when in July 1934 this picture was taken of Charles Kingsford-Smith (later to become Sir Chares) taking delivery of this Triumph Gloria motor car.
This picture has been published only once and only a handful of people knew what type of car suited the fancy of Sir Chares.
The car was sold by Mr W. G. Buckle Autos. father of Bill Buckel who owns the Sydney Toyota Dealership of Bill Buckels Autos.
Sir Charles is on the right of the picture which has become a collector’s item.  No one knows today what became of “Smith’s” car but they do know the tragic story of his death.


OUT OF THE PAST

Out of the past, I don’t remember seeing that back then, the Triumph Gloria was very similar to the car I had owned, this one of “Smithy’s” had a Boot tacked on the back. I’m so glad we had collected that paper and stored it away for later, and that later I had taken the time to sort through the pile of information collected on that trip. “What car was I driving on that trip?” The EH wagon towing a Camper Trailer. Traveling in style, Yeah ‘A’

Further to the story, search of the internet, “Charles Kingsford-Smith (later to become Sir Chares) taking delivery of this Triumph Gloria“, Just Cars came up TRUMPS.

This Triumph Gloria was owned by Sir Charles Kingsford Smith . It is half restored and has been totally stripped down, including engine rebuild, brakes and all running gear. Including 5 wire wheels and new tyres. New lights and lots of money and time spent. A great and worthwhile project for someone serious to complete.

Leave a comment to continue the story

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore other stories

Austin 7 project
Roger's Austin 7 touer project
I remember racing in a spectacular Soap Box event at Victor Harbour.  It seemed like there were hundreds of Soapbox Racers attending, of all types and styles.