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Triumph TR3

Triumph TR3 Published: 7th Jun 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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TR2 character | More power | Standard front disc brakes | Rare TR3B

What’s their attraction?

Take a TR2, retain that innate character and charm but improve upon it with useful additions and you have the TR3. True, you either like or loath the new looks, but it’s the best all rounder with more power and front disc brakes plus there’s the rare-spotted the TR3B which is identical but enjoys the later TR4’s lustier 2138cc engine. With around 75,000 sales it’s the third best selling TR of them all.

Driving

Compared to the TR2 the TR3 is better suited to today’s roads care of its added 10bhp zip – now up to 100bhp – and from late summer of ’56 standard front disc brakes (beating Jaguar to the party, no less). The added performance gives this car the edge and is far quicker than a comparable MGA. Indeed, with a 0-60mph skit of under 11 seconds according to Motor road test in 1956, it’s faster than the MGB and delivers even more low speed torque for a lusty pull through the gears. Overdrive is worth fitting, if not already equipped, and potentially gives you seven-speeds to play with, means you have gear for every occasion which is ideal for many categories of classic motorsport as well as normal road use.

The handling has that typically simplistic feel but the added power over the TR2 can lead to the car cocking a rear wheel under hearty cornering but, like the TR2, feels more agile and fun than the later six-cylinder TR5 and TR6 versions as a result of its lighter engine. The drum brakes are quite adequate but the later disc set up from the TR3A is worth having or retro fitting (kits are available). Other welcome refinements offered by the TR3A includes door handles, a lockable boot and the option of an occasional rear seat.

Prices to pay

In common with the TR2, some early TRs can even exceed TR6 prices and the TR3 commands slightly more of the folding stuff over the earlier model at the ’top end’, i.e. concours-like examples. Values generally start from £7000 for a running project to £20,000 for a good solid car and perhaps just under £35,000 for the best or one with motorsport history. Some 90 per cent went overseas so left-hand drive cars are common but don’t automatically convert back to UK spec as it can be a resale asset.

Top buying tips

Originally

Standard unmodified cars may prove very hard to track down but as improvements from later TRs make this car so much better, unless you yearn for showroom spec, don’t fret too much over it.

Rust

Rot is rife so inspect well for past repairs and bodges. The chassis is suspect around the axle and suspension mounting points. A good test of the extent is to jack the car up and watch the door gaps change thanks to a weak chassis. Other rusty regions include floors, inner wings, jacking points, steering rack locating points and the sills and B posts. LHD CONVERTS Because the bulk went to the States and since repatriated it’s always a smart move to especially check the offside suspension and chassis areas for past ‘sideswipe’ damage plus the quality of repairs as well as the actual workmanship of the conversion.

Engine

A Triumph trait, the main worry is the state of the crankshaft washers. If worn, they can render the block scrap although the is very rare. As an aid works the clutch, watch the crank pulley for excess movement. Being a wet-lined design it’s easy to overhaul with new sleeves and pistons at home.

Dates to remember

1955 TR3 supersedes the TR2. Changes were slight however; there was more power and an ‘egg-crate’ style grille, but, apart from external door handles, that was about the extent of it

1956 A power boost, sees the engine now capable of producing between 95bhp to 100bhp depending upon age, while front disc brakes became standard equipment

1957 TR3A (an unofficial title by the way) sees a full-width grille, along with improved seats and trim which includes exterior door handles and lovable boot. From 1959, the car was optionally available with a 2.2-litre engine



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