Lots Of Patina: 1959 Triumph TR3A

Generally, finding a collector car in La Habra, California is a good thing, as it’s a bit sunnier and drier there than in most places (apologies to our readers that are in drought conditions right now, it’s good for cars, not people!). This 1959 Triumph TR3A looks like it has survived the years in pretty solid condition, and it’s available for purchase here on craigslist. The seller is asking $14,500, which may seem like a lot unless you’ve helped someone fit reproduction side screen TR sheet metal like I have. Suffice it to say it’s worth a lot to get a solid-bodied early TR!

The car also features what I believe to be a factory hardtop, which certainly changes the rigidity of the car for the better. I wonder, though, how many folks are going to use it now as part of the fun of a “play” car like this is leaving the top down whenever it’s driven? Nonetheless, it adds value to the car and you could always sell it (they are pretty rare). The seller mentions the “p-word” regarding the yellow paint; personally, I’m lukewarm about it because a) I doubt that it’s original (the seller makes no claim that it is) and b) there’s too much of it missing. However, it doesn’t look like it’s going to cause any problems any time soon, so as long as you don’t plan on leaving the car out in the elements you’re probably fine to leave it for a while.

Thankfully, sourcing a front bumper and irons to attach it with won’t be difficult. It’s hard to tell without looking in person, but the vulnerable front shroud (apron) of the car doesn’t look too bad.

Yes, that’s all the rear bumpers a TR3 has. Triumph never distinguished between the TR3, TR3A, or TR3B by badging; the nomenclatures were adopted by enthusiasts. The overspray on the bumperette brackets tells me that at least the rear of the car has been repainted.

Assuming this is the original engine, this will be a 1991 cc wet-liner four-cylinder unit, known for its toughness and torque. The trail of corrosion from the hydraulic reservoir and cylinders will be familiar to any TR owner; the DOT 4 fluid does a number on paint, and it inevitably leaks or is spilled. Since a fully-restored TR3A now goes for $25-$30,000 or more, what do you think about the value of this patina-filled one?


  1. Euromoto Member

    We saw this one last month.

    Like 2
  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Pretty hefty price, even with cut rate Moss parts. Neat cars though and I’d bet a restoration shop will jump on this one with a little haggling with he seller.

    Like 5
  3. Big C

    With TR prices going through the roof, and Spitfires following along. This car seems reasonably priced.

    Like 3
  4. Armstrongpsyd Armstrongpsyd Member

    Another nice write up Jamie. The CL add doesn’t mention overdrive, which makes a large difference in drivability on modern highways. These hard tops are extremely loud and make getting in and out difficult, if not painful. I did a five year complete restoration of a 58 a couple of years ago using mostly OEM parts and a Roadster Factory carpet kit. The paint job was merely good, not excellent, but the mechanical was perfect. I drove it carefree for a year and then sold it to a fellow who now races it on the European vintage circuit. I say all of this to say that it sold for 19K with only the one offer. As wonderful as these cars are, 25-30K are the asking prices of dealers, not what they actually go for. This car would require a lot of work to be a pleasant daily driver, and we’ve not seen the interior. I think the asking price is about 4-5K high, but I’m just one guy with my own experience. What say the experts here on BF? I am always edified by the comments here.

    Like 2
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Thank you for the kind comment! I agree with you on pricing, too.

    • Big-Byrd

      Spot on for pricing IMHO which is why I’ve not driven the 15 miles to see this car. Maybe he’s sofented some as it’s been for sale for a month or three now.

  5. Garry

    I saw twelve TR3As driving across the Liverpool Plains area of New South Wales last week! Beautiful sight!

    Like 1

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