One Owner, Lots Of Parts! 1963 Triumph TR4

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

More often than not, when I’ve purchased a car I’ve tried to reconstruct whatever history I can find out about the car. Not to worry with this car, as it’s being sold by a dealer who purchased the car from the original owner! It’s listed for sale here on eBay and is located in Chicago, Illinois. Ironically, I will be flying to Chicago Monday. Hmmmm….unfortunately I will be getting there after the auction has closed. The buy it now figure is $6,900, but lower offers are being considered. Just look at all the parts that the owner had accumulated to restore it with!

We’re told this is the original paint, and I believe that to be correct. It doesn’t mean that it can be saved, because there’s enough rust in the body shell that you may even want to replace some of the panels. Luckily, they are all available, although the reproduction rear fenders don’t fit that well, and good used ones can be difficult to find. You can even get a new bumper if you choose not to go with the “rallye” look.

You’ll definitely want to replace the sills. Thankfully, they come with the car. What’s not so bad about this (I’ve done it on two cars) is that the car has four bolt on fenders and is old-fashioned body on frame construction. We’ll get to the frame later.

On this side, you can see that the sill has been damaged in addition to the rust. The damage has also affected the rear fender. I went rear fender hunting and only found new ones. And they aren’t cheap. That being said, the car comes with some rust free ones!

Here’s the good news. This frame looks great! It’s looks pretty straight and I don’t see any rust through. That exhaust system is a fairly recent Monza system, and it will be pretty loud. Howard, as you can see from here it’s not an overdrive, unfortunately.

Among TR4 enthusiasts, these early “white dash” cars are prized. I really can’t tell from here whether or not the floors are intact or not, but I’m willing to believe the seller who says they are solid.

Under the hood, we have the ubiquitous red gas can to get the car running–but it runs!. You’ll find the commission number (think serial number) under here as well, which by the chart on this page tells us it was produced in early 1963. Of course, the car will need a full hydraulic replacement (cylinders and hoses) and I’d check the lines closely (all are readily available and inexpensive). I really think this could be a great project for a home restorer, and you couldn’t pick a much easier car to start with. Are you sold on this TR4?

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  1. Ben T. Spanner

    I worked on many of these in the late 1960’s and through the 1970’s. i bought a beautiful 1965 0r 1966 in 1973 or so. This was in Central Ohio, and the frame already needed welding. This example was driven in Chicago for decades. The frames not only rusted, but became brittle and cracked at the suspnsion mounts.
    I would want to carefully examine the frame.

    That being said, its a viable project, if you can weld, and paint. If you have to pay someone to do it; no.

  2. Eddie

    Rust,Rust,Rust That’s All I Can See And Say,!

  3. Nick

    I think the white dash is significant, in that the frames were built of thicker and/or better steel during those years. I had a 63 and a 67 Tr4A. The A frame was much more susceptible to rot.

  4. Black Cat

    My first sports car ride was in a BRG TR4, so I’m predisposed to like this. As a California kid, though, I normally choose to start with cars that have little corrosion because they’re still out there.

    This one does, indeed, look original. If I were taking her on — and I’m not as I have a Spit, Jag and Rover all needing me — I’d start the way I did with my rusty XK-120: remove everything from the body, and have the entire body dunked by a “Redi-Strip” type operation. You can then begin knowing exactly what she needs, and save yourself eons that would otherwise be wasted in grinding, sanding and sweat. Not that physically stripping a shell isn’t satisfying, but after my first one, I was reminded of my old scuba instructor’ mantra: “dive with your brain, not your back.”

  5. Britcarguy

    It looks like a really doable project. I had a 65 that was in about the same condition and was able to bring it back to show very well. The bonnet and grille fit looks like it had not been crunched which is a good thing. Team Triumph may even have some used front fenders.


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