Reborn Dutch TR was once an LA show star
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