A little English: ’57 Triumph TR3 sports car is still affordable

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Triumph
The Triumph TR3 is a traditional-style British sports car

My favorite of the early post-war British roadsters is not the Healey 100, the Morgan or the MGA, but the first-generation “small-mouth” Triumph TR3.

The TR3 is the most British-looking of all the roadsters of its era, with its bulldog front end and cutdown doors, the best interpretation of an era for sports cars that was about to change drastically.

Triumph
Th TR3 comes with wire wheels and electric overdrive

As a collector car, the TR3 offers strong performance (with a top speed in excess of 110 mph), terrific racing history at such places as Le Mans and Sebring, comfort for drivers in a variety of sizes, and simple and reliable mechanicals.

The Pick of the Day is a 1957 Triumph TR3 located in Los Angeles that, according to the dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com, was purchased new in Anaheim and has been in single-family ownership for its entire life.

The car has the options that people look for in a TR3, including wire wheels and the all-important factory overdrive. The seller states that the car is an accident-free example with a clean undercarriage that has never been restored.

For the past number of years, the TR3 has been driven regularly for 20-30-mile weekend trips, the seller says.

Triumph
The cutaway doors give the Triumph a dramatic profile

The pictures show a car that appears to be in nice driver-level condition, though the seller’s description of this car as being completely original is not quite accurate. The car definitely has been repainted at some point and is missing its front emblem and the Triumph letters on the back.

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The interior looks to be in the correct pattern and material and could be original. The top and side curtains are included, and they look to be in good condition, most likely having been replaced at some point. This is important, as this weather equipment is expensive to replace.

The trunk and spare tire well look to be quite solid with no evidence of rust or repair showing, though the rubber seals for both will need to be replaced. Those seals, and the front emblem and trunk lettering, are all inexpensive and available at several specialist companies on the Internet.

Triumph
The interior looks simple but accommodating

The engine compartment is clean, and the air cleaners are of the correct type. The wiring is of the correct type and looks to be either in great original condition or has been properly replaced.

These Triumphs, both the early models and later “wide-mouth” TR3s, represent a real bargain in today’s collector car market, especially when compared with the Healey 100 or the MGA, which generally sell for thousands more.

With an asking price of $24,750, this TR3 has is one of the most inexpensive ways to enter a vintage rally, such as the California Mille or the Copperstate 1000, both events for which this car would be eligible.

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To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

 

 

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Owned a 57 in 1963 but didn’t keep long. Didn’t have side curtains, so one Indiana winter was enough. Fun to drive and like most my cars from that time, wish I would have found a way to keep them.

  2. I had a 58 TR3 when I was 17. What a blast and a chick magnet. I blew the engine and installed the larger one. I couldn’t get it tuned properly so I sold it to a buddy for $100. Lots of fun, but you have to be careful not to let your arm hang down. It’s very hard on the knuckles.

  3. I would like to know how much this car is? And how much of the paperwork do you have all? How much work has been done? What if any repainting has been done? Thank you
    Jeffrey Mitchell

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