When Trident hit the

mark

Trident Clipper

THE Trident sports cars produced between 1966 and 1978 were certainly sharp little numbers.

Trident wastypically Britishand made its cars in the east of England, firstly at Woodbridge and then at Ipswich in Suffolk.

The first effort had its foundations in a TVR prototype - a swish two-seater in steel and aluminium.

It was styled by Trevor Frost, who was also known at the time as Trevor Fiore who was also responsible for the Elva GT160.

The prototype TVR Trident Coupe was shown at the 1965 Geneva Motor Show and in addition two more coupes and a single convertible prototype were also made.

But problems ensued with a financial crisis at the TVR company and the project passed instead to one of their dealers, W.J. (Bill) Last, who created a separate Trident Cars company to manufacture it using the premises previously used by him for making the Peel Viking Sport.

Power for the early cars came from that fabulous engine, the Ford 4.7-litre V8 and the whole idea showed great promise.

This was fitted to a chassis that was a near copy of that used on the Austin-Healey 3000 but had the look of a TVR.

The Trident Clipper prototype was displayed at the Racing Car Show at Olympia in London in 1966 then the whole thing went to earth for a while until the first Clipper Coupe was shown, again at the Olympia Racing Car Show, in January 1967.

The car was claimed to have the capability to attain 150mph with a 0-60mph time of five seconds. It was available as a complete car or in kit form. The cars were expensive, the kit version costing £1,923.

A second car, the Venturer was unveiled in 1969 with similar bodywork but powered by a Ford 3.0-litre V6 but now on a lengthened Triumph TR6 chassis giving the car the valued enhancement of independent suspension all round by coil springs. In 1971 the car cost £2,300 in kit form.

Strike action at Ford cut the supply of engines and in came the massively powerful Chrysler 5.4-litre V8.

There then followed the Trident Tycoon fitted with a Triumph 2.5-litre straight six engine.

But the 1970s oil crisis hit the sports car market hard and the company shut down in 1974. An attempt was made to restart production in 1976 but few cars were made before final closure in 1977.

Between 1967 and 1977 about 39 Clippers, 84 Venturers and seven Tycoons were produced.

Hwever, the name Trident has recently been revived to develop some futuristic and very powerful sports cars, proving that you can't keep a good name down for long.

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