Tri­umph TR4 re­mem­bered

Pro­duced from 1961 to 1965, the suc­ces­sor to the TR3 proved to be a very suc­cess­ful car

Rutherglen Reformer - - Drive Time - Ian John­son

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.

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