Triumph TR Car Series
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This guide features the Triumph TR models.
Designed as a moderately priced basic sports car, the Triumph TR2 in production form, was unveiled to the public at the London Motor Show of 1953. The TR2 was built mainly from Standard and Triumph components already available and sold for a very competitive £555. Fitted with a two-litre (121cu.in) overhead valve engine developing 90bhp at 4,800rpm, the top speed for the overdrive model was 107mph (172km/h). 0-60mph (0-96km/h) took around 12 seconds. Other noteworthy features of the Triumph TR2 were the exceptional fuel economy (an average of 34mpg), and the car's first-rate weather equipment, with neat hood and close fitting side-screens. For a while the Triumph TR 2 was the world's lowest priced 100mph (161km/h) sports car.
The first TR3 came off the Canley line in October 1955 and in reality was little different from the TR2 it replaced. It used the famous Triumph "wet liner" engine of 1,991cc (121cu.in.) capacity, which fitted with twin SU carburettors produced 95bhp at 4,800rpm. For the hard-driving sporting motorist on a limited budget, the car was unbeatable. It gave snappy acceleration and a genuine 100mph (161km/h) plus capability, which coupled with safe and predictable handling made it an ideal vehicle for private competitors, both in racing and rallying. August 1956 saw several changes, including the fitting of: front disc brakes, a more modified engine (100bhp), a stronger rear axle and a full width front grille. Although popularly referred to as the TR3A, the car was never known as such by the factory.
The TR4, when it was introduced in 1961 broke new ground for Triumph. Whereas the TR2 / TR3 / TR3A range had been strictly conventional in body layout, the Mitchelotti-styled TR4 was much more masculine in appearance with slab sides and a squared-off tail. It broke the traditional sports car ethos and heralded the arrival of the 1960's generation. Wind-up windows and face-level ventilation made it better equipped than previous TRs and it was the first car to have a removable-roof type hard top, later credited to Porsche in its Targa form on the 911s. The TR4 used a four-in-line unit of 2138cc (130cu.in.) water cooled and consisting of a cast iron block and cylinder head. Acceleration from 0-60mph took 9.8 seconds with a maximum speed of 104mph (167km/h).
The quest for more performance inevitably led Triumph from four to six cylinder engines and as a direct result the TR5 PI was introduced in 1968. Retaining the basic seven year old body shape of the TR4, the new model was powered by a six-cylinder fuel-injected (a first for a British production car) engine of 2,498cc (152cu.in.) capacity. This six-cylinder boasted a maximum power output of 150bhp at 5,500rpm, which made the 5 easily the fastest TR yet, capable of a top speed of 117mph (188km/h) and 0-60mph (0-96km/h) in just 8.1 seconds. Basically an interim model, the newly introduced TR5 failed to catch the public's imagination and sadly there were to be a total of only 2,947 examples built before being replaced by the TR6 in the November of 1968.
Styled by Karmann of Germany, the last of the traditional Triumph sports cars, the TR6, was produced between November 1968 and February 1975. The TR6 was to be the last in a line of cars that could trace ancestry directly back to the TR4 of 1961. The TR6 utilized the chassis of the TR4A and the engine of the TR5 and naturally some onlookers suggested the car offered little new. Despite the criticisms, the TR6 sold readily with 94,619 examples being produced, most going for export. Performance was excellent from the lusty 2,498cc capacity (152cu.in.), fuel injected six-cylinder engine and even by the end of the production in the mid-seventites, 0-60mph (0-96km/h) in 8.2 seconds was still more than a match for most of its competitors.
The TR7's six year career began in January 1975 after Triumph beat MG in a design competition to produce the all-new British Leyland sports car. Carrying the TR name and linking itself with an illustrious group of forbears was perhaps unfortunate, for in reality it was a vehicle from another era of automotive manufacture. Thoroughly modern in appearance with a clean, crisp shape, it did not appeal to the Triumph traditionalists despite being the best handling TR of all time and the most comfortably and comprehensively equipped. A convertible option was offered from 1979, and today these are the most desirable models. Production of the TR7 ended in October 1981 making it the last Triumph sports car ever to be produced.