With the decent amount of torque offered, the Triumph proved a capable tow vehicle and perfect family car where all occupants could sit comfortably in the well-appointed interior. Leyland products of the 1970s get a bad rap for poor quality and finish but the Chicane somehow managed to keep a high standard, and even today the interior seems to age admirably (close, in fact, to a similar-aged Mercedes).
The compromise between performance, comfort and easy driving had Car magazine even loading the title of best Triumph they had ever tested, on it. Although none of them mentioned it, the sound from the silky straight 6-cylinder motor is difficult not to love either. And the Michelotti styling, with its shark-like nose and Kamm tail rear is not half bad. The slightly hoodoo publication Scope, got it right in 1978 listing the Chicane as one of its top cars of the year, summing it up as ‘Plush and luxurious, the Triumphs come from a line of cars with a long tradition of sporty motoring. The Chicane is a smooth performer and looks very British with its walnut facia and door trim. With overdrive the 6-cylinder becomes one of the most economical sixes around.’
So is the Chicane a South African special? It’s a tough call. It is named and badged differently to any other Mark II Triumph 2000 or 2.5, so yes, it is unique. The rest of the world markets saw the benefits of what the Leyland engineers down here accomplished and followed suit, so no, it is not unique. What it is though, was a leading light in taking Triumph saloon thinking in a different and unexpected direction to where it thought it was heading. The Chicane was a ‘chicane’, a trick we shouldn’t miss, and deserves a decent spot on the list of South African-made classics.