The Triumph TR Series

One of my favorite cars
from the early 1970’s
was the
Triumph TR-6
with the British racing
green exterior, and rich
brown leather interior
with walnut veneer dashboard –

— it was hard to
beat the car
for looks and
outright style.

A (posh) friend of mine
owned one, and I was
constantly trying to
borrow it,
despite not having a
drivers license yet,
or having anything
to trade with him.

I did get one or two short
drives, anyway –
– his sister liked me –
but the car made a permanent
impression on me; and I still
love that car – despite not
being able to fit in it
comfortably anymore –
they were, after all,
very small roadsters.

They moved out pretty good,
were built reasonably well,
– but –
the series all began with a car –
the TR-1 – that was described
by a test engineer as :
” … the most bloody awful
I’ve ever driven. “

Hmmm… not exactly an
auspicious beginning,
I’ll grant you – but the
1952 TR-1, alternately
called the 20TS, started
the ball rolling toward
Triumph’s much better
designed cars to come.

The TR-2 – introduced
in 1953, really represented
the basis for the TR’s from
that point on – compared
to the 20TS, it had upgraded
suspension, brakes,
and handling characteristics.

It also featured
a slightly more powerful
twin-carbed 121 CID in-line
4 cylinder engine, which could
make about 90 horsepower.
It was said to be the least
expensive British car of it’s era
to exceed 100 MPH top speed.

The TR-3, which came
quickly upon the
TR-2’s heels, was built
for 7 years – and was
an important
part of the TR evolution —
sold as a open two-seater with
an optional hard-top and even
a third seat available, it also had
a more powerful engine setup
making just over 100 horsepower,
and front disc brakes.

Some issues were notable –
handling was still pretty rough,
with wheel lifting on corners
at speed a real possibility,
and the optional heater was
a lost cause in winter.

A very popular car in the world
of road racing, the TR-3
underwent several face-lifts
during it’s manufacture…

TR-3A was basically a grill re-do,
new windshield fittings, and such.

The TR-3B upgraded
the horsepower
ratings up to around
110 miles per hour using
a 2 liter engine that was
also used in the TR-4.

The TR-4 was another huge leap
forward – designed by the
famous sports car engineer
Giovanni Michelotti, it featured
full size doors with roll up
windows which replaced the
cut-ways in the previous models,
a wider, more secure handling
package and stance, an angular
rear that made the trunk
much more accommodating,
and an optional ‘Targa’ style top
was even available.

It was built between
1961 and 1965.

There was also a TR-4A made-
which were equipped with
either a live axle or independent
rear suspension, in 1965.

The first British production
sports car with fuel injection,
the TR-5 and it’s U.S. market
bound cousin, the TR-250,
were released in 1967 —
these had a well known defect
in the fuel system that caused
the cars to cut out when the
fuel tank was down to a 1/3,
and were replaced by the TR-6
a year later.

Ahhhh — the TR-6 –
now, there was a motor car.

Built between 1968 and 1976-
with design elements from
Karmann – it featured the
2.5 liter straight six engine
with a 4 speed manual tranny
and optional overdrive, making
around 150 horsepower.

Quick, nimble, stylish.

Then, they backpedaled –
releasing the wedge-shaped
and grossly underpowered
TR-7 in 1975- it’s four cylinder
Dolomite 1850 couldn’t really
take the car anywhere very fast,
making a mere 95 horses.

Oh sure, they realized what
they’d done to American Triumph
fans , but by the time the TR-8
was ready in 1979, featuring a
Rover built 140-HP 8 cylinder
engine, the mystique was gone.

Now, in fairness –
other considerations
also killed the TR series —

— the majority of imported cars
on American roads
in the 1960’s were
British made
(Triumphs, MGs,
Austin-Healeys) —

but by 1977-
that was no longer true.

Toyotas, Hondas, Datsuns, etc
were now the preferred imports.

it doesn’t make the absence
of a good, reasonably priced
British sports car in our
market any less painful.

!! HOY !!





6 thoughts on “The Triumph TR Series

  1. hjonasson says:

    I could go for that kind of car…. if it weren’t always snowing. 😉

  2. Man, you got great taste in cars!
    HUGS!!! 🙂

  3. ktz2 says:

    I don’t know enough about cars to appreciate all the specs, but I like the vintage pix every time

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