Frame Transplant: 1962 Triumph TR4

t2

Unlike a lot of body-on-frame Triumph TR’s we have featured, this 1962 TR4 isn’t horribly rusted. However, the frame has it’s own twist on the usual tale! It’s located in LaGrange, Kentucky and is offered for sale here on eBay with an opening bid of just $1,000. Thanks to reader Jacob C. for this great find!

t3

This rear fender is typical for the body condition of this car based on the pictures in the ad. Peeling paint that will have to be stripped back unless you prefer a very weathered appearance. I’m guessing the darker green you see in spots is the original color, but you’d have to contact the Heritage Motor Center with the original commission number (think serial number) to be sure.

t1

It appears to me that the right hand side of the car is in better cosmetic shape than the left. However, what’s under the skin may be the issue here. At some point, part of the frame and all of the drivetrain from a 1965 TR4A were substituted for the original issued parts. As far as the engine and transmission go, that’s not much of a change; they differ in detail specs only. collage2

However, the frame is completely different between the two cars, with the TR4A at the bottom offering independent rear suspension with massive aluminum semi-trailing arms and coil springs rather than the solid rear axle on leaf springs from the TR4 at the top (yes, the 4A frame was also available with a solid rear axle but this car has been converted to IRS per the listing). The seller is covering their bases by stating that the joining of the frames should be subject to a body-off-frame examination.

collage

The interior is going to need some work for sure. The seats may be savable for a driver, but the carpet is too far gone. I should note there that this is an early TR4, with the white metal dash that is prized by some collectors rather than the later wood version. The handbrake is in the correct position for the TR4 rather than 4A, so is it possible that the TR4A frame is only in the rear of the car? I’d certainly like to know why the frame was replaced; the seller claims to have owned the car since 1963, so they should know the answer!

t4

There’s some aspects of this picture that really worry me. If the plugs and carburetors have been left off of the engine for any length of time, you can bet there will be moisture in there, and based on the inspection sticker on the windshield, the car has been off the road since 1978. Neither the brake or clutch master cylinders are present, either. There’s nothing in the auction about whether the engine turns over or not, so I would suggest inquiring before bidding. On the other hand, I’m not worried about the rusty hole in the firewall shelf; this is common as that’s where the battery is located and there’s little rust prevention in that spot. This car could be a real bargain, but I’d really want to know how well the frame work was completed and whether or not the engine is free. What do you folks think?

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Comments

  1. brakeservo

    So, you think the frame has been transplanted . . . what if it’s the other way around and the body was?? How would you tell??

    • Keith Matheny

      Doesn’t matter, the tubs had to be different at the rear axel, Some one else can chime in, but, the parts are all available. you are correct that a PPI would be a must!
      Labor of love at $1k even, lol!
      Opp’s, too late. Almost 2k already.
      You can have a correct frame made for this…..

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      The front bumper is definitely TR4, as I think are the fenders and doors unless someone filled a LOT of little holes for trim. Someone that knows more than me could also tell you about the hood bulges; there are several different profiles.

  2. RoughDiamond

    I’d never consider taking a chance on something like that. Too much not known that once known could cost a lot of money.

  3. Glen

    Those two frames are very different. It appears that everything behind the engine is different. Where were the welds made? Wouldn’t it have been easier to use the entire frame from the TR4A? Forgive my ignorance, but why bother? Providing us with the photos of the frames is a great idea, atleast for me. thanks

    • St. Ramone de V8

      Good question. Where could these two very different frames have been connected? Why not use the whole thing?

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

        I can’t think of a single good reason not to use the whole frame UNLESS the other part of the second frame was damaged. But I sure would have used the whole frame given the opportunity to!

  4. Mike L

    I am very close to the location of this car if someone needs an inspection. I would love a good reason to see this close up!

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Mike, if you go, please find out where/how the frame was sectioned! I’d love to know!

  5. ClassicCarFan

    This body, interior etc are definitely TR4. The grille is TR4, the front fenders without side-lights, the dash-support, location of hand-brake and plenty of other identifiers.

    You make a very good point about the hand-brake. This mounts and pivots on a frame rail which is not present on a TR4A – so it does possibly suggest that part of the frame at least must be TR4 style. In general, I’m not sure I’d want to own any car that had a frame spliced together from TR4 front and TR4A rear – but I guess it all depends on exactly how well it has been done?

    Jamie, yes, this car does have the “short” hood bulge as fitted to the first 6,429 cars. The later, more common “long bulge” reaches all the way to the back edge of the hood. This car is probably a relatively early 1962 model.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Thanks for the expertise!!! :-)

  6. Little_Cars Alexander Member

    Don’t know what the reserve is, already reaching out of my budget. If the seller has owned the car since 1963 he has disrespected the car for many years! Hopefully they will show some mercy on the next owner by revealing EVERYTHING he knows about the frame swap.

  7. Gary

    Assuming that the car has been off the road since 1978 then I would think there would have been a lot of frames available for all the years for TR4 / TR4A at that time. So why not replace it with a correct frame from an early TR4. Something screwy going on there, I would say.

    RATCO makes new frames for the TR range. Rather pricy, but available.

  8. Ben T Spanner

    I came back from NAM in May of 1970, and bought a 1964 Cutlass 2 door post. In December the upholstery split, but I didn’t show when the seat was empty. I traded it for a 1963 TR4 in this color, which I believe was Pontiac Vedora Green. Probably the only foreign car on the ghetto used car lot. The owner remarked on how nice the interior was in the Olds. I drove the tired old TR4 every day for 2 plus years.

  9. Sergio A. Raynal

    Well, I bought the car.

    It was a very pleasant transaction. The seller was very helpful throughout the deal. The car was picked up and taken to Macy’ Garage in Tipp City, OH.

    Mark Macy (owner of Macy’s Garage) is very knowledgeable and has taken an incredible interest on restoring the TR4. He is also a very pleasant person to deal with and has a very straight through system to bill for work done, always keeping the owner up to date by means of pictures via DropBox.

    I am very glad I took my chances on the TR4.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      Congratulations, Sergio! Mark Macy has an excellent reputation in Triumphdom :-) Keep us informed!

  10. Sergio A. Raynal

    Thanks a lot Jamie, I will keep you informed!

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