Desirable Mutt: 1962 Triumph TR3B

Triumph had developed a successor to the very popular Triumph TR3, called the TR4, by 1961. With a completely new body style by Giovanni Michelotti and a larger 2.2-liter four-cylinder motor, the new car was expected to sell well. But instead, the market choked on the heavier, less sporting car and sales sputtered. Dealers complained. With a couple of thousand TR3 bodies still lying about, Triumph continued TR3 production for one more year. These cars were christened TR3Bs. The first of this series received the same 2.0-liter in-line four-cylinder motor from the TR3A, but later cars got the TR4 engine, creating a rare niche. Here on craigslist is one of those later cars, a 1962 Triumph TR3B, with an asking price of $17,450. This car is located in Oxnard, California. The seller has owned this car for twenty years; it has never been restored. The exterior cosmetics include a few individualistic touches: the red-painted wire wheels and grille, the louvered bonnet, and the race numbers. We have the prolific T.J. to thank for this tip!

The engine was just rebuilt and runs at 40 psi of oil pressure at idle and 85 psi at highway speeds. It is fitted with two H6 SU carburetors. Horsepower will be at least 105, and top speed around 110 mph. The transmission is a four-speed manual (overdrive was an option). Incidentally, the valve cover was never yellow; nor were the coil, heater valve knob, and radiator cap red, but all are in keeping with the characterful exterior. The seller says the car is driven regularly.

The interior is neat and tidy. I believe the red rocker switch on the dash is an on/off battery switch. The car has a black tonneau cover, and the seller indicates that plenty of original equipment comes with the sale: the bumpers, top bows, side screens, and windscreen.

The car sports auxiliary fog lights, Brooklands windscreens, a leather bonnet strap, and a RayDot-type mirror. I can’t tell if the car has actually been tracked, or if it’s just a racer wannabe, but the overall impression is of a well-used, well-maintained car that the owner has gently customized over the decades. This TR3B could be a ton of fun, and the price is reasonable if it’s not rusty. Could this grinning Brit find a corner in your garage?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Deowner it and you’ve got a nice car. Interesting the high oil pressure at 85 psi enough to pull power from the engine. Our BMC race engines are set for 80 psi cold and 50 psi hot at 190 degrees water temp with 20 – 50 synthetic oil. Stock engines are preset at 75 cold and 45 to 50 hot with 30 or 10W-30 oil. Any Triumph experts out there with more details?

    Like 4
    • freakinutz Member

      Bob, do you build older British engines such as 1600 Kent crossflows?

      • bobhess bobhess Member

        No, but almost got into them when we had our two Lotus Europas. When we switched from Porsche to the Bugeye Sprite race cars we had to get up to speed on the 948 and 1275 race engines. After 30 years I’m still learning. There are a couple of companies in the US that do the Kent engines but I know that from from seeing ads in magazines like Classic Motorsports.

        Like 1
  2. Will Coyle

    Had one, be very afraid….

    Like 1
    • Gerard Frederick

      I too had one, great car except the starter died so I hand cranked it, being broke. Eventually the flywheel cracked and my then-wife insisted I sell it. Should have gotten rid of her instead, as it happened via a divorce 6 months later. While I had the car, I loved it.

      Like 4
    • jwaltb

      Of what?

      • Will Coyle

        Constant electrical failures, usually overheating, sub-par fasteners shearing off in the block and/or the head, over all very primitive and unreliable. I’m am speaking from first hand contemporary 1960’s experience, and I doubt they improve with age…

  3. Scott Marquis

    TR3B was never an official marque designation. This is “christened” as one only if you grab a bottle of champagne and do it yourself.

  4. Fred Veenschoten

    Something doesn’t feel right about this one. Nice condition, won the LeMans race but selling for 17K???

    Like 2
  5. freakinutz Member

    Looks like a fun driver.

  6. Mike Phillips

    Don’t think any TR-3B’s were 1962 models. All of them were 1963’s.

  7. Big C

    Just waiting for 5.0 liter.

  8. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    I had a TR 3a and it was a great car and never gave me any problems. I had owned a 1955 Austin Healey 100/4 earlier and a 1960 AH 3000 after owning the TR and I had much more fun out of the Triumph than I had out of the Healeys’ as it was much more of a “sports car” whereas the Healeys’ were more fast road cruisers.

    Like 1
  9. Solosolo Solosolo Member

    @Will Coyle. You must have owned either a Monday or Friday car, because I never had any of the problems that you describe, with my TR 3A. I was only about 19 years old at the time and like all youngsters I hammered the heck out of it, and loved every minute of ownership.

  10. Elmer Stange

    Some 3B’s were built in “62 but sold and titled in ’63.

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