As stated last month, we have received a surprisingly large number of letters enthusing over the Triumph TR, “the last real sports car”.
Some 18 years ago, having been unable to lure Peter Morgan into parting with the Morgan Plus-4 design, Standard-Triumph set out to make a sports car of their own, with Vanguard engine, in the hope of capturing those American sales which were thought to lie between the MG and Jaguar markets.
After six months this 2-litre 20SR Triumph made its appearance at the 1952 Earls Court Show. This hastily-conceived car was not very well received, being a bit of a lash-up, with restricted luggage space. But it paved the way for the TR2 of 1953. A publicity safari to Jabbecke proved that, specially prepared, this sports Triumph could exceed 124 m.p.h. The 90 b.h.p. production model was fast, accelerative and economical and took 1st, 2nd and 5th places in the 1954 RAC Rally.
Successes in many other rallies (Team Award in the 1956 Alpine) and appearances in the TT, Mille Miglia and Le Mans races endorsed the soundness of the least-expensive 100-m.p.h. car. A hardtop version was introduced for the 1954 Show; a year later came the more powerful TR3, which was developing 100 b.h.p. towards the end of 1955. Disc brakes were provided on the front wheels, a rear hub weakness was eradicated and much optional extra equipment offered. By the beginning of 1959 about 45,000 TRs had been made, 30,000 going to America.
The TR4 of 1963 had a 2.1-litre engine and revised, Italian, styling. The TR4A of 1965 had i.r.s., and developed into the 21-litre six cylinder fuel-injection TR5 and the current, again re-styled (Ghia), TR6. MOTOR SPORT published road-test reports on the TR2 in February 1955, the TR4 in January 1963, and the TR5 in August 1968 and also covered the Triumph-powered Warwick, Swallow Doretti and Morgan Plus-4. We append a further selection of letters about these Triumph sports cars.—E.D.