25 Years in a Warehouse: 1963 Triumph TR4

This 1963 Triumph TR4 roadster has spent the last 25 years squatting in a warehouse, and despite wearing old-school Ohio tags, is surprisingly rust-free. If rust really isn’t an issue, there are some excellent bones to work with here in the form of a largely complete roadster that comes with all the hallmarks of being a barn find but could likely be driven with the cosmetics left alone. Wire wheels and fender mirrors are always in style, and you’ll find this warehouse-find TR4 here on eBay with bids just over $1,800 and the reserve unmet.

There are some great clues as to the TR4’s ability to emerge from long-term storage relatively unscathed. The original spare wheel and tire still sitting in the trunk; bumpers that haven’t been bashed in from being shoved back and forth; an old-school bumper sticker that looks plenty fresh; tail light lenses that aren’t smashed; the list goes on. The TR4 would give up plenty of ugly secrets inside the trunk area if rust and water intrusion were an issue, which is simply doesn’t appear to have been.

The interior is tired like many convertibles, and it would seem the car was stored with the top down. The bucket seats, while looking fairly solid, are likely pretty brittle. And the dash pad is certainly perished and in need of replacement, but spares abound for these cars. The windshield isn’t cracked and the door panels, from this angle at least, are re-usable. No word on the health of the manual gearbox or the convertible top and frame, but I’m sure the latter needs replacing. Hard to tell here, but carpeting looks non-existent.

The TR4 features dual carbs but no word on whether the engine is still turning freely. While dusty, it appears complete, and the inner fenders reveal matching green paint inside, perhaps suggesting this is an original color. Now, the big question is what this car looks like underneath, as that’s where plenty of secrets pertaining to rust will be hidden, but what’s revealed here looks like an excellent platform for a mechanical refurb and very light cosmetic refresh – hopefully purchased at a reasonable price.

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  1. RayT Member

    To me, this looks like it spent some time — maybe not 25 years, though — stored in a river. A muddy one. I suspect the bidders feel the same way, at least as of now.

    Dried mud on the bonnet, in the engine bay, boot and interior tell me Step One is a total disassembly to see where the rust is. Wouldn’t even try to spin the engine, but would pull it down immediately. Same for everything else.

    If it stays around $2K, it’s worth taking a chance. I would. But a car that looks as if it has been underwater is likely to put its next owner underwater, too.

    • jerry

      another way at looking at this is what kind of wear house was it stored in? I helped drag a 65 gto ragtop out of a wear house that stored bagged cement, they bagged the stuff in there! it was there for 15 years! why the father stored it there as his son was beating the crap out of it, so he put it there and forgot about it! a 40,000 mile 389 tri power 4 gear , irish mist,color, I was filthy! we got the same story, Oh what swamp did you drag that out of?? there was no rust anywhere on it! cleaned up like new! lot of work! my friend who bought it hired 4 high school girls to go at it to clean it up on their summer break! they did a great job!

      • Little_Cars Little_Cars

        Had to chuckle at your bagged cement story…I parked my last MG in a open shelter when a neighbor had a load of crusher run delivered to their driveway on a windy day. The the spreading of said gravel occurred when I was at work. The next time I went out to drive my car, there was a pretty thick film of gray dust over every exterior surface. I had to be careful to wash the car but not use any cloth for fear of grinding that powder into my newly-painted panels.

  2. TimM

    I would go another route!! Fresh gas, new battery, go through the rest of the mechanicals and try to start it and see if it runs good!! A good cleaning might surprise you and give it a good driver quality car!!

  3. Andrew Franks

    I’m wondering if TimM isn’t right. A good cleaning and attention to the mechanicals and driving it if you are in the right climate before getting into top frames and weather equipment. I can’t remember if these cars had roll up windows or not.

    • Donn

      They did. TR3s and before had side curtains. Had a couple of 3s, a 4, a 4a and a ’76 TR6. Classic British roadsters.

  4. Little_Cars Little_Cars

    C’mon, Jeff! “The TR4 would give up plenty of ugly secrets inside the trunk area if rust and water intrusion were an issue, which is simply doesn’t appear to have been.” Lookie….The gas tank has a nice coating of rust from the top down which to me means flood car…no other explanation for that pattern of corrosion. Also, the aforementioned caked on mud everywhere. It’s dry now, but sometime in the past it was not so dry.

  5. kuzspike

    Saw one of these on the side of the road a week or so ago. Its amazing how small they are compared to whats on the road today. Whomever gets this one has a lot of work to do, hope its worth it for them.

  6. Karl Sisson

    I sold one like this a couple of years ago. It was a 4A IRS though. It needed floors and sills and some bodywork to a rear fender. It had the Stromberg carbs. I was able to get it going with a remote fuel pump and gas container. Took compression readings and they were right up to where they should be. Only reasonable offer I got was $2500 so I took it. Being an IRS car the rear diff support issues needed to be dealt with.

  7. DonS

    Seller cleaned it up and posted more photos. TimM has was the first to see through the dirt. Looks like it’ll be a nice car sooner than later…

  8. Skippy

    With that much crud all over this car, it is safe to assume it will need to have every bushing and seal replaced. Fortunately, these cars are incredibly easy to work on, but parts from the big parts houses are inflated. I’ll be very curious to see what this sells for.

  9. john c

    Finished at $5,500 a bit after noon… a bit of wax, and she’ll hit the back roads.

  10. JMB#7

    I had one back in 1985. No rust to speak of. No rust at all underneath. They are self rust proofing. That stupid oil slinger on the crankshaft applies oil over the bottom of the car as you rack up more miles. Seriously, if it blows oil, hone the cylinders and put new rings in it. Very easy to work on.

    • Boostman

      Thanks for the advice. I bought this car and am anxious to inspect in person. Also would far rather keep the car intact and get it running as opposed to a bit and bolt restoration. Like others on this site I suspect water/flood damage but accept the risk.


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