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Triumph TR4

Triumph TR4 Published: 8th Aug 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR4
Triumph TR4
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Sporting all the charm, simplicity and nostalgia of the earlier TRs – but with the chunky looks of the TR5 PI – the four-cylinder TR4 sounds like the perfect mix. You get the best of both worlds – the chunkiness of the later TR but without the PI pain and prices – while the same rudimentary nature of the earlier TRs results in easy home repairs. With a bit of tuning and fettling a TR4 can easily show a TR5 the way home.

Driving

Enjoying all that was good about the earlier models, the TR4 added much welcomed civility for the 60s. While lacking the outright pace of the big six TRs, performance is quite respectable all the same, thanks to the lusty pull of that tractor-derived engine. Overdrive can potentially provide seven speeds (great for competition work) while also making the car as relaxed as an MGB. The later TR4A (with its independent rear suspension) is much softer riding and so better for long tours than the TR4, but purists usually prefer the ultimate handling of the earlier car as well as the 100lb reduced weight it has to lug around.

Best models

The choice has to be between the early TR4 and the TR4A, difference being that rear suspension also used in the 2000 saloon, which does add more comfort. Handling can be as good as the earlier car with certain mods say TR experts so don’t overlook other advantages such as a nicer interior and the option of a very useful Surrey top. Some also came with a tight but usable 2+2 seating plan. Left-hand drive versions are plentiful as most went overseas. Apart from being cheaper to buy, converting to our roads is straightforward although perhaps not worth it as LHD can make the car more sellable.

Values

TR4s traditionally trail later TR5 and TR6 values but the gap isn’t as wide as it used to be – in fact, top TR4s can be more desirable, and so dearer) than a TR6 due to renewed interest in the model, although TR5s are valued considerably higher. Price differences between the 4 and the 4A are pretty low – say 15 per cent or so because condition is the most critical factor. Most came with overdrive – knock off 10 per cent if not so.

Buying advice

Finding a standard, unmodified car may prove hard as improvements from later TRs are in the main worthwhile. As a vast majority went to the US it’s always good policy to check the offside suspension and chassis extra carefully for ‘sideswipe’ damage. The chassis frame is suspect around the axle and suspension mounting points. On all cars it’s at the front wishbones while, at the rear, the area to watch concerns the suspension, under the boot floor on the TR4A. A good test 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, the sills and B posts (where the seat belts are located!).

Four-pot engine that also found fame in Ferguson tractors has almost limitless life because it can be simply re-sleeved, plus enlarged up to 2.3-litres. Look for 70lb oil pressure and watch for oil leaks at rear of crank. You need to ascertain the state of the crankshaft washers as if worn they can render the block scrap although that’s rare.

As an aid works the clutch, watch the crank pulley for movement. Consult a TR specialist on acceptable limits. The front suspension trunnions seize due to lack of lube but they also wear out too. It’s not overly expensive and worth replacing anyway before tackling any suspension mods.

 



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