Triumph TR4 remembered
Produced from 1961 to 1965, the successor to the TR3 proved to be a very successful car
In the early 1960s if you had £1,000 or so in your pocket you could end up behind the wheel of some of the most brilliant cars ever made.
A sweeping statement? Yes, but not without foundation because the money that would be burning a hole in your pocket could have bought the much lamented Triumph TR4.
This was the successor to the TR3 and was a much more modern car. With Michelotti looks and a high degree of comfort, this was the sports car that was intended to take on the formidable MGB.
Its looks were confident and sophisticated and were definitely more in keeping with the time.
But it did not please everyone right away. The TR3 had always gone down a bundle in the USA and the sea change in looks, even though it did have a lengthened TR3 chassis, did not exactly endear it to American dealers who at first preferred the TR3.
But the world learned that sidescreens were old hat and cars like the TR4 were to reign supreme, for the time being at least because the writing was on the wall for British car market some years afterwards.
There would always be the group of sports car fanatics who kicked against such sinful luxuries as wind-up windows and face-level air vents, but the TR4 rapidly began to assert itself as a thoroughly enjoyable drive.
Costing just over £1,000 in 1962 it featured synchromesh on all forward gears, an optional hardtop and a fabulous 2,138cc four cylinder twin-carb engine with 110mph on tap.
Economy was good for the time and the type of car, being 25mpg.
It was later upgraded to the TR4A with independent rear suspension which improved its handling immensely.
The hard top was very interesting, including a fixed glass rear window with an integral rollbar and a detachable, steel centre panel (aluminium for the first 500 units).
This was the first such roof system on a production car and preceded by five years the 911 Targa which has since become a generic name for this style of top.
On the TR4 the rigid roof panel was replaceable with an easily folded and stowed vinyl insert and supporting frame called a Surrey Top.
The TR4 was still the old hairy sports car at heart but it had received a shave and a brushup for the oncoming highlycompetitive 1960s.
MOTOSPORT CLASSIC The TR4 continues to be raced in vintage car events all over the world
SUCCESS: 40,253 cars were built during production years.