- The Washington Times - Friday, September 6, 2002

Having reviewed the list of some 700 automobiles that Vern Parker has presented in his wonderful weekly old-time auto review (“Out of the Past”), I note with concern that the once-ubiquitous Triumph TR-2/3 sports car has never been featured.

Manufactured from 1953 through 1961, this car represented the result of a unique effort on the part of British Standard-Triumph to develop a modestly priced sports car that could surpass 100 mph with an engine smaller than 2.0 liters. The entire project took about one year, and the first TR-2 was produced in 1953. Running on a four-cylinder Vanguard tractor engine, the TR indeed met the 100-mph goal, and proved able competition in races against the MGs, Healeys and even the Jaguars of the time.

Soon the unique, deep-throated exhaust note of an accelerating TR was common at road races in this country. Manufactured primarily for export, this sports car soon became immensely popular in the United States. Over its eight years in production, all of the cars in the TR-2/3 series maintained the same basic styling, equipment and features. Everyone who reached maturity in the late '50s has special memories of owning or riding in the windowless TR, with its rakish cutaway doors, side curtains, and elementary but functional instrumentation and controls.

More than 80,000 of the TR 2/3 series were produced, and I own TR-3A No. 54010, which I bought in 1987 when it had 55,000 miles on the speedometer. The previous owner had driven it a grand total of 600 miles. The car would barely run, and the odor of the fuel suggested that the gas may have been in the tank too long. After a tune-up and a few cosmetic repairs, the TR-3 proved to be a great looking and great performing sports car.

Given the number of middle-aged people who approach me when they see my TR-3, I infer that there would be significant interest in an article about the car.


DAN MCGRATH

Falls Church

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