Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Entrepreneur #5 - John Bloor; rebooted Triumph

Like Harley-Davidson, Triumph was a company that had fallen on hard times – more than once. In the 1920s the company made an ill-fated move to produce cars as well and in 1936 an entrepreneur named Jack Sangster drove a hard bargain, acquiring the motorcycle business at a good price. Sangster’s business instincts nearly make him worthy of a place on this list, too. He hired the brilliant Edward Turner and after turning a handsome profit on sales, sold the company to BSA for another big payday in 1951. 
The Triumph marque found an unlikely savior in real-estate developer John Bloor.
From the mid-‘70s through the mid-‘80s Triumph died an agonizingly slow death. The brand would have vanished altogether had John Bloor, a real estate developer, not bought the old factory in Meriden. Against all advice, Bloor decided to build a new factory in nearby Hinckley. He spent millions designing new motorcycles that were unveiled at the Cologne Motorcycle Show in 1990. While those first “new” Triumphs got mixed reviews, the company has shown a remarkable willingness to go its own way, producing a line of unique machines that once again have earned it a devoted fan base.

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