Is It A Winning Hand? A Pair Of Threes

Being partial to Triumphs (not that any of you would have guessed that by now) I jumped at the chance to write a post about these twin barn finds located near Lakeland Village, California. The seller is asking $12,000 for the pair of TR3As advertised here on craigslist. Thanks to Barn Finds reader JR for sending in what might be the winning hand of the day!

Based on the commission numbers and this nice chart from Moss Motors, TS40746 is a late 1958 car. As is typical with TR3s the front grille has taken some damage and I suspect there’s some body filler (and the need for more) in that front apron. However, I’ve certainly seen worse. TR3s in general are great little tough sports cars that were successful both in the dealerships and on race tracks. The cut-down side doors really make you feel one with the road (and you can become one with the road a little too much if you hang your arm out!). Parts, expertise, and club members to help you work on the cars are readily available for someone looking to enter the hobby. I have a friend that regularly autocrosses his TR3 still with his local chapter of the SCCA.

The patterns in the dust and dirt have me wondering how water-tight the storage is. The seller states the two roadsters have been in dry storage for more than 20 years. Don’t worry about things like the missing tail light lenses; they have been reproduced and are easy to come by.

If the metal floors are as solid as the rest of the car appears this will be a pretty straightforward restoration if you are so inclined. The hole that you see in the transmission tunnel should be filled with a rubber plug; I believe it’s there to access the grease nipple for the front of the driveshaft. We can also see from this view that there’s no overdrive switch (and no “O” at the end of the commission number) so the desirable Laycock overdrive is not fitted to this car.

The blue car is a slightly later model produced in mid-1960. This is after some of the stamping dies had to be replaced so the external hood and trunk hinges sit on slightly raised stamped features. The nose badge is also white and blue (if one exists for the other car and is original, it will be red and black). This car also exhibits some minor front end damage. It’s a good thing those grilles are available new, although I’ve heard you have to open up the openings in the reproduction grilles to ensure enough cooling air gets through. Perhaps that’s been fixed now as the grilles have been reproduced for a while. There’s an aftermarket roll bar in this car that looks like the bolt-in type that I had in my TR4A.

It really is unusual to see a TR2-TR3B without rusted rocker panels. These two cars really don’t look like they would need much to put them back on the road.

Both cars presumably have the original 1991 cc wet-liner four-cylinder engines that are known for being very tough to destroy. I’m hoping that someone finds that out soon and picks up this pair of TR3s — do you think it’s a winning hand? Tell us about your experiences with these fine British roadsters!

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  1. norm bissonnette

    Solid and complete . A great start !

  2. Mike

    The top picture looks like the two cars got into a knockdown, drag out fight complete with a black eye. I wonder who won?

  3. Michael Rogers

    Brit cars of this era require nothing special in tools and about everything is rebuildable–not replaceable! Parts are NO problem as well as DIY manuals. These cars were intended to be maintained by the owners. As I recall they were the first inexpensive sports car to be able to exceed the tonne–100MPH!

  4. John

    I can’t get used to seeing a $12K price for these two. But I know everything’s getting expensive. I bought a Speedster-a real one- from a friend for $400 and sold it back to him a year later for the same amount.
    Yeah I’m old.

  5. Armstrongpsyd Douglas Armstrong Member

    These look like fun and relatively easy projects. I just finished a 4 and a half year driveway restoration from a carcass in much worse condition, and now it’s my daily driver. It’s all original and gets nothing but positive feedback. It’s fun to drive; it’s no Tesla.

  6. Del

    100 MPH ? I doubt either of these could do 65.

    12 grand ?

    A winning hand would be if you got both for 1200.00. Seller is dreaming

    • jamie Jamie Palmer Staff

      Del, TR3s are well-capable of “the ton”. And I’ll take any TR3s you can find for $1200 each that look 1/2 as solid as these two!

    • Hank

      Really? With my over drive mine easily exceeds the century mark.

  7. Armstrongpsyd Douglas Armstrong Member

    I agree Jamie,
    Mine easily gets up to 100mph (in overdrive) on hwy 101 and feels stable doing it. 4 or 5k into each would double your investment (you can’t count time & labor working on vintage cars). These simple machines with vinyl interiors are so much fun on country roads it’ll suggest the long way home every time.

  8. John

    A friend had a TR3B with overdrive. 7 gears! What a blast!

  9. Brian M

    Did someone say Beverly Hills price guide? Maybe $1000 each if the engines are free, less if not. They are in better physical shape than my parts car we call Arby (Rust Bucket) which we use more for validating location of bits as it is an unmolested but totally neglected 1960. My 1959 model TS38055L came off the line October 21, 1958 and still has some of the leftover 58 parts like the banjo style fuel connections as opposed to the push-ons in the photo. I don’t have overdrive, so I ran out of safe RPMs at 95 and backed off, much to the relief of my passenger who was trying to remove the sit down, shut up and hold on handle! It was a night on interstate 95 with quite a few tractor-trailers towering over us. I think that was the night that my dynamo mounting bolts loosened and caused the drive belt to disengage, making us return home on a very good battery. Don’t need to do THAT again (all is double-nutted now). I have the 2138 cc drive train in my Jamaican and wonder it the swoopier closed body would enable a higher top speed? (It’s not running yet, Jamie, but we’re working on it!)

    • jamie Jamie Palmer Staff

      Brian, I’m excited to hear that you’re working on it!! I looked up your last email *yesterday* (seriously) as Jamaican thoughts were running through my mind again. I’ll cross it off my list of possibilities, then :-)

      • Brian M

        Don’t be too hasty. At 75 and having a sprite, herald and Morris Minor in the works, something in the way of thinning the herd might have to happen soon.

      • jamie Jamie Palmer Staff

        Ok…let me know :-)

  10. Al

    12K is wishful thinking. I, too love TRs, but. This price is nuts. See what the owner is smoking. I want some.

    • Del

      I agree. Seems to be a lot of Triumph supporers here who get 100 mph. They must be better than British Leland cars which were hard to get to 70 mph and if you did the crank bearung went out

      • John

        Don’t know about British Leyland, but an earlier MGB with overdrive would go 110+ MPH all night long. Ask me how I know-

  11. Armstrongpsyd Douglas Armstrong Member

    Two years ago at the Dixon British Car Show (NorCal) a red one on a trailer that started, ran and had air in the well worn tires went for 5k. Everyone was shocked it went so cheaply. It was the talk of the show.

  12. Bbob

    I wish BF would report how many of these cars do sale and how much

  13. Little_Cars Little_Cars Member

    It’s not Barn Find’s job to follow up on the sale price, unless the item gets relisted and some interested party suggests the car get re-entered to Barn Finds for all of us to see. Barn Finds is only a message board. If you want to know, bookmark the eBay, Craigslist, BAT, Hemmings, CoPart, BF Exclusive, etc listing to view at a later time.

    • Del

      And a lot that sold went back to orinal owner. If you get my drift.

  14. Mike

    Since I’m in the middle of restoring a 1970 Triumph Bonneville T120R, I’m thinking that it’ll be my last British project. I don’t have anything against British vehicles, I’m just not an electrician of any sort, and the positive ground (earth) electrical system on them has me frustrated. Luckily, I’ve found a shop not far away to sort it all out. The funny thing about this project is that someone saw me rolling the bike around outside my shop when I was doing some spring cleaning. The guy pulled in and offered me $500 for the tank emblems, the shiniest parts on the bike to this day, but definitely showing age. I had to turn him down since it’s actually my daughters bike. It just makes me wonder what he’d offer for the “new in box” Lucas tail light lense that I have in my safe. The bike is being restored as close to original as possible. I’m doing the mechanical/electrical work to the best of my abilities. My daughter, is responsible for making it “pretty” again afterward. She’s a professional paint/body girl and already has her colors in mind. As long as I can get my work done correctly, I have no doubt that this old “Trumpet” will be the envy of many. Oh and she’ll be riding the bike too.


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