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Triumph TR2-4

Triumph TR2-4 Published: 23rd Aug 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR2-4
Triumph TR2-4
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Why should I buy one?

While it’s easy to dismiss the earlier TRs in favour of the beefier six-pot sportsters, the TR2-4s have their own strong following because they typify the 1950’s sports car scene without the associated pain of lack of spares, that afflicts many rivals – or problematic petrol injection, still blighting many later six-cylinder TRs. If you like your sports cars to be raw, robust and rustic, in the Morgan mould but consider one too quaint, then it has to be an early TRs which ran from the early 50s for nearly a quarter of a century. Attainable, affordable, and backed by one of the best family of car clubs as well as an army of specialists, there’s a TR to suit all tastes.

What can I get?

Four variants but DNA is essentially the same: TR2 was launched in 1953 and the earliest cars had full-length doors that could catch high kerbs. These are known as the ‘short door’ cars, appropriately enough. TR3 followed in 1955, distinguished by an ‘egg-crate’ grille; its engine was uprated to 95bhp (later to 100bhp) resulting in this TR becoming the first sports car, in its class, to have front disc brakes fitted as standard. The TR3A is identified by a widemouthed grille (and 2.2-litre engine) but the TR4 ushered in a whole new look along with a softer character, especially the better riding TR4A, but it’s the best for modern motoring. Modified cars are plentiful and by and large the majority of upgrades are well worth having.

What are they like to drive?

The Morgan comparison stems from their not dissimilar 50’s driving feel. Performance remains good thanks to that lusty engine that also served Ferguson tractors so admirably. Overdrive (up to seven-speeds are available) makes a world of difference when cruising although, in terms of civility, this car is, as you’d expect, 1950’s rudimentary. The TR4 boasts a character all of its own. With a revised, larger chassis, sporting rack and pinion steering, the handling is changed for the good, more so when the ‘2000 saloon’ rear suspension was tacked on to create the TR4A. This TR is a bit of a marmite model as many TR purists dislike the way it spoils the previous go-kart like handling but it’s certainly more refined, and its Surrey hard top option is excellent.

What are they like to live with?

With its chassis construction, these cars can be rebuilt at home if you have the space, plus its unconventional ‘wet cylinder’ engine design enables limitless, inexpensive rebores. The engine can be tuned up to a reliable 130bhp for road use (still running on standard SU carbs) and up to 2.5-litres to give it enough pace to keep station with its six-cylinder brothers. The suspension may be ancient but can actually be made to handle better than a TR6, chiefly thanks to that lighter engine up front and so better weight distribution. Bodies all rot in the usual places but particularly the rear of the sills. Check also the wings, lower extremities, floor pan and the front end, which rots badly, as do TR4A diff mounts. The good news is that everything is available, including chassis frames.

We reckon

Wonderful down-to-earth sports cars which are valued higher than the TR6, they offer Morgan-like charm and character yet are easier to own. TR4 mixes the best of all TRs.

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