Ads on Test Triumph TR3A (p121), Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 (p122), Mini Cooper 1.3i (p125), Jaguar XK150 DHC (p126)
If you’re in the market for a perky two-seater that begs to be driven, this TR merits serious consideration says Rob Scorah
This TR3A offers as many top-on/top-off options as any convertible – it comes with a detachable hardtop as well as a new-looking soft-top on the car’s original roof frame. The general appearance of the little two-seater is good.
It has obviously been the subject of an older restoration (alas, undocumented) and the red paintwork is good, without swirl polishing marks or faded panels. There are some small chips around the lower edges and a chip through to metal below the nearside rear indicator. But panel fit is good: doors hang squarely, and bonnet and boot gaps are even.
The chrome, badges and other brightwork are in good order, with no pitting or discolouration, though the bootlid hinges have shifted slightly off their rubber gaskets. There are a couple of small dings to the rear wheelarch shields.
The interior has a used but cared-for patina. The beige leather seats retain their shape and support and the red piping still looks smart. However, there is some slight darkening to the outer bolster of the driver’s seat. The rest of the cockpit is good – especially the dashboard – though the trim has worn and split where the door meets the body. Carpets are good, if a bit stained in places, and the floor beneath them is solid. There is a milkiness at the top right hand corner of the windscreen – perhaps delamination – but it doesn’t restrict visibility.
The soft-top is supple and clean. It unbuttons from its studs easily and folds neatly. The skeleton frame folds down easily too, though the end of one of its canvas straps is slightly frayed. And there are a few scuffs to the ends of the frame.
The engine bay was painted as carefully as the body and K&N air filters are the only non-standard item. The wiring is a little untidy but hoses and leads look good and the new-looking plastic parts are neither cracked nor heat damaged. Clips and screw-heads are all corrosion-free. There are no signs of leaks from the engine, which starts promptly and idles smoothly with a bit of aid from its choke. The oil pressure sits mid-gauge and the water temperature stays reasonable.
The 2.0-litre four-pot feels responsive and the elbow space provided by those low door tops is welcome when you’re tugging the large steering wheel. Steering is typically vague around straight-ahead but you still feel confident directing the car.
The gearchange is positive, the box is whine-free and the dash-mounted overdrive engages smoothly in the top two gears. The brakes (discs on the front) pull it up in a straight line and the Toyo 165 R15 tyres still have a lot of life in them.
The price is similar to other good-looking examples, but some offer better histories. There may be room for a little negotiation against the lack of paperwork.
Chrome is in excellent nick and paintwork is good; stone chips are few and far between Tidy engine bay looks standard aside from K&N air filters