Go Topless! 1965 Triumph TR4


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Sometimes you can look at a car and tell it’s been loved. This 1965 Triumph TR4 certainly looks like it, and while the seller hasn’t owned it for long, the previous owner had the car since 1967 in sunny Santa Barbara, California. The car has now been moved to Lakewood, California and is up for auction here on eBay, where bidding has not yet met the reserve.


Since this car doesn’t have many of them, I’m going to lead with the worst problem. Yes, there’s some rust on the lower part of the driver’s side front fender, a well known problem with these TR’s that is caused by the drainage from the cowl being ducted to the fender, but little provision made to get the water out from there. The good news is that quality patch panels have just been offered on the market for this area, or you can actually get a complete new fender, although I understand the fit of those isn’t all that good.


I can tell you from experience that it’s rare to crawl under a TR and have it look this nice. The simple ladder chassis with leaf springs in the rear and coils in the front isn’t that much different from an early TR2 chassis. It also looks like this one has the “factory rust proofing” oil leaks in place too.


Getting back to the outside of the car, we see shiny paint. The car was repainted in the original color sometime in the mid 1970’s, and the paint apart from that one spot on the lower left fender seems to be holding up well.


The paint issues on the hydraulic side of the engine compartment are common; they are usually caused by brake/clutch fluid spills or leakage over the years. Apart from the air horns on the far side, this looks very original under here. The battery box may be a preventative measure from a previous owner or it may be hiding rust; I’d ask the seller for a picture under there before bidding, or just plan on welding in some new metal. The 2138cc four-cylinder is ready to go, starting “at the turn of a key.”


The transmission is also said to be in great condition. Unfortunately, this car doesn’t have the great optional overdrive that gives the car longer legs for touring in today’s traffic. You can find them used, or even install a (sacrilege!) Toyota 5-speed transmission with a kit. I’d probably live with the seats for a while waiting for a kit to go on sale, but I think the car deserves new carpets. They do a lot for keeping the noise down as well. If you noticed the broken crash pads on both sides under the dash, don’t worry, they are easily replaced and reproductions are as good or better than new originals.


I really like some of the photos in this auction as well, this one in particular. It makes me want to climb in and go for a ride. This shot actually inspired me to go for a top down drive in one of our Spitfires this afternoon, despite it being just on the wrong side of 50 degrees F! I can’t wait for more convertible driving this summer–why not buy this car and join me!

Auctions Ending Soon


  1. Jano

    Hot damn, my dream car… I’d love to live with it.

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  2. Gary

    Nice find. It will be interesting to see where the bidding will go on this. It’s around $6,000 right now which is about right, in my opinion. As you mentioned, all the items needed to make this a really nice car are available. But they are pricey. I would estimate, off the top of my head that it will run $5,000 – $10,000 to make this car into a nice $13,000 or so car. The $5,000 – $10,000 range depends on how much a person can do themselves. This is the kind of car I’ve been looking for if it stays at $6,000 but it hasn’t met reserve yet so It will probably go up. I would also want to check those rockers over carefully for putty before I laid out some cash.


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  3. Doug Towsley

    Ironic this is posted, I am considering selling my 1966 TR4A. You should note this is NOT a IRS car, a regular stick axle car (less value) but overall this is in nice shape. A 2008 article in hemmings noted the quickly rising value and estimated on average these cars appreciate at 6.2% per year. Current Old car price guides and NADA vintage car price guides show prices are up. Hard to find a decent runner under $10k but it happens. Project cars are selling between $2k to $6k. Parts availibility is excellent however some parts are not cheap. Common upgrades are over drives, and more commonly better brakes, replace the lever shocks with modern shocks, and modern Wheels and tires. There are performance parts for the engines and chassis stiffening kits. good value is the modern upgraded alloy radiators, high torque starters and modern Alternator conversion kits. I spent the last week looking at past auctions, for sale ads, and listings. Runners hard to find under $10k, Nice ones vary between $23k to $35k and a few in the $40k range and top price paid was $54,000 last year. Theres a current feebay listing for a local race car with history 64 TR4 that belonged to Ernie McCoy well known west coast racer. (34 years local SCCA) and he had 3 Triumph race cars over the years this one was his main car. Currently located in Oregon on FeeBay (Dont know the seller) and at $2550 and reserve not met. But it has a title and could be a road car again. See:

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