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Triumph TR2/3

Triumph TR2/3 Published: 8th Aug 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Triumph TR2/3
Triumph TR2/3
Triumph TR2/3
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These early four-cylinder TRs make good, robust easy to own classics that typify the 1950’s sports car scene but without most of the 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 is rocketing so don’t dither if you want one.


Even the last (and most civilised) TR3A feels like a Morgan in spirit; antiquated but always enormous fun. For their age performance is quite impressive – especially their lusty pull through the gears. Overdrive, which potentially gives you seven-speeds makes a real difference. The handling is antiquated geared to understeer (quality tyres and pressures make a significant difference) while all feel more agile than the six-cylinder TR5 and TR6 replacements due to the lighter engine. The all-drum brakes are usually quite adequate for moderate motoring but the later disc set up is worth retro fitting. 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.

Best models

TR2 came with a 1991cc 90bhp engine. Options included overdrive (on top gear), wire wheels and later a hardtop. The earliest cars had full-length doors which fouled high kerbs and were therefore shortened and are known as the short door cars. TR3 is little different apart from the ‘egg-crate’ grille and an engine uprate to 95bhp (later 100bhp) although became the first sports car in its class to have standard front disc brakes. A 2.2-litre engine was offered but few were fitted in production. TR3B is a rare oddball, the B moniker was only built for export as a TR3 with the TR4’s 2138cc engine, although this beefier engine has since found happy homes in earlier TRs along with a host of other club accepted mods.


Four-cylinder TRs traditionally 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 be worth as much and even exceed TR6 prices. Values generally start from £6000 for a running restoration project to £11,500 for a nicely restored car and perhaps around £20,000-£30,000 for a specimen or one with motorsport history. Any good, usable car needing no immediate work will cost around the £10-15,000 mark. Left hand drive models abound because most went abroad anyway. These can be cheaper to purchase and converting to RHD is straightforward although sometimes, thanks to eager Overseas markets, they can sell for a fair premium.

Buying advice

Finding a standard, unmodified car may prove hard but as improvements from later TRs make this car so much nicer, this isn’t a bad move. Rot is rife so inspect well. The chassis frame takes a big hit around the axle and suspension mounting points. 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 and the sills and B posts. Replacement frames at around £4000 are available and can be the best bet in the long run, despite a high initial cost.

A vast majority went to the US and since repatriated so it’s always a wise move to check the offside suspension and chassis extra carefully for ‘sideswipe’ damage. 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 movement. Consult a TR specialist on the acceptable limits.


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