My life at Standard Triumph started as an apprentice from 1967 – 1972.
I was lucky to get offered a 5 year apprenticeship having been interviewed by Eddie Bishop head of apprentice training in Tile Hill. As I lived in Nuneaton the only way to get there by 8:30am was to hitch a lift with a track worker to the main Factory by 7:30am on the Fletchhamstead Highway and walk up Torrington Avenue each morning in all weathers.
To get home it was 3 bus rides, long days. 1st year was off the job training in the school where you received comprehensive basic engineering training learning fundamentals of Technical drawing, milling, turning, shaping, welding, sheet metal fabrication etc. While in the training school I was also a member of the newly formed pedal car team and continued to support this during the following years of my apprenticeship.
This included many races representing Standard Triumph as far away as Bristol, Exeter , Hornsey including 3 events in Fletch South carpark raising many hundreds of pounds for Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. During my apprenticeship I was runner up to apprentice of the year and as a reward was sent on an apprentice exchange visit along with other Coventry apprentices from Massey Ferguson, Morris engines and Jaguar etc to Berlin with Coventry Cathedral industrial mission. This was while Berlin was still segregated and the highlight was a trip to Russian occupied East Berlin. The following years were spent getting knowledge of the business with stints in the Transport garage, Allesley service workshop and service reception, Radford Axle assembly, Canley engine assembly.
Along with this you also had one day and an evening class at the Butts collage studding to achieve a city and guilds Motor vehicle Technicians qualification. At the end of my apprenticeship in addition to the C&G qualification I also passed entry to be an Associate member of the Institute of the Motor Industry. I was also admitted to the Freemen’s Guild of the city of Coventry. 1972 I had an interview and gained an appointment as a noise and vibration Technician in Fletch North experimental department with Graham Minton.
This work was using strain gauges for stress analysis on suspension components etc, vibration and balance work on engine components, pass by vehicle noise at MIRA and body structure analysis. In 1976 I moved into prototype build as a senior engineer working for Steve Nicholas . While their liaised with MG Abingdon to fit the Triumph slant 4 engine into MGB to meet USA emission targets. O series engines into TR7. Triumph TR8 and PE166 6-cylinder engine for Rover SD1 In 1978 Steve Nicholas left and I was fortunate to be promoted to principal engineer. Projects included Rover SD1 Vitesse Mules with Webber carburettors. Pre builds of Austin Montego, and Allegro. And a fleet of VW Jetta Mules with Austin engines and VW gearbox for endurance testing. This was due to the VW gearbox was to be used under licence in Future Austin products. The triumph factory was closed in 1980 and with prototype builds being supported by other locations in the group I was offer a roll in product change control section at Longbridge.