• Manufacturer Triumph Motor Company
  • Production 1955–1957
  • Assembly Coventry, England
  • Class Sports car
  • Successor Triumph TR3A
  • Engine(s) 1991 cc straight-4
  • Transmission(s) 4-speed overdrive manual
  • Height 50 in (1,270 mm)
  • Length 151 in (3,835 mm)
  • Width 56 in (1,422 mm)
  • Wheelbase 88 in (2,235 mm)
  • Kerb Weight 904 kg (1,993 lb)
  • Layout FR layout
  • Predecessor Triumph TR2

The history of the Triumph TR3


The Triumph TR3 was a car built between 1955 and 1959 by the Standard Motor Company in the United Kingdom, during which time 13,377 cars were produced, of which 1286 were sold within the UK while the rest were exported mainly to the USA. As of 2002 there were only 893 registered TR3/3a's on UK roads.
Although the car was usually supplied as an open two seater, an occasional rear seat and bolt on steel hard top were available as extras.
The car was powered by a 1991 cc straight-4 OHV engine which initially produced 95 bhp (71 kW; 96 PS) increasing to 100 bhp at 5000 rpm. The four speed manual transmission could be supplemented by an overdrive unit on the top three ratios electrically operated and controlled by a switch on the dash. In 1956 the front brakes changed from drum to disc becoming the first British series production car to be so fitted.
In 1957, it was replaced by an updated version, the TR3A.
Production Period - October 1955 to Summer 1957
Original price (basic model) - £950
Suspension - Front: Independent by unequal length double wishbones, coil springs and telescopic dampers, Rear: Live axle, half elliptic springs lever arm dampers
Brakes - First 4408 models (1955-56): 10 in (254 mm) Drums all around. Remaining 9000 (1956-57): Front Discs; Rear Drums
Original Optional extras - Seatbelts, overdrive, wire wheels, glass-fibre hardtop, occasional rear seat, radio, heater, leather upholstery.
A hard top car with overdrive tested by the British magazine The Motor in 1956 had a top speed of 105.3 mph (169.5 km/h) and could accelerate from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 10.8 seconds. A fuel consumption of 27.1 miles per imperial gallon (10.4 L/100 km; 22.6 mpg-US) was recorded. The test car cost £1103 including taxes.
"Other figures recorded included:
Speed Time 
- 0 - 30 mph (48 km/h) 3.6 s 
- 0 - 50 mph (80 km/h) 7.5 s 
- 0 - 60 mph (97 km/h) 10.8 s 
- 0 - 90 mph (140 km/h) 28.8 s 
From standing to mile 18.1 secs"
The TR3A was a minor update from the TR3 and was built between 1957 and 1962. The updates included the new wide front grill, exterior door handles, lockable boot handle and came with a full tool kit as standard (this was an option on the TR3).
The total production run of the TR3A was 58,236. This makes it the third best selling TR after the TR6 and TR7. It is estimated that only 9,500 of the original 58,000 built survive in the world today.
The Triumph TR3 was the first production car to include standard disc brakes, which were continued on the TR3A. The car was known for its superior braking ability, making it an autocross favourite.
The TR3A is often seen in Vintage and Production racing today. The TR3A, despite being almost 50 years old, is still competitive in the E-Production class of SCCA (Sports Car Club of America).
In June 1977, Road & Track magazine published an article titled "Driving Impressions: TR3A & TR250" in its 30th anniversary issue. It published a 0-60 time of 12.0 seconds, power output of 100 bhp (75 kW) at 4800 rpm, observed curb weight of 2,090 lb (948 kg) and fuel consumption of 28 miles per imperial gallon (10 L/100 km; 23 mpg-US).
The Triumph TR3"B" is a sports car and was produced by the Triumph Motor Company (Standard Motor Company) in 1962. It followed the TR3A and was offered concurrent with the TR4, which started production in 1961. In fact, the TR3"B" was a special short production run produced in response to dealer concerns that the buying public might not welcome the TR4.
The TR3"B" is not actually labelled as such, but the model name is common usage. It had the body of the TR3A, but the 2,138 cc. engine and all synchromesh transmission of the TR4. The gearbox has an excellent feel. The engine is a straight 4, push rod, 3 bearing, with wet liners. It had 9:1 compression, was very rigid and had wonderful slow running and clutch feel. It was fitted with two H6 SU carburettors. It had 105 hp (78 kW) at 4,650 rpm and 172 Nm (127 ftlbf) of torque at 3,350 rpm. It got around 20 miles per US gallon (12 L/100 km; 24 mpg-imp) to 30 miles per US gallon (7.8 L/100 km; 36 mpg-imp). The top speed was limited to about 110 mph (177 km/h). by the gear ratio, unless it had overdrive. Electrically triggered overdrive (Laycock-de-Normanville Type A) was available as an option and operated on 2nd, 3rd, and 4th gears. Appearance was identical to the TR3A, and as such very similar to the TR3, except for a wider grille and door handles.
The suspension was by double A-arms, manganese bronze trunnion, coil springs and tube shocks at the front, optional anti-roll bar, and with worm and peg steering. Unlike MGs of the same period, the steering mechanism and linkage had considerable play and friction, which increased with wear.
The rear was conventional leaf springs, with solid axle and lever shocks, except that the (box) frame rails were slung under the axle (underslung). The wheels were 15 inch diameter x 4.5" width (increased from 4" after the first few TR2s), with 48 spoke wire wheels optional. Wire wheels were usually painted, either body color or argent (silver), but matte chrome and bright chrome were also available. It had front disc brakes (the TR was the first production car to feature these) and rear drums with no power assist.
It weighed 2,137 lb (969 kg) which was significantly more than the Morgan +4 and the "Bath Tub" (pre-911) Porsches, but not much more than the MGA and MGB. All except the Morgan, which shared the same engine, were substantially less powerful.
Though, under most conditions it was very responsive and forgiving, it had a some handling vices. The chassis, which it shared with the TR2, TR3, TR3A and TR4 had limited wheel travel, and the car was somewhat tall and narrow for a high performance sports car. As a result, on very hard cornering, the inside rear wheel would lift, causing sudden over-steer due to the increased load on the outside rear tyre. This was particularly true with increasingly common radial tyres. The original TR2/3/3A suspension was built with older, bias ply tire designs in mind.
The TR3"B" is a true roadster, designed for sunny weather with removable rain protection. It has a convertible roof that snaps on and off and removable side curtains, allowing very low doors with padding to rest one's arm on. There are holes in the floor, with rubber plugs, so that the originally supplied jack might used from inside the car, as did the Jaguar XK 120. The optional heater was poor and the shut-off valve was under the bonnet. A third person could get behind the seats, if absolutely necessary.

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