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Triumph TR2-3

MOD & MEND Published: 26th Jun 2013 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Do you drive this great classic or are thinking of buying one? Here’s how to ensure that you get the best out of your car for years to come.



The trusty tractor-derived four pot can see around 130bhp for reliable, tractable road use – good enough to see off many TR6s. A cheap upgrade is a simple session on the rolling road, paying attention to optimum mixture and ignition settings with better air cleaners, then a sportier exhaust. There’s fuel injection as well, but it’s too exotic and pricey for most owners.


Many reckon all four-pot TRs were under cooled when new, leading to overheating and head gasket woes. If the head has to come off then always have an unleaded conversion carried out at the same time. An uprated radiator, with perhaps an electric fan, is a wise move, especially if you intend to increase horsepower. Fitting a ‘six’ is more involved than you first realise.



This rugged wet liner engine can be stretched to 2.2-litres, to provide TR6-levels of torque, just by re-sleeving the bores. As a racing engine, you’re looking at a lot of work if you want over 160bhp because, at this level, the standard unit is not up to the job, so needs a steel crank, rods etc. Performance engines start from £3500-£5000.


Being a wet liner design means that the bores can be re-sleeved whenever needed, which results
in an almost open-ended engine life, provided the power unit hasn’t been horribly abused. 60-70lb oil pressure is needed and watch for oil leaks at rear of crank scroll seal, seeping lube only when the oil is being pumped around.


Many owners ditch the original steering box for a rack-and-pinion system, which is more direct and lighter. But, in the process, you’ll lose those characterful-sounding horn and indicator buttons set into the steering wheel. There’s also potential for a PAS fitment.


Steering box leaks are common and if the oil level isn’t maintained, rapid wear is inevitable – especially if wider tyres are fitted. Lots of play means the box has worn; similarly, tight spots indicate a previous owner has over-tightened things to mask the wear.



DBA discs with Mintex pads are good first step mods for less than £150. Wilwood callipers come next but costs £500 on their own. A cheaper alternative is to find Toyota Hilux pick-up ones (1979-83). There again the drum brakes on TR2s and early TR3s are adequate for mild performance increases, albeit with the addition of performance linings.


Bear in mind earlier TR4 disc brakes are larger than later 5/6 set-ups… The rest of the brakes pose no problems apart from routine service work. If wire wheels are fitted, then check the spokes for looseness – a tap with a pencil is the usual policy. Conversion to wires is very simple.



Conversion to modern telescopic dampers here is a worthy mod, but also very involved and costly. If keeping the lever type, ensure they are good quality recons. Back to brakes for a minute; while discs can be grafted on, a cheaper and easier alternative are finned alloy Alfin drums. However both are not really needed for normal road driving.


TR2’s Lockheed-built back axle isn’t very durable if the car is driven hard on modern grippy radials. The problem is that the half-shafts break, which is why many have been upgraded to the Girling-built axle of the TR3/3A. Whatever axle is fitted, you need to make sure there isn’t oil everywhere; leaks pretty common.
A full rebuild costs over £1000.



TR values lay largely in the body. If the chassis is bad then you can have a new one made up. CTM Engineering of Southampton specialises in repairs or new chassis frames as do Rimmer Bros and Revington. Remember, a new chassis not only rids you of rust problems but it will be much stiffer, aid rigidity. However the costs can be extremely high so do the sums.


Outriggers rot badly and cost an easy £2000 because body really needs to be removed. Front apron hides a lot of nasties and costs around £700 to renew. You’ve got a choice of alloy or steel panels; until ‘54, bonnet and spare wheel lid were made of alloy. Floors and sills are extremely costly in isolation. 



Everything you’re going to need is available off the shelf from a wide range of sources and trim quality is better than when brand new. If you fi nd a period hardtop, expect to pay around £500, about the same price for a basic interior re-trim kit.


Parts availability is excellent. The hood is a simple affair; £400, and around that again for the sidescreen. The electrics are much like the trim; simple, durable and everything is available. Starter motors can also prove fragile.

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