Home » A British Design Firm Built A Triumph Concept Car On A BMW i3 Chassis And It’s Just Wacky

A British Design Firm Built A Triumph Concept Car On A BMW i3 Chassis And It’s Just Wacky

Makkina Triumph Tr25 Topshot
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In the slow-motion cultural implosion of post-modernism, we’ve seen retro everything over the past, say, quarter century. From the Plymouth Prowler to the youths of today bumping Deftones through wired headphones while shooting on a crappy point-and-shoot from 2003, the retro trend cycle is so been-there-done-that that it’s basically collapsed in on itself. However, just as we thought we’ve seen it all, along comes a small British firm with something completely different. This is the Triumph TR25, a one-off concept made by British design firm Makkina being shown off at the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Makkina Triumph Tr25 Close Up

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Managing director Michael Ani said that “Our aim was to update the true character of the original record-breaking ‘Jabbeke’ TR2 with our design,” and if you’ve never heard of the Jabbeke TR2, here’s a brief primer. See the original Triumph TR was, um, rough. Not content with this first shot, Triumph refined the design into the TR2, then proved it to the world at a speed trial on the Jabbeke highway in Belgium. The car chosen was fitted with a series of streamlining parts and sailed to a record speed of 124.899 mph. The Triumph legend was born.

Makkina Triumph Tr25 Above 1

Underneath this homage to a bygone era sits the skateboard chassis from a BMW i3S. Not only is this lightweight, nimble rear-wheel-drive platform a great base for a new body, BMW retains rights to the Triumph name, so the technology beneath the skin should’ve been granted an automatic blessing. As for the styling, that’s always a gamble, but clearly it worked since Makkina’s project bears the Triumph name.

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Makkina Triumph Tr25 Interior

Mind you, just because the Triumph TR25 has an i3S platform doesn’t mean it uses an i3 interior. The dashboard is bespoke, an almost Nixie tube-like UX displaying all the information you need to know just like an old alarm clock. Offside of the steering wheel are a few capacitive touch controls which make sense for an independent project on a budget strictly from a cost perspective, but the overall effect is clean, crisp, and suiting of a car meant to recall runway circuits and leather caps.

Makkina Triumph Tr25 Front

Of course, being based on a BMW i3S means there’s no giant combustion engine with giant cooling airflow requirements, so Makkina has served up a strikingly minimalist take on the classic Triumph face. Two friendly headlights, a tiny strip of trim, and a relief in the fascia echo iconic Triumph features without having to shout. Think a dab of retro when many would’ve applied a dollop. Needless to say, I like it.

Makkina Triumph Tr25 Profile

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Sure, the wheels are large and the vertical door outrageous, but the Triumph TR25 doesn’t come across as heavy-handed. It’s instead a suitable tribute to an iconic little British car, updating a thing of beauty for the 21st century without altering an original. More importantly, it points towards a potential future for custom cars that’s ripe with excitement.

Makkina Triumph Tr25 Rear

Skateboard-style electric car platforms could usher in a new era of coachbuilding. For those unfamiliar with the process, back in ye olde days, manufacturers like Bentley and Daimler would supply chassis and running gear to customers, who would then pick a coachbuilding firm to design and build individual bodies. Imagine taking an existing electric car and rebodying it without having to worry nearly as much about packaging as you would with a combustion-powered platform. The small truck, pared-back roadster, or large luxury coupe of your dreams could be just bodywork away.

(Photo credits: Makkina)

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John Metcalf
John Metcalf
11 months ago

I started looking (half seriously) at how much it would cost to electrify my ’67 A-H Sprite. To do it right would be amazingly costly.

This is a perfect alternative if they can make them affordable.

Ward William
Ward William
11 months ago

Resurrecting long dead brands is all very good but don’t call this thing a Triumph. Without continuous evolution and development within a brand over time, the soul of the company is lost.

NAMiata
NAMiata
11 months ago

With the current side profile, I get more Bugeye Sprite than TR250

NAMiata
NAMiata
11 months ago
Reply to  NAMiata

Sorry. TR2.

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
11 months ago

I imagine that David could get some inspiration from this and slowly turn his i3 into a faux Jeep.

Unclewolverine
Unclewolverine
11 months ago

This is great. One of the two car forgotten car segments we desperately need to bring back: the fun, simple, 2 seat, lightweight convertible; the other being massive, plush, ultra smooth personal luxury barge. Make it illegal for either to come in black, white, or any tone of grey/silver, and give us the option of ICE or electric and maybe we can make cars awesome again!

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
11 months ago

BMW retains rights to the Triumph name
Wow, learn something new everyday. I never knew BMW had anything to do with Triumph. Cool

EricD14
EricD14
11 months ago

They must have acquired it when they bought Rolls Royce or Land Rover.

Maymar
Maymar
11 months ago
Reply to  EricD14

Austin-Rover still owned the Triumph name (really, most of the BL-era nameplates aside from Jaguar) when BMW bought them out in the 90’s. Mini ended up being their biggest acquisition out of that, but yes, they also got Land Rover (before selling it to Ford), and Rover/MG (MG was definitely sold to SAIC, I believe BMW still owns the Rover nameplate unless that went to Land Rover, which is why Rovers got rebranded as Roewes or whatever the new name was).

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
11 months ago

Like the concept, this one is fugly though IMO. Looks like a Tesla someone halfway crushed then was like “Meh, F-it.”

Sgtyukon
Sgtyukon
11 months ago

I like it, but the name and the logo are the only things retro I see about it. Where are the side curtains? Where is the tractor engine?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
11 months ago

This is the Jabbeke TR2 that it’s based on (thanks Classic Motorsports!):
https://s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/prod.mm.com/uploads/2023/07/13/1689274469_makkina_25_tr2_photo_mmthumb.png

The design choices make a little more sense after seeing that.

Last edited 11 months ago by Rad Barchetta
ProudLuddite
ProudLuddite
11 months ago

This thing does not look like a Triumph. I like the idea, but not the execution. The interior isn’t too bad.

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
11 months ago

Why is NOBODY talking about the fact that the headlights are a 2 and a 5 for TR25?!

Inthemikelane
Inthemikelane
11 months ago
Reply to  FlavouredMilk

Didn’t notice till you mentioned it, love that!

Yung
Yung
11 months ago
Reply to  FlavouredMilk

when i saw the close-up image of the lamp i thought it was a letter ‘S’ and wondered that there was no letter ‘S’ in the name of the car nor the design firm. now that you mention it, it makes sense

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
11 months ago

The wheels, to me, don’t fit the rest of the sleek minimalist design. Not that I could do any better, but the jagged angularity doesn’t allow the car as a whole to flow if—that makes any sense.

The rear lighting suggesting bumper overriders is absolutely perfect. Modern and retro done right imo.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago

I want an electric modern take on the Triumph ADU1B race cars that spawned the GT6. Call it the GTE. It would have to be a streamliner coupe with low frontal area, of course. Say, built to modern “safety” standards but with an area around 17 sq ft(compared to the 14.9 sq ft of the original) and a drag coefficient value of around 0.18. Then give it a 30 kWh battery pack, and a 300 horsepower drive system. Would probably weigh in at 1,900 lbs, get a 250-300 mile range at 70 mph, do 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds, and top out at over 200 mph, with a single speed gear ratio.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
11 months ago

Thanks for writing this up Mr. Hundal. I miss Triumph (cars) being in the world and this made me smile.

Tommy Helios
Tommy Helios
11 months ago

I personally doubt we will ever see a resurgence of coach building. The necessary crash structures and testing related to it would mean you’d have to build 10 custom cars, let the nhtsa destroy 9. It just doesn’t seem feasible in a modern world even with computer models to simulate crash events.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
11 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Helios

I respectfully disagree, at least somewhat. I doubt we will see high-volume coach builders, but there is always somebody wanting to create something unique in ultra-low volume with ultra-high costs. Between the Ferrari one-offs, Pagani, Koenigsegg, Spyker of the past, Hennesey, SSC, Saleen, Hispana-Suiza, etc., there is no shortage of high-dollar customs available to the 1%’ers. A high-performance skateboard chassis will just lower the barrier of entry. I believe the US already has crash test exceptions for very low volume cars.

Also, since kit-cars don’t require crash tests, I could see at least 1 manufacturer making a low-budget, crash-tested car with easily removable bodywork to cash in on potentially being the next Beetle for DIYers.

Dave Garland
Dave Garland
11 months ago

Just wait a few years, until the entire body can be printed. If there was a template available to locate the actual mechanical parts, you could design your own body and have it custom-printed. Custom coachbuilding should become very affordable if beating metal sheets into shape isn’t involved. After all, today they can already print houses and jet engine parts.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Dave Garland

A friend and I want to do this soooo bad…

Hoping I can get enough resources together to make this a reality when the cost becomes affordable.

My first idea of focus would be an inexpensive RWD one-seater microcar with a trunk, crumple zones, and safety cell with 5-point harness, based on a velomobile. It would use less than $2k in EV components, but would have faster acceleration than most cars, and easily get a 150+ mile range at 70-80 mph on a less than 5 kWh battery. Total unladen vehicle weight, ready to ride, would be around 150 lbs. It needs to be something people can afford, and if we could 3D print all the parts and keep the assembly time under 50 hours, something like this could be built and sold at a small profit for under $5k. That is car functionality for a single person at a moped price point, with the added bonus of being a high performance vehicle that one could take to the track and compete with things an order of magnitude more expensive. A performance version with AWD could also be made for cheap.

Who knows if such a thing could take off? Nothing like this has ever been tried in a volume sufficient to produce that sort of price point. With 3D printing, that price point becomes more possible due to the reduced production volume needed to achieve it.

To broaden the potential market, using the same design, I could make a bicycle and ebike version of this same vehicle of roughly 65 lbs and 100 lbs respectively, eliminating the accelerator and brake pedals/rack and pinion steering/other car parts/ect. where appropriate while swapping in bicycle components in their place, and lowering the parts cost further, while expanding into a completely different market with a vehicle that shares most of the same components as the microcar.

It would be modular, open source, and upgradable. So someone could perhaps buy the pure bicycle version for $1k as a nearly broke college student, then spend another $3k to later turn it into a car using their own labor after saving up for a year or two to purchase parts or even have someone 3D print or CNC mill those parts out themselves. Have all of the files for the parts public domain, and any software code publicly available for download and application.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
11 months ago

Love those rear lights. Torch, care to chime in here?

Iain Tunmore
Iain Tunmore
11 months ago

Can I get those wheels for my i3 please, I assume they’d bolt straight on.

I’m not really feeling the car itself, although I can’t work out why, normally

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
11 months ago
Reply to  Iain Tunmore

If it had the cut down doors like the original TR2/3, it would help me like this thing a lot more.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
11 months ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

That’s it. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong. It’s the doors.

Chronometric
Chronometric
11 months ago

I like TR3s. I like the BMW i3. I even like this modern roadster concept. It should not have an i3 drivetrain.

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
11 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

It is appropriate, though, for no other reason than BMW owns the rights to the Triumph name.

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