IT WORKS...

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - CLASSIC MOTOR SHOW -

Thanks to all the work put into this TR3 by Ed­ward Fitz­patrick, this Tri­umph strikes a fan­tas­tic bal­ance be­tween driver in­volve­ment and us­abil­ity.

It starts with the steer­ing, which is one of the stand­out fea­tures. This TR3’s up­dated rack and pin­ion set-up is as light as you could hope for from an unas­sisted sys­tem. It’s far from a work­out at park­ing speeds, and once above 10mph it is ut­terly ef­fort­less.

Part of this is thanks to the large wheel which, yes, brings draw­backs in terms of in­put from lock-to-lock, but the steer­ing never feels over-light, vague or dis­plays any play. Most pleas­ingly of all, the Tri­umph’s turn-in and di­rec­tional agility is some­thing you just can’t achieve in heav­ier cars. It darts from side-to-side with ease, and plac­ing the car where you want it in a cor­ner is so sat­is­fy­ing.

One thing that can’t be changed is the TR3’s live rear axle, or at least not without swap­ping the chas­sis en­tirely. Mid-cor­ner bumps do lead to a de­gree of hop, but ev­ery­thing is pre­dictable – which couldn’t be said of the in­de­pen­dent swing-axle set-up Tri­umph would launch in the Her­ald a few years later. It’s a sporty ride for sure, at its worst over pocked sur­faces, but the car stands up rel­a­tively well to it – scut­tle shake never be­came in­tru­sive to us dur­ing our time with the car.

Putting the power down, the clutch is a tad heavy, so if there’s a fur­ther mod­i­fi­ca­tion we’d rec­om­mend for this car it would be here. This is the only part of the gearchange which isn’t on point, be­cause the gear­box it­self is easy, rea­son­ably short and de­light­fully tight.

Nick warns us that the two ver­ti­cal paths of the H-pat­tern gear­box are easy to con­fuse, mean­ing you can land in first when try­ing to go from sec­ond to third. Duly warned, we avoided crunchy mis­takes. Even re­verse gear is easy to en­gage, which can be a two-handed af­fair.

For all of this ease of use, this TR3 is nei­ther re­motely numb nor mod­ern feel­ing. The idea that sports cars have to be dif­fi­cult to drive to be en­gag­ing is a fal­sity – just look at the ‘Fro­g­eye’ Sprite. The real dif­fi­culty is achiev­ing this in a car that packs a mean­ing­ful punch.

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