**** UNFORUTUNATELY THIS VEHICLE HAS BEEN WITHDRAWN FROM AUCTION BY THE SELLER. WE DEEPLY APOLOGISE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE CAUSED ****
Guide Price: £28,000 - £35,000
﹒Full, high-quality restoration to UK TR5 specification ﹒Rebuilt engine and transmission ﹒Body-off chassis overhaul and body respray ﹒Very low mileage since restoration
The British roadster genre has always had a deeply personal relationship with the North American market. Sports cars don’t get more quintessentially British than Triumph’s TR series, representing a thread running from the early 1950s right up to the 1980s. The TR1 was essentially a prototype, refined and developed into the production TR2 which hit the showrooms in 1953; this gently evolved into the more powerful TR3 in ’55, and then a crisp new Michelotti body design ushered in the TR4 for 1961. The format was gradually but relentlessly honed and refined throughout the sixties, with each fresh iteration boasting modernised styling and mechanical improvements, and the TR5 had a sibling – the TR250 – which was formulated specifically for the American market. You see, while the new-for-1967 TR5 boasted a muscular 2.5-litre straight-six with Lucas mechanical fuel injection (good for a hairy-chested 150bhp), this innovative formula was hard to squeeze through American regs. The TR5 was marketed in Europe as ‘the first British production sports car with petrol injection’, an uncommon thing at the time, but it couldn’t pass US emissions regulations - so the American-market model was fitted with twin Zenith-Stromberg carburettors, taking power down to 111bhp. It was otherwise essentially identical, and over the course of its one-year production run a total of 8,484 TR250s were sold in the States. Around 600 of these survive today and, as we’re about to discover, the TR250 we have here is rather more impressive than most…
If your roving eyes have already flitted to the engine bay photos, you’ll no doubt have spotted that this car is packing fuel injection rather than the American-issue carbs. In fact, this TR250 has been restored to full-fat UK TR5 specs – so it’s American in name and heritage, but it’s packing all of the British beef that its original designers intended.
This is all thanks to it having been drawn into the caring embrace of a seasoned Triumph enthusiast back in 2005. The current owner has been dabbling with TRs since the sixties, and it’s fair to say he knows them inside out; he owns several today, and when he bought this car back in 2005 it was a fresh import and, it has to be said, a bit of a wreck. All of the bodywork was original (aside from the rear deck having been inexplicably sliced off) and largely rust-free, but the mechanicals and interior had certainly seen better days. Knowing precisely how to bring it back up to scratch, he then set about painstakingly restoring the car, carrying out all of the work himself except for the paint, and ultimately road-registering it in 2013 when it was all shipshape. The restoration was extensive, with all manner of bodywork required along with a full drivetrain rebuild, new interior and plenty more besides. And, of course, you’ll notice that it’s been converted to right-hand-drive. A real labour of love, and the mileage indicates how carefully it’s been curated since – just 1,116 miles have passed under its wheels since then.
So why sell, after so much blood, sweat and tears? Well, quite simply it’s because he’s building a house and has a surplus of Triumphs. Sadly, but necessarily, it’s time for this beautifully rebuilt TR250 to pass to a new keeper.
There’s a substantial and reassuring file of paperwork with this car, including the V5 which confirms the car’s date of first registration as 17/10/1967, its first reg in the UK as 01/09/2013, and that it’s had no other keepers in the UK. The owner has kept a copy of the original advert from when he bought the car which described it thus: ‘TR250 – requires total restoration; in rust terms well above average… original VIN number still there’. The file also contains a number of photographs of what the car was like when he bought it, keenly demonstrating just how much work he’s had to put in. The MOT certificates are all present, as well as an invoice for £1,962.90 from marque experts C.T.M. Engineering who carried out the chassis restoration work. There’s a huge sheaf of receipts from TR specialists for all the parts that were required for the restoration, and a valuation certificate is present from March 2020, placing the agreed insurance value of the car at £30,000. We also find a Heritage certificate in the file, and the car is MOT’d until August.
This American-market car presents itself as supremely British, owing to the beautifully executed conversion to right-hand-drive. The interior is largely all new; the seats have been retrimmed and the carpets are new, as is all the timber – the full dash, the door cappings, it’s all finished in as-new wood because that’s basically what it is, so there’s no lacquer peel or sun fade here. There’s a new three-spoke steering wheel, and all of the gauges are in great condition and correct working order. All of the switchgear is present and operational, and it’s the same story inside the boot – everything’s present and correct, with no corrosion or signs of water ingress, and a correct-size spare wheel wearing an unused tyre.
Having good bones is always the key to a quality project car, and this car certainly had that. The bodywork was impressively free from corrosion when it was imported to the UK, which made for an excellent starting point; the rear deck had been chopped away so it needed new panelwork at the rear, but quality parts are readily available; over the course of the restoration, Stanpart panels were acquired to complete the jigsaw puzzle and the bodywork was finessed to ensure it presented beautifully before being sent off to paint. That fresh paintwork is in the car’s original shade of red, and it’s almost completely free from scratches or marks; the only notable blemish is on the rear nearside fin above the taillight, where the owner accidentally reversed into an unexpected object down a country lane – it’s been touched in with a dab of red paint, but wouldn’t be a difficult thing to correctly repair to a better standard.
All of the chrome is in superb condition, and the car has new lights all around. The wheels are Minilites with rare knock-off nuts, and the tyres have plenty of tread.
No stone has been left unturned in the pursuit of mechanical excellence here. The engine has been fully rebuilt (receipts in the file detail all of the parts acquired to achieve this to a high standard), and it now purrs like a kitten. Within the last month the owner has overhauled the injection system with a reconditioned metering unit, new injectors and a new fuel pump, hoses and filter. The transmission is an A-type overdrive unit which has been stripped, checked and rebuilt with new parts as required. The braking system was replaced during the restoration with new hardware, and the suspension was also renewed and has been polybushed throughout. The engine runs electronic ignition and a high-torque starter motor, as well as a new wiring loom, an unleaded head and a re-cored radiator. With such care and attention to detail paid throughout, everything is working as it should and the car is delightful to drive.
There are many reasons to buy a Triumph TR. There’s the heritage, the style, the engineering, the design, the desirability… and with such a lengthy run of models, there’s something for everyone. Now, while it’s true that the TR250 mightn’t be at the top of everyone’s wishlist thanks to the strangulating effect of the American regs, those woes have been comprehensively addressed here by rebuilding the car to full UK spec. As such, it’s now a Triumph with American blood but a British heart, artfully reimagined by a TR expert to function just as its designers intended.
Furthermore, this is a Triumph which has been rebuilt with a thorough and meticulous to-do list, and everything on that list has been ticked off. This isn’t a rolling project or a work-in-progress, it’s something which has been built with love and care over a number of years to an exacting set of standards… and it hasn’t covered a lot of miles since. It’s fresh, it’s vivacious, it’s ready to go. It’d be the perfect turnkey companion for the summer of 2021, wouldn’t it?
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