No Reserve: 1960 Triumph TR3

There’s something quite endearing about classic British sports cars. They don’t possess the outright performance of a muscle car, but slipping behind the wheel of one provides one of the most engaging driving sensations that it is possible to experience. This 1960 Triumph TR3 is such a car, and it is in excellent mechanical health. The buyer will undoubtedly choose to restore it, but with none of its few rust problems being significant, the work could be performed as time and circumstances allow. The owner is relocating, which means that he is being forced to part with a classic that he appears to love. Located in Sheridan, Illinois, you will find the Triumph listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding has reached $7,101 in a No Reserve auction.

When the owner spotted the Signal Red TR3, it had been parked in a shed since the 1980s. He addressed its mechanical maladies and then took a long, hard look at the body and frame. It is typical to find these little British classics with rust problems, and this car is no exception. However, none of the rust will demand immediate attention, and fixing it appears to be a straightforward proposition. There are a couple of spots in the lower front fenders that have been patched in the past, and there are some repairs required to the front floor on the driver’s side and in one rocker. Overall, the Triumph is structurally sound, and the owner is happy to supply underside photos to interested potential buyers. The impression that I get from the listing is that anyone with reasonable welding skills could whip the car into shape without spending a fortune. The TR3 comes with a white soft-top and cover, along with matching side curtains. There is a black tonneau that appears to be in good condition, plus a white one that the buyer could retain as a spare. The external trim is fit to be restored, and there are no issues with the glass. The vehicle rolls on a set of steel wheels, but the owner includes a set of nice 48-spoke wire wheels, along with the adaptors and knock-off caps for anyone who feels that these would look better.

Powering the TR3 is a 1,991cc 4-cylinder engine that should be producing 100hp. Those rampant British ponies should find their way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed manual transmission. That power figure mightn’t sound particularly impressive, but it’s worth remembering that the Triumph’s little four is shifting a classic that weighs 2,090lbs. That means that performance figures are better than you might expect. The TR3 should be capable of accelerating from 0-60mph in around 11 seconds, while the journey down the ¼ mile would take approximately 18 seconds. Once again, neither figure sounds startling by today’s standards, but when you are traveling with your body mere inches off the road, it feels a lot faster. When the seller found this tiny Triumph, he discovered that its owner parked it due to clutch issues. What was initially thought to be a clutch failure proved to be faulty master and slave cylinders. The seller chose to replace all of these components and then went through the process of returning it to a roadworthy state. He achieved this by replacing the brake master cylinder, brake hoses, wheel cylinders, and front brake pads. He slotted in a new distributor and other ignition components and treated the carburetors to a rebuild. He completed the process by fitting new tires. The results appear to have been worth the effort because the Triumph runs and drives extremely well, and the little four shows healthy oil pressure. Adding to the temptation with this classic is the collection of parts that the owner includes in the sale. He doesn’t elaborate on what they all are, but it sounds like there could be quite a few pieces for the buyer to squirrel away for a rainy day.

If the buyer is seeking a classic that they can treat as a tidy driver, they will probably look at this interior and leave it largely untouched. There are no rips or tears in the upholstery, while the carpet and dash appear respectable. However, the foam on the driver’s seat has begun to sag. If the buyer replaced the foam and restretched the existing covers, it would still present nicely. The finish has worn away from the dash trim around the ignition switch, but the buyer could probably restore this without the need to source a replacement. The “banjo” steering wheel wears a wrap, and it isn’t clear how things look below that. Provided it has not cracked severely, this item can definitely be restored in a home workshop. I am in two minds about the stickers on the glove compartment. The purist in me would want to remove them, but the historian in me says that they should stay as part of this car’s story. I would probably leave them untouched as they could continue to tell a story long after you and I are nothing but distant memories.

If someone is looking at this 1960 Triumph TR3 and are considering it as a potential long-term investment, the chances are that they will be disappointed. Values on these little classics have remained stable for years, which means that while they are unlikely to make money for their owners, they shouldn’t lose any either if the owner doesn’t go overboard with any restoration work. It is possible to find some respectable cars for around $20,000, but spotless examples will easily top $30,000. This one isn’t spotless, but provided that the buyer is willing and able to complete most of the restoration work themselves, there is no reason why they couldn’t return it to its former glory while maintaining its financial viability. That is one good reason why people should take a closer look at this little TR3. The other is that they are great fun to drive, and that can never be a bad thing.


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  1. Ralph

    When I was 3 my Uncle showed up (on leave from Marines) at 7 am in one of these on a Sat. morning. He had just bought it a couple days ago. Woke my folks up, said Uncle was here. They didn’t believe me. Uncle says let’s go for a ride. I remember thinking it was the coolest car ever created. Couldn’t believe how low to the ground it was. I thought my Uncle had brought it to me as a new toy. Was really pissed when he left that afternoon in it, didn’t see him again til he showed up with a brand new 64 GTO, and a year later a new 912 PORSCHE.
    A different time, a different world…
    This looks very nice, best to the seller.

    Like 5
    • Dave Peterson

      My story is very similar. My cousin had made his first fortune and wanted a sports car. Dad found him a spotless ’61. My Grand mother wanted to visit her three California daughters so 11 yr old me, Dad and Grandma headed to the City. Comfort was hard to find, so my Dad did what he called “hellin'”. There is a very long straight stretch going into Klamath that the speedometer said three digit speed. It was “too good of a car” for Robert as he sold it for a large profit not long after. Yet to my impressionable brain, that trip was sensory overload. This is a most honestly presented car.

      Like 2
  2. 370zpp

    Don’t change a thing.

    Like 1
  3. Al

    Those “stickers” are generally metal dash plaques given at events from SCCA. This car looks like a screaming deal. It will go lots higher when TR fans see it.

  4. Brian M Member

    Just for info, there is no foam in a TR3 seat, other than possibly a thin sheet bonded to the back of vinyl These are leather and have a, originally, horsehair like padding over a coil spring structure. The coils rust and collapse, giving you what you see in the photo. New assemblies ARE available from several sources. Rimmer wants around $100 per seat for the spring case and $150 for the hairmat material for two seats and backs. Until someone wants to move this from driver to show car, just toss an additional cushion on the seat and enjoy the drive!

  5. Ken Maxfield

    Well written, Adam from Aussie Ken :-)

    “There’s something quite endearing about classic British sports cars. They don’t possess the outright performance of a muscle car, but slipping behind the wheel of one provides one of the most engaging driving sensations that it is possible to experience.”

    Like 1
  6. Jim Mac

    I bought mine in 1967 at Win Sports and Imports, Bridgeport CT (now out of business) a ’59. Went for an evening drive last night. Still a kick!

    Like 2
  7. Lee

    This is a car for knuckler draggers. No, not a former president. I mean you can literally drag your knuckles on the pavement if you want. Name another car that you can do that.

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