Reborn Dutch TR was once an LA show star

Classic Sports Car - - Lost & Found -

The restora­tion of an im­por­tant Tri­umph has just been com­pleted in The Nether­lands. Ray­mond Belderink paid sev­eral vis­its to the USA in his search for an early TR2: “Ev­ery one was in­com­plete, had no chas­sis num­ber, or was rot­ten. Then, af­ter five years, I found the right car 100 miles from home!

“I had long known about the car, but the owner wouldn’t sell. Then he called and asked if I was still in­ter­ested, but I’d have to come in­stantly or he’d change his mind. The next day I took a trailer to his barn and was met by his friend, who told me that he couldn’t watch me take it away. I quickly loaded it up and left with­out ever meet­ing him!”

Chas­sis 53 re­mains largely orig­i­nal, and dur­ing the strip-down Belderink dis­cov­ered ‘EB53’ and ‘USA show car’ writ­ten on the back of some of the interior pan­els, so de­cided to in­ves­ti­gate fur­ther: “I asked a friend who lives in Los Angeles to help me and, af­ter a lot of re­search, he found a rel­a­tive of the previous owner. He’d got the car from his un­cle, who bought it new in January 1954 af­ter be­ing in­vited to the launch of Tri­umph in the USA at the Am­bas­sador Ho­tel, LA, and fall­ing in love with a black TR2 on the show stand.”

This was the first black TR2 sent to the US, with Gera­nium interior and Ice Blue sidescreens and hood. “When the nephew bought the TR he painted it white, used it for a few years then stored it in 1968,” said Belderink. “The car was sold in ’94 to a Bel­gian dealer, then moved to Hol­land and was again put into stor­age. It was in pretty good shape: the ther­mo­stat hous­ing was so good that it was used to make a mould for new com­po­nents.”

TR ex­pert Hans Kooy over­saw the re­build and found some in­ter­est­ing de­tails, such as the hand­made steel dash and longer stone­guards.

The doors are opened on the early TR af­ter more than 20 years in stor­age

On show at the Am­bas­sador Ho­tel in LA

The car was re­painted white in the 1960s

Interior had suf­fered, but was com­plete

The Tri­umph re­stored to its for­mer glory

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