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1961 Triumph TR3A Garage Find


This 1961 Triumph TR3A has been in this garage since 2006 and was still running and driving when it was parked. Now that it has set, it isn’t running and will need to be gone over. The sale includes a lot of extra parts, but with a starting bid of $10k, it should. Take a look at it here on eBay.


The seller doesn’t state whether this is the original motor or not, just that it isn’t currently running. The previous owner collected a number of parts for it, including another engine and transmission. It’s hard to tell what it’s going to take to get this one on the road again, but hopefully the extra motor won’t be needed.


You don’t often come across TR3 hardtops, but this one looks to be in rough shape. It is going to need to be completely refinished and finding the rear window could be a challenge. Overall, this TR3A looks solid and should make for a good starting point. If getting it running doesn’t involve a complete rebuild, the starting bid might not be too far off target. What do you think?


  1. scottski

    Unless your feet go through the floorboards… nobody makes cars like these, anymore.
    Or that sounds like this.

  2. Dolphin Member

    One of the better TR3s to come along lately, and with luck—and a good PPI—a car that someone could be enjoying this summer. Has spare engine & transmission that look tired, but the one in the car looks clean and might do the job fine.

    Good for the seller for going the extra distance to get good photos, one of which you don’t see often—up under the dash showing the firewall. The floors look good and the underside looks like it might be fine. The main concern is the large paint chip off under the driver’s door that needs to be investigated. The interior needs redoing, and the crude paint job won’t win any show prizes, but it will look fine as you drive by on a warm summer evening. The glass hard top needs attention, but that can be done later.

    With a non-reserve auction I’m guessing that it will sell, even with a starting bid that’s a tad high. Good luck to both seller & new owner.

  3. scot

    ~ whoa… what do you do about a rear window for the hard top? the car is quite complete and includes an engine, head, and transmission. still seems a bit rich on the starting bid.
    +1, add to watch list.

    • Dolphin Member

      Pretty much all of these vintage HTs had Plexiglas back lights, because it’s much easier to work into curved shapes than real glass (heat + a form with the right shape). This HT looks like it might be from Lenham. I just checked my Lenham catalog, bit it starts at the TR4, and I don’t have an earlier one. But Lenham is still in business in the UK and could probably help. I’ll bet there’s a source somewhere for a back light for this HT.

      • Matthew Tritt

        Sorry to come back on such an old posting, but that top was made by my father’s company, Glasspar. Glasspar was the first company to design and produce fiberglass tops and they were made for Porsche, MG, Triumph and several other marks. The window can be replaced by cutting the part from a pattern and heating it to the point of “relaxing” in a hot box. The tricky part is making the form for the plastic to relax into. I used to make lots of them! The box had sequential heating elements controlled by timers. If you let it go too long the plexiglass would be ruined.

  4. jim

    nice find, and if you want or need the hardtop a great find. but seller states does not have title but listed title as being clear!

  5. Sunbeamdon

    With the apparent sagging of the frame (see door gap difference) I’d be inclined to stay away from this one at $10k, maybe more like well-bot at say $6,000(??). These are notorious flexible flyers!

    • paul

      Yes I was looking at the same thing Sunbeamdon very poor gaps & very uneven gaps door to fender gaps wider at some point & narrower at other points plus the gaps to the rocker panels are non existent. Looks like a lot of auto body plastic all over, could be hiding rust or what ever, the floors & chassis ” look” good, am with you on the “6 figure maybe” .

      • paul

        also want to mention the glass roofs of that era often broke at the latches & the roofs became unrepairable.

  6. twwokc

    One of my all time favorites. Not sure about the $$$ though. Might look like a real deal in a few years.

  7. rancho bella

    My take is…..good bones. The passenger side door is a little down, the drivers side door is a little up. Me thinks, it is a door alignment issue as there ain’t much holding them on anyway.
    On the other hand……….I’m wrong quite a bit.

  8. braktrcr

    Yes a Tad high, which I believe is a lot more than just a Skosh : )

  9. Sunbeamdon

    As a follow-up – a TR2 story worth perpetuating: my first experience in a Canadian rally car was as a navigator in a TR2. My driver had a night vision problem and when we hit driving snow on the Hope-Princeton leg I thought we were doomed! BWTM to this TR story – my driver was always complaining that a switch on the left side of the dash must have had a “short” because every time he turned it on the engine lost RPM. We didn’t let him in on the secret for some time! Who all out there wants to know the secret???

    • R Van Hoose

      Overdrive switch!

    • Dolphin Member

      Anyone who does the Hope-Princeton highway, in driving snow, in a TR3 has way more guts than I have. Congrats on surviving that, Sunbeamdon. I hope you had a tight hardtop on the car.

      For those who don’t know this highway, it’s in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada, mostly 2 lanes, and mostly 18 to 34 wheelers the last time I was through there bringing back a car that I bought, literally, on a BC mountain top.

      This gives a feeling for what it’s like….without the driving snow:

  10. Sunbeamdon

    Ah heck – you spoiled the suspense (not)!

    • R Van Hoose

      I guess I did, sorry ;-)
      I retrofitted the all-synchro TR-4 gearbox with overdrive into one of my TR-3s when in college, it sure made it a more friendly driver. Fun car and I do miss it. I also remember when the starter died and I didn’t have the money to repair it, so I used the crank to start the engine for weeks. It got a lot of attention and amusement but my question always was, “What would you do if your battery were low or your starter died?” THAT shut ’em up!

  11. Sunbeamdon

    Hi Dolphin – TR2 – no hard top, just a typical floppy soft-top and the usual side curtains – at least the heater worked. Where they really the “good-old-days”? My twin bother turns 73 today – I’m holding at 39 (one of these is a lie —)

    • paul

      Yeah I’ve been stuck at 27 for a hell of along time Except when I am driving sports cars like this then I’m 18.

  12. Stuart

    FWIW I bought this car, not on ebay, and below asking price.

    Its pretty solid and was back on the road with nothing more than a complete fuel system cleaning and rebuilding the carbs. Mechanically the car is in great shape. and while the engine in it is not the original, the spare engine that the seller had was (Confirmed by the heritage certificate I ordered), as well as the hardtop being (Most likely) the original one as well, as the car was ordered with one.

    The body has has extensive questionable body work done, and that is the cause of the off body gaps, and lots of bondo. I’m working on sorting that stuff out now, but underneath all the bondo is some good sheet metal. The top also is in the process of restoration. There were a couple of rust holes, but for the most part it is in good shape, especially with the rarity of original metal tops.

    • Richard V

      Good job, Stewart – I think the car went to the right place!

  13. sunbeamdon

    Good follow-up info; best of luck in getting the 3 sorted out

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