Smith's classic british cars
Classic british sports cars. MG, Triumph, Jaguar, Morgan, Austin Healey, AC, Morgan, Lotus - the legends, the performance, the heartbreaks.
In 1957 the Triumph TR3A was introduced as a replacement for its predecessor, the TR3. The 3A featured improved design and mechanics, resulting in a top speed of 105 mph. The TR3A was a reliable vehicle; this was proven in 1960 during the grueling Le Mans 24 Hour race where three cars were entered and finished, placing ninth, eleventh and fifteenth.
The vehicle featured a four-cylinder, 95 horsepower engine. With an overall weight of the vehicle tipping the scale at 2200 pounds, meaning horsepower to weight ratio was excellent. Throughout its life span, larger brakes and a engine modifications were introduced.
The TR series has been a familiar scene in racing competition and club events ever since their inception. Modifications such as Weber carburetors and improved transmissions are a favorite for many competitors and SCCA contenders.
During its production run, lasting from 1957 through 1961, around 58,000 examples were created.
The TR3 could by easily recognized by its 'small mouth' grille in 1955. The opening is still small, but the grill itself is no longer far recessed, but instead nearly flush with the front valence. A total of 17,000 units of this model were produced. Three years later Triumph opened the grill up to increase air flow and the TR3A 'wide mouth' was introduced. This model ended up being the most popular of TR2/TR3 series at 58,236 units.
For 1956 the TR3 model was debuted with numerous continual developments, updates and minor changes to both the body and mechanical specifications. The TR3 came with a wide-mouth grille, a trunk with lock, more stable bumpers, updated headlamps and an additional 5 hp. The TR3 went through two phases. The first of these phases involved 1955 and 1956 models that were different from the TR2 by a flush-set eggcrate grille. Though they were still twin SU's, larger carbs were introduced and added 5 hp which bumped the 2.0-liter four-cylinder 95. 5 hp came by an interim switch in cylinder heads after the original 3,300 engines from the introductory 'LeMans' casting to a 'high port' design. Modified ports were also added to the TR3.
The second phase of the TR3 began with 1957 models which eventually became the first series-built British cars with standard front disc brakes. The Triumph Company also updated and improved the rear drums and substituted a sturdier back axle, still leaf-spring. Independent front suspension continued with coil springs and double wishbones. GT Kit was all an all new feature aimed at rallying's Sport and GT classes. This GT Kit option delivered the factory liftoff hardtop and outside door handles.
In 1958 a TR3A version was introduced and featured the handles as standard, which bowed for '58 wearing a somewhat ‘Detroit-inspired' 'wide-mouth' grille plus a truck handle that locked, updated headlamps and less obvious bumpers even more sturdy. Sales were much better now and Triumph was behind the scenes working on a much more stylish sports vehicle that would appear in 1961, the TR4. The TR3A featured an upsized 2.1-liter engine in 1959, though very few were installed. A total of 58,000 TR3A models were sold while U.S. distributors stalled importation of the TR4 successors and instead, a U.S. – market only introduced was TR3B model. A total of 3,331 of these models were produced, and most had the TR4's 100-hp 2.1-liter engine and all-synchro gearbox.
By 1961 Triumph found itself overwhelmed with a variety of TR3A's due to overproduction and misjudged market demand. The Triumph's U.S. distributor wasn't 100% sure of the new TR4 and chose to dispose of leftover TR3As. This resulted in the TR3B, which featured nicer appointments and the TR4's new all-synchro gearbox. All except 500 models received the 2.1 engine.
By 1961, production of the TR3 was largely ended and replaced with the TR4, which was similar mechanically, but featured much more modern styling and plenty more comfort features. The North American market received around 3,331 of TR3B's in 1962, most of them having a larger 2138cc engine, built largely to TR3A specs, and all models came with all-synchro TR4 transmission. Total production of the TR2-3B production was less than 80,000 models. Several TR engines powered versions of the Morgan sports vehicle. A few cars, such as the Swallow Doretti, Warwick, (Vignale) Italia and the Peerless shared basic TR2-3 running gear. .
The TR3 generation was retired in October of 1962 after seven years of a remarkable product.