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Triumph TR5

Triumph TR5 Published: 7th Jun 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR5
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Rarest TR of all | Brawny new big six engine | Healey-like character | Fast appreciating

What’s their attraction?

Being purely built solely to fill the gap between the demise of the TR4A and the arrival of the facelifted TR6, it’s the shortest-lived of all TRs, plus also showcased Triumph’s petrol injection design. With its macho Michelotti lines, smooth and torquey in-line six up front and independent rear suspension that ensures a better ride – even if it is at the expense of the infamous ‘Triumph Twitch’ due to the driveshafts momentarily locking up – the TR5 is also the best developed of pre TR6 bunch. This model’s rarity will always ensure cult status and nudging six figure prices for concours cars can’t be too far away.

Driving

Although basically little more than a bigger-engined TR4, there’s very little that’s bad to say about driving a good TR5. With a sporty if notchier gearchange and overdrive on second, third and top, it’s hard not be in the right gear all the time – aided by a straight six that’s so flexible and punchy, coming into its own above 3000rpm if the infamous PI is set up well – which is easy nowadays. Bear in mind that all TR5s came with the full fat 150bhp engine tune. In contrast, the American ‘TR250’ only musters 104bhp in standard carburettor tune which is almost the same as the old TR4 unit, although pleasant enough plus can be updated if desired.

Compared to TR4s the TR5 is not so fleet of foot – a similar comparison squared against Morgan’s ‘Fours’ and the Plus 8 – but predictable and fun to spirit across country in a Big-Healey like manner all the same. From a practical standpoint, the TR5 is a good tourer with enough refinement, civility and space to make long jaunts a pleasure although the Surrey hard top option wasn’t particularly popular on this short-run model.

Prices to pay

This model is by far the rarest of all the TRs, and this will always have an effect on prices. Even tatty runners aren’t that easy to source so expect to pay £30,000 upwards for something that is only fairly tidy. Top TR5s can go for double this and even projects make five-figures with ease – that’s before the expensive rebuild starts! On average, a US TR250 is worth at least ten grand less if it’s still in LHD spec.

Top buying tips

ENGINE Check for play in the crankshaft thrust washers by working the clutch and watch the crank pulley move as a result. Excessive amount demands new thrust washers at least although block damage is rare. Cylinder heads known to crack. FUEL INJECTION The once don’t touch with a bargepole Lucas mechanical fuel injection is fine – if tuned from stem to stern correctly by a TR expert. A superior Bosch fuel pump, re-routed to keep it cooler and so prevent fuel evaporation, is a worthy and accepted mod.

RUST Check the trailing arm locating areas; locating chassis outriggers – often badly repaired. Chassis arms located under the boot floor can give trouble as do floors and inner wings. Jack up to see if the door gaps shift, Panel supply is fine. RESTOS If the panel gaps are excessive or uneven it could well be because of a bad restoration. And if any TR has been badly rebuilt it’ll be a lot more hassle (and not to say expense) putting that right than starting with an unrestored example.

US If you’re looking at a TR6 re-imported from America, check for a good standard of RHD conversion and previous driverside swipe damage to chassis frames when still driven in LHD form in the UK. Is the engine still in its detuned US spec?

Dates to remember

1967 Launched Oct ’67, barely discernible from the TR4A externally, but the new stroked GT6 engine to 2.5-litres with fuel injection turned the TR into a genuine Big Healey replacement with 150bhp on tap.

1968/69 Because of strict emissions’ regulations in North America, the TR5 was fitted with twin SU carburettors instead of fuel injection, badged TR250 rather than TR5. Dropped by the end of ’68 (TR6 arrived in January 1969) after 2957 TR5s and 8484 TR250s had been built



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