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Car Tales: A Roadster Triumph, The TR3

‘Today the throaty roar of the Triumph TR3, an absolutely classic roadster that evolved from the company’s preceding TR2 model, seems like a clarion call from another age. Which of course it is: the English Triumph firm manufactured the mid-priced TR3 from October 1955 until 1962.
1960 Triumph TR3 for sale
‘The Triumph TR line was all about evolution and refining of the marque – so although there was very little to distinguish the TR3 from the TR2 it was usefully improved.

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‘With more power and better braking the Triumph TR3 utilized the same 4-cylinder 1,991cc engine; however, by enlarging the inlet ports and employing larger 1 3/4 inch SU carburetors the engine power was increased from 90 horsepower to 95 horsepower. On the outside, a matrix type grill was added along with some stainless steel beading along the fender/body shell joints.
1960 Triumph TR3 rear
‘Moreover, although the TR3 cars built between October 1955 and September 1956 had drum brakes, subsequent Triumph TR3 cars were among the first cars to be fitted with disc brakes as standard equipment. So from October 1956 up to the end of production in September 1962 all TR3s had disk brakes.
‘The TR3 had a top speed of 105.3 mph and could accelerate from 0–60 mph in 10.8 seconds. But with those disc brakes they would certainly stop faster and better.
‘In 1957 the TR3 was updated with various changes including a full width radiator grille and this face-lifted model was commonly referred to as the Triumph ‘TR3A’. However the cars were not badged as such and the ‘TR3A’ designation was not used officially, as is evident from contemporary sales brochures. Although the car was usually supplied as an open two-seater, an occasional rear seat and bolt-on steel hard top were available as extras.
‘And guess what? We presently have a fabulous example at Beverly Hills Car Club of such a later TR3: a beautiful and beautifully restored sparklingly black 1960 TR3 – or TR3A, if you prefer. Its provenance is a southern U.S state, so even before such a restoration, it was in far less danger of a rust attack.
1960 Triumph TR3 side view
‘The previous owner was a wise man, putting this car in the hands of a clearly talented car restorer. In turn, this man’s son-in-law assiduously worked on the car for months. ‘He did the welding and most of the bodywork.  He primed and blocked this body until his fingers bled,’ the car restorer wrote in his blog, sensible advice as to the lengths you might have to go to embark on such a project. ‘We have had problems with this restoration at every turn,’ he continues.
1960 Triumph TR3 interior
‘However, the finished product was worth the pain and the wait.’ He adds that his son-in-law ‘is a perfectionist and it shows in this TR3A…his finest effort…Even with all the bodywork that was done and the color choice, the body is extremely straight and the paintwork is near flawless. The interior, with its leather seats and contrasting black piping and carpets, is breath-taking…
‘The seats had been covered with new leather several months ago…Under the bonnet…stunning. ‘This is better than new.  It’s all about the attention to detail.’ As I also always say, it is all in the detail, such as the deeply evocative whitewall tires on the gleaming wire-wheels of this particular vehicle.
‘The rugged ‘sidescreen’ TR3, so named for its employment of removable plexiglass side curtains, was a sales and motorsport success. Some 13,377 examples of the original pre-facelift TR3 were produced, of which 1,286 were sold in the UK; the rest were exported, mainly to the US. With approximately 74,800 TR3s sold across all variants, the model was the company’s third best seller in the TR range, behind the TR7 (111,500 units) and TR6 (94,500 units) models. A short-lived US-market-only TR3B version appeared in 1962, powered by the 2138cc engine.
‘The Triumph TR3 was actively rallied and raced by the Triumph factory, enjoying much success in international motorsport competition. The TR3 was campaigned in races, hill climbs, and rallies across Europe and North America, with several outright, team, and class victories to its credit, achieving numerous outright, team, and class victories including six Coupes des Alpes awards. With its robust engine and rugged reliability, the TR was a popular competitor in continental hill climbs, and even today the TR3 is often seen in vintage and production racing.
Despite most of them being over 60 years old, The Triumph TR3 is still competitive in the E-production class of the Sports Car Club of America.
If you want one, you know where to come…
-Alex Manos, Owner
Alex Manos classic car collector

2 replies on “Car Tales: A Roadster Triumph, The TR3”

  • Blue Cat says:

    You might point out that the discs are only on the front wheels, while the rears remained drums. The first mass produced 4-wheel discs were on the 1957-1961 Jaguar XK150.

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