Standard-Triumph firmly established itself in the highly competitive sports car market with its fun, energetic, and stylish TR (Triumph Roadster) series of sports cars. Americans had developed an insatiable appetite for the new wave of sports cars coming out of England in the early post-war period. While MG was one of the first on the scene with their quaint, 1930s-styled T-series, Triumph was not far behind with the TR2 of 1953. Compared side-by-side, the Triumph was noticeably more modern, although the cut-down doors and rudimentary weather equipment were still rooted in the pre-war era. With the TR3 of 1955, some significant refinements were made along with a welcome boost in displacement and power, with the majority of production models featuring the 1,991-cc inline-four, a stout pushrod engine designed initially by Standard for use in a Ferguson tractor. Motorsport played a significant role in developing Triumph’s image in American and elsewhere, with TR roadsters competing in all forms of grassroots competition. From club-level rallies to professional road racing, Triumph earned a well-deserved reputation for toughness and performance.
As the 1950s ended, spartan and basic roadsters began to fall out of favor as buyers asked for more creature comforts to go along with the performance. Lacking the resources necessary to develop an entirely new car, Triumph turned to Giovanni Michelotti to inject some Italian style into the TR3A platform. The stylish and fresh new TR4 debuted in 1961, featuring inset headlamps, clean slab sides with flared wheel arches, and subtle fins in the haunches. It also featured a more comfortable cockpit, with roll-up windows and tight-fitting vinyl top. Mechanically, the TR4 shared many of its major components with the TR3A.
Aside from the improvements to the comfort and style, another significant change came with a boost in capacity for the Standard-based engine, from 1,991 c.c. to 2,138 c.c. Somewhat curiously, Triumph dealers worried that buyers might not warm to the new car, so the TR3A remained in production for a short time alongside the TR4. However, those worries were soon put to rest as the TR4 proved to be a resounding success in the all-important US market. Today, the Triumph TR4 remains highly collectible, with devoted fans that continue to enjoy them on the road and the race track. With crisp Italian styling, robust mechanicals, and outstanding parts and technical support, the TR4 is a favorite among serious collectors and hobby-level enthusiasts alike.
An outstanding example of Triumph’s iconic sports car, this 1965 TR4 roadster has been comprehensively restored and is finished in a very attractive shade of Beach White over black upholstery and chrome wire wheels. Notably, the car has an excellent body, with straight panels and crisp lines. Doors and deck lids fit well, and the quality of the paint is outstanding, showing clear reflections and excellent finishing. The lovely paint color has a subtle, green-tinted hue which is very attractive and less harsh than a pure white. Brightwork is straight, properly fitted and in excellent order. The chassis and undercarriage were refinished as part of the restoration, and present in excellent condition. The underside of the body is fully painted and appears exceptionally clean and tidy, showing only some light road wear on the painted suspension components and in the wheel wells.
The interior is restored to a similarly high standard, with black leather seats piped in white and correct carpets and vinyl door cards. The interior trim has mellowed slightly since restoration, with some light creasing visible in the seats. It is very well done and accurate with the matte finish wood dash, correct Triumph instruments, and original switchgear and controls. This car retains the original banjo-style steering wheel, as well as a rare factory Triumph radio. Weather protection is a step up from the old TR3A, with roll-up windows and a tight fitting vinyl top. The top frame disappears behind the seats, tucked under the padded rear panels for a clean look with the roof down. The vinyl top itself stows in the boot, which is also tidy and correct, with the original spare wheel and Goodyear tire, as well as the factory grease gun.
A pair of Stromberg carburetors feeds Triumph’s gutsy little 2,138 c.c. inline-four which is backed by a stout four-speed manual gearbox. The engine bay is very tidy, and details like the rare original air A.C. cleaners, chrome valve cover, and blue-wrapped wiring harnesses appear correct to factory standards. The engine appears mostly standard, although a stainless steel exhaust system is fitted for longevity and a pleasing soundtrack. These are famously robust engines, and their standard output of 105 horsepower was plenty to keep the TR4 at the sharp end of the sports car market at the time.
On the road, the eager little Triumph delivers a raw and exciting driving experience of a pure British roadster, yet with a degree of refinement and style that helps it stand out from the competition. We rarely encounter TR4s as comprehensively restored as this example, which has been enjoyed and maintained in superb condition since it was completed. Pretty enough to turn heads at club-level shows and gatherings while also being an excellent tool for tours and rallies, this Triumph is a fantastic example of one of the most popular and beloved sports cars of the 1960s.