Buying a TRIUMPH TR3 (1955 – 1962) – buying guide

With its charming line, its rusticity and its good power, the TR3 is the archetype of the English roadster. A car with strong character and always fun to drive!

Rolling plate

TRIUMPH TR3 (1955 - 1962)

If there is one that typically embodies the idea we have of the English roadster, it is the Triumph TR3. By its look already, inspired by that of the Jaguar XK120, the success of the time. It was introduced in series on the TR2 in 1953, itself a corrected version of the 20TS (or TR1) prototype of 1952. Triumph wanted to acquire a small sports car, and failing to succeed in buying Morgan, he created this model, technically simple: ladder frame, front axle with superimposed arms, propulsion, rigid rear axle, leaf springs… Under the hood is the 2.0 l tumbled (90 hp) supplied by Standard, owner of Triumph. The TR2 having sold well in the USA, it evolved from 1955 to become the TR3. This increases to 95 hp then 100 hp, the grille is now flush and the body is more stylish with the addition of chrome trunk hinges. A semblance of a rear seat is installed, and a hard-top is optional. The success is growing, customers appreciating the look, the essential aspect and the performance: the TR3 flirts with 170 km/h and displays a reasonable price. From the end of 1956, it placed itself with its brakes at the forefront of modernity since it adopted discs at the front. Powerful and balanced, they thus reinforced the sporting aptitudes of the car, its handling being efficient and its performance high for the time. Even the comfort is rather appreciated, except that the rear axle tends to jump on the roughness. The heaviness and lack of precision of the direction, on the other hand, arouse criticism. In 1957, the Triumph benefited from major modifications, since the grille was widened, the headlights pushed back and the bumpers revised. Unofficially renamed TR3A (for America), it was a great success. So much so that in 1961, when its replacement TR4 appeared, it was rejected by American dealers, forcing Triumph to modify the TR3 by equipping it with the 2.1 l (105 hp) engine and the fully synchronized gearbox. of the one who should have succeeded him. Become – still unofficially – B, the TR3 will be sold until the end of 1962. In all, this true roadster was produced at 75,020 units, including 13,377 until 1956, then 58,309 in A and 3,334 in B .


Certainly appreciated in its time for its mechanical robustness, the TR3 has always rusted copiously, even when it was new! This will therefore be the point to monitor as a priority, especially since a beautiful painting can serve as a cache-miserie. For the rest, we will check the car in the classic way, with the help of a pro to check that the chassis is not twisted. No worries on the maintenance side, the car is simple, the parts plentiful and the Triumph Club de France very active.

The side

Sold for 15,460 F in 1961 (current €25,300), the TR3 enjoys a solid rating, whatever its version. The most common, the A, costs €34,000 for a very fine example that does not require alterations. Count an additional €2,000 for a B and another €4,000 more for an initial model. Obviously, these values ​​vary depending on the condition, with some examples being better restored than others. In any case, they are stable.

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