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Triumph TR2 & 3

Triumph TR2 & 3 Published: 4th Jan 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR2 & 3
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A viable alternative to a Morgan ‘Four’, early four-cylinder TRs are robust easy to own classics that typify the 1950’s sports car scene but without most of the associated pain. Compared to an MGA and MGB, they are more hardcore, possessing a Morgan-like character but are much cheaper and easier to own and maintain. But prices for top TRs highlight this so buy now.


Even the last (and most civilised) TR3A feels much like a fourcylinder Morgan in spirit; antiquated but always enormous fun – more so than an MGA. For their age, performance is quite impressive – especially their lusty pull through the gears, care of that engine that found a happy home in Ferguson tractors. Overdrive, which potentially gives you sevenspeeds, means you have gear for every occasion and need. The handling is antiquated and geared to understeer (quality tyres make a significant difference) but all feel more agile than the six-cylinder TR5 and TR6 replacements due to the lighter engine. The drum brakes are usually quite adequate for moderate motoring but the later disc set up is worth having. In terms of civility, this design is naturally rudimentary as only a 1950’s sports car can be, but no worse than an MGA but with better performance and character.


Four-cylinder TRs trailed the TR5/6 by fair sums but the market has seen the gap in values shrink to the point where some early TRs can even exceed TR6 prices. Values generally start from £6000 for a running project to £20,000 for a nicely restored car and perhaps around £30,000 and above for a specimen or one with motorsport history with TR3s slightly the dear choice. Left hand drive cars abound but think twice over converting as it’s desirable.


1953 TR2 goes on sale based on a revamped pre-war Standard Flying Nine chassis and using a Triumph engine, down-sized to 1991cc

1954 Doors shortened (a sill was inserted due to problems clipping the kerb

1955 TR3 superseded the TR2. Changes were slight however; there was more power and an egg-crate grille, but that was about the extent of it

1956 A power boost, sees the engine now capable of producing between 95bhp to 100bhp depending upon age, while front disc brakes became standard equipment

1957 TR3A (unofficial title) sees a full-width grille, along with improved seats and trim. From 1959 the car was optionally available with a 2.2-litre engine

Best models


Purist choice, especially full width doors models, and liked for historic motorsport. Most would have restored by now; check workmanship although few are original


Like or loath the looks, but it’s the best all rounder with more power and front disc brakes. TR3B identical but has the TR4’s 2138cc engine


The vast bulk went to the US so there’s a fair chance you may find a converted car, fine if done well. Don’t dismiss an unconverted LHB that sell well abroad

Top five faults


Finding a standard, unmodified car may prove pretty hard but as improvements from later TRs make this car so much nicer, this isn’t a bad thing unless you yearn for showroom spec.


Due to their age, rot is rife so inspect well. The chassis takes a big hit around the axle and suspension mounting points. A good test of the extent is to jack the car up and watch for the door gaps to alter. Other rusty regions include floors, inner wings, jacking points, steering rack locating points and the sills and B posts.


The vast majority went to the US and since repatriated so it’s always a smart move to especially check the offside suspension and chassis areas for past ‘sideswipe’ damage and quality of repairs.


Being a Triumph, you need to ascertain the state of the crankshaft washers because, if worn, they can render the block scrap although that’s very rare. As an aid works the clutch, watch the crank pulley for excess movement. Wet-lined engine is easy to service and rebuild with new sleeves and pistons.

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