Doug Bell purchased his first Triumph car more than 35 years ago. Ever since, the Columbus man has been a fan of the classic British sports car.
Bell, 61, is preparing for his first national Triumph Register of America meet, which is based in Bartholomew County and runs today through Saturday.
The Triumph Motor Company was a British car and motor manufacturing company known for its classic TR2, TR3 and TR4 — popular sports cars from the ’50s and ’60s. The company ceased operating in 1984, but its trademark is owned by BMW.
“Triumph was a brand that had a lot of power and was affordable compared to Jaguars,” Bell said. “My first car in high school was a little Triumph, and then I’ve had them as a hobby ever since.”
The national meet attracts Triumph car owners from across the country each year for a four-day event. The meet is expected to draw about 150 people to the Columbus area this week — the third time an Indiana city has hosted the national meet since 1975.
“The Columbus area combines a small-town feel with an abundance of big-city amenities and scenic driving opportunities on winding country roads, all of which make it a perfect location for a TRA National Meet,” the organization states on its website.
Bell owns a 1963 TR4, which he purchased from a Syracuse, New York, man in 2010. After rebuilding and replacing all the mechanical parts, Bell’s car is ready to hit the road.
Bell, a member of Indiana Triumph Cars, had never heard of the Triumph Register of America until he learned its members were coming to the county this year, and joined the national organization.
“I figured they would have a good drive, a lot of good fellowship. Most importantly, there’s an opportunity to share stories,” Bell said.
John Huddy, 70, is also from Columbus — the larger city by that name in Ohio, that is. Huddy is the organization’s national meet coordinator.
Since joining the register in 1978, just four years after it was established, he has traveled the country showing off his Triumph cars. But this year, his 1958 TR3A is going through restoration.
“We just enjoy the cars, and the camaraderie is the biggest part of it,” Huddy said.
The meet begins with registration from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the Hilton Garden Inn in Edinburgh. At noon, car owners can participate in a drive from the hotel to the Indianapolis 500 Museum in Indianapolis.
Huddy encourages the public to visit the Participant’s Choice and Concours d’Elegance car shows from 9 a.m. to noon Friday, as well as the auction, which starts at 7 p.m. Friday.
He said he expects around 100 cars to participate in the shows, including Bell’s prized possession.
Club members’ activities include lunch at Blackerby’s Hanger 5 Restaurant and a tour of the Bakalar Air Museum in Columbus on Thursday, as well as a scenic drive through Nashville on Saturday.
To become a member of the Triumph Register of America, visit triumphregister.com/membership/ and fill out the attached membership form.
U.S. residents must pay $40 annually to continue their membership.
WHAT: Triumph Register of America Participant’s Choice and Concours d’Elegance Car Shows, open to the public
WHEN: 9 a.m. to noon Friday
WHERE: Hilton Garden Inn at 12210 N. Executive Drive, Edinburgh
For more information including the complete event schedule, visit triumphregister.com/tra-national-meet