∙Full, high-quality restoration to UK TR5 specification ∙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…
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 resto 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 1,140 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 resto, 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 re-trimmed 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 panel work 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 tail light, 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 rare knock-off Minilites, and the tyres have plenty of tread.
Eagle eyed viewers of our auction listing may recognise this car. During the last auction, the seller discovered an underlying fault with the original engine they put in for the restoration. Rather than nestle around trying to find the root cause, they have simply replaced the engine at their own expense, with another TR5 engine they were building for another project. This new engine has only covered 18 miles since being fitted in the last month and alas, is now ready for a new owner once again. You can see a picture of this new engine being lowered into the vehicle in the gallery below.
The transmission is an A-type overdrive unit which has been stripped, checked and rebuilt with new parts as required, and it all works very well. 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 wish list 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?
Notice to bidders
Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.
The max bid process allows you to bid without any hassle.
Enter your maximum bid and we will then bid on your behalf to ensure you're the highest bidder - just enough to keep you in the lead and only up until your maximum.
About Max Bids
C&C prevent auction snipers from bidding in the last seconds to win an auction.
Auctions are extended by 10-minutes if anyone bids within the last 2 minutes to allow other bidders to react and counter-bid.
If your bid is below the reserve price you'll bid that amount if you are the highest bidder.
If you are the highest bidder and place a bid above the reserve we will only go up to the reserve price.
Once the reserve has been met C&C will make sure you are the highest bidder using the bidding increments stated below, keeping you in the lead up until your maximum bid.
£0 to £10,000
£10,000 to £50,000
Automatically outbid immediately
When you place a max bid and are outbid immediately that means that another bidder has placed a max bid limit which is higher than yours.
You can bid again and we will use our automatic bid system to try and get you as the highest bidder.
Matching max bids
When there are two max bids of the same value, the one placed first remains the lead bidder.
Watch this auction
Get notified when the auction is starting, and half an hour before it ends.