Long List Of Needs: 1963 Triumph TR4

I’d call this Triumph a cutie (and I rarely use that term to describe a car!). I think it’s a combination of its color and clean condition, and the fact that many TR4s that turn up on BF, probably should have been turned out, owing to their rusty and/or dilapidated condition. While this 1963 example looks great, all is not perfect, so let’s take a closer look and see what’s going on with this seemingly clean TR4. Located in Alhambra, California, this powder blue two-seater is available, here on eBay for an opening bid of $10,000.

Offered from ’61 through ’65, about 40K TR4s were assembled with decidedly non-British sports car lines thanks to the pen of  Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti. The powder blue is not exactly in keeping with the hues that one generally associates with British sports cars. It’s a repaint and shows pretty well though there are some scrapes and small dents in places. The seller mentions “very little surface rust” and a folding top, in addition to the white tonneau cover, is included in the sale. The chrome checks out but I’d really like to get a glimpse of the front end – none provided.

I’m not sure what the Pep Boys approved crossed flag fender decal is all about unless it’s trying to signal something special lurking under the hood. Unfortunately, the 100 HP, 2.1-liter in-line four-cylinder engine isn’t up to lurking, it’s actually napping and is a non-runner. There’s a long list of items that the seller “believes would get the roadster up and running” and on that list is a reference to, among many other things, the clutch and brake pedals both going all the way to the floor. Hmmm, that’s not good. The engine certainly looks complete but we’re into “Who knows?” territory here. The engine is claimed to spin free.

The most noticeable thing inside is the lack of a floor covering and what looks like an Alpo dog food can that has been split long ways to serve as a floor patch. Note the white dashboard – that’s probably the shade that this Triumph originally wore. The images of the seats aren’t very forthcoming but from what can be spied they look OK. The dash is topped with a split pad but the switch gear and gauges show well.

OK, well the cuteness factor, for me, has worn off (quickly). This car still makes a nice presentation but it has a whole lot of attention needs and that may explain zero opening bids at the $10,000 point of entry. I’m going to put this one down in the “dependent possibilities” category; dependent on either a downward opening price adjustment or some attention to that needs list on the part of the seller, wouldn’t you agree?


  1. Nevadahalfrack Nevadahalfrack Member

    Absolutely agree, Jim-it’s decent enough for a starter project at HALF the price.
    Alpo can? Maybe Mongo’s pork and beans can…

    Like 5
  2. Euromoto Member

    These days, everyone thinks, “If it’s old, it’s gold.” As noted by the author, and by the esteemed gentleman from Nevada, this car has some charm, but the opening bid is aspirational. I’ve put it on my eBay watchlist and, when the seller comes to his (hers, zers, their) senses and drops the opening bid to $4000 (the third listing?), I’ll be ready to pounce. I live a $100 tow bill away.

    Like 10
  3. Howard A ( since 2014) Member

    I would go with the “cute” factor, mostly because, the color, the white cover, the disc wheels, all seem to point towards being a womans car. I mean no disrespect, lots of women drove British roadsters in the 60s in S. Cal. I bet, and this was one of them. Nothing fancy, okay, the coffee can repair, which, btw, coffee cans were made of stout metal,( remember that “key”, and the edge was razor sharp) and more than one exhaust had a coffee can repair, is something the boyfriend cobbled in , and yes, this one will keep you busy. I tried a Pep Boys search on Triumph parts, DON’T DO IT, stupid sites, I swear, best bet is the British ones. It will cost you, and even some of their stuff is aftermarket, but your fun car should only be “down” a week or so. Then maybe a week of fun,,,oh, oh, now what? Oh yeah, THAT’S the reality of a vintage British roadster. AAA is very important to have. I’d love to have this, but that’s okay, I had my fun with one just like this, in poor shape, but ran and drove in the 70s for,,FREE. When my brother bought the ’63 Alfa Spider, early 70’s,, the guy “threw in” the Triumph. We cleaned the Triumph up, drove it a little, and sold it for $250. Had we not got that car, I wouldn’t have known, but the TR$,,oops, ironic the “4” is the lower case $ sign,,TR4 is my favorite Triumph. No bids= no interest, and you know, we I live long enough, these might be picked up for peanuts,,again. It is a neat find.

    Like 5
    • bobhess bobhess Member

      Moss Motors has everything you need for the British cars, most of which come from the UK’s Heritage parts manufacturers. It’s good quality and this is a good car to use the parts on.

      Like 7
      • Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

        Good morning gentleman. I’d like to put in a word for The Roadster Factory for our British car part needs. I love Moss but find TRF to be a bit easier on my credit card and have a greater selection of parts. Their catalog isn’t as sweet as Moss, but it’s manageable. They’re super helpful on the phone and were integral to my TR3 resto.

        Like 3
  4. Glemon

    Strangely enough it seemed like about half the surviving TR4s in my neck of the woods were in that light blue color (Wedgewood?). The cars are sturdy, and I bet it wouldn’t take all that much to get it going, my first engine rebuild was block in place with one of these wet liner 4s in an apartment garage.

    If the inside was tatty but complete like the outside….it would still be too much money, this stuff was fun to play around with when it was cheap.

    Like 0
    • Terrry

      The floorboards say the car was powder blue from the factory. It’s nice with the white trim.

      Like 2
  5. Terrry

    I like the powder blue more than I’d like the car in white. I like TR-4s but like most here, I think the opening price is way too high. To many unknowns and what we do know isn’t good.

    Like 2
  6. M Vickery

    I’ve seen running examples recently for six grand, so about two and a half times it’s worth.

    Like 2
  7. DA

    As a non-driver with a silent engine, it is too high of an asking price. With the long list of needs, it is over double what it should be. Another vehicle that looks better from 50 feet away, and I’d be over 100 miles from this one.

    Like 2
  8. Thomas Stricker

    The can on the transmission hump covers a large round hole used to access the front U-joint. The original rubber cover may have been hard to find. The blue on floor and engine compartment suggest originality. The white dash was standard on the early TR4. The tin looks better than most and the motors are easy to rebuild being wet liner engines. Given all that, it is still overpriced.

    Like 7
  9. classicCarFan

    The original TR4s all had white painted steel dashboards whatever the body color. Powder blue is a correct factory color for TR4, so likely this car was powder blue from the start…it’s more common for powder blue cars to be repainted later in life in the ubiquitous re-sale reds or whatever. less likely that a TR4 that stared life a different color and then got changed to powder blue.

    personally – I like the powder blue color. when I restored my own TR4, as it was down to bare steel for the repaint ( so I could choose any color I wanted) I opted for powder blue. I think it’s a good color for that era of British sports cars, BMC ( Austin, Morris, MG etc) offered a similar color around that time, as did Rootes Group ( on Alpines and Tigers). The Triumph factory TR3, TR4 rally cars were all powder blue… and as a bit of classic car paint code trivia…the Gulf Racing ( GT40 and Porsche 917) livery also used the same Standard Triumph powder blue.

    Wedgewood Blue, as mentioned in another comment above, is a different, very slightly darker shade that was factory color for the TR4A that superseded the TR4.

    Like 6
  10. Keith M Howard

    It shows signs of the carpet was soaked several times. The tin can, is definitely a huge concern. The side floor pans show signs of major rust.
    Starting bid should be around $3,000.
    Personally, I would not pay more than that.

    Like 3
  11. Rodney- GSM

    TR 4ever in the shop. Pass.
    (I like these a lot, just not this one).

    Like 1
  12. luckless pedestrian

    Interesting comments here regarding the opening bid price… I’m in the northeast rust belt. Barn find ’60s vintage Triumphs found where I am generally require 5 figures of panel replacement and welding… $10K for a rust free non-runner, nut-and-bolt resto… no brainer.

    Like 1
  13. Robin May

    My original ’64 TR4, commission number 27xxx is Wedgewood blue.

    Like 0

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