Out Of The Barn! 1954 Triumph TR2

Somewhere during April or May of 1954, this early Triumph TR left the Coventry factory of the Standard Motor Company. One of only 8,636 manufactured between 1953 and 1955, the TR2 was a revelation for Triumph enthusiasts, being a huge step forward from the 2000 Roadster and capable of “the ton,” or 100 miles per hour. This somewhat crusty barn find is located in Joshua, Texas, and is listed for sale here on eBay. Bidding is starting at $3,000 and the seller has listed a buy-it-now figure of $5,500.

Without a doubt, there’s a lot of rust here. The seller uses the term “rusty gem” to describe the car and I’d say that’s a good fit. I would suggest body disassembly and acid-dipping as the best way to go about restoring this sports car, but there are definitely going to be pits that will need some high-build primer to return the sheet metal to smoothness. What looks like a TR3A or B in the background leads me to think the seller may know something about these cars, and they welcome phone calls to discuss the TR2 further.

You knew there was going to be rust underneath after looking at the exterior, right? Thankfully, reproductions of most body parts are available, including floors. These early solid-axle TR frames can have a lot of rust visible and still clean up nicely; good thick British steel, perhaps?

A couple of items of note here. Obviously, some gauges will need to be sourced. That can be done. Steering wheels can be either professionally or home restored. However, many of the TR2 interior items are unique to the early cars, and that will get expensive to refurbish. A quick look through an online catalog had me up to over $1,700 and that was for the least expensive carpet and vinyl upholstery!

The seller states they don’t know if the engine will turn over or not. Looking at it from the outside, I’d give it around a 35% chance of being free now, but a 90+% chance that it would be given some soaking of the cylinder walls. I do like that all the components seem to be in place (yes, that is a factory spigot-type heater valve near the firewall) and pretty much anything on these cars can be rebuilt by a home restorer given time, money, and care. Are you that restorer?


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Isn’t amazing what the Gulf of Mexico can do to steel? This isn’t the same seller of the $100 TR 6 is it?

    Like 1
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Nope, different state. And yes, it’s a shame!

      Like 1
      • bobhess bobhess Member

        You mean Joshua, Texas isn’t in Texas?

      • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

        No, that the TR6 was in another state…

  2. jageater Member

    That’s not just any TR2. That’s a ‘long door’, one of only a few hundred (one shipment) before the US importer informed the factory that those doors do not work in the US because our curbs are too high (cannot open the door as the bottom of the door hits the curb). Shortly after that, the rocker panels were extended to the outside of the car and the door bottom was raised to above the rocker panel (short door TRs). Not sure how many ‘long door’ TR2s were made, I’ve heard 250? This car is absolutely worth restoring!

    Like 16
    • Dave P

      4000 long doors were built in 1954. About 8600 total TR2s build before 1957. It would be interesting to know the Commission number as a high numbered car (closer to 4000) would be less valuable but easier to restore as there were hundreds of changes during the building of these cars.

      Like 2
    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member


      You are correct, this is a fairly rare car today. Your comment about the doors hitting the US curbs is 100% correct, and Standard Triumph realized the problem, quickly changing the door length and adding the outside rocker panel.

      In my research back in the late 1980s at the archives of the BMIHT, we couldn’t find exactly which commission number [chassis number] was when the change was made, but your estimate of between 200 and 250 is a safe bet.

      I had an early short door TR2 many years ago, and when we replaced the outer rockers, we found the inner rocker pieces still had remnants of painted body color [British Racing Green], and I came to the conclusion that it was likely changed to a short door before the car left the factory, simply adding the rockers and short doors during assembly.

      Like 3
    • DAVID P

      The Triumph Registry of America Judging guidelines states that the “long door” commission numbers start with TS1 and go through TS4002. I own TS2032 and it is definitely a long door car.

      Like 2
      • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

        David P,

        Thanks for clearing that up, I’m surprised the number is so high, as even in the 1970s they were hard to find.

        Like 2
  3. mike

    “thick British steel”?? Really??

    Like 4
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      Yup. British cars of the 50s and 60s used heavier gauge steel than what is used in current vehicles. Note; I didn’t say better, just thicker.

      Like 6
      • bobhess bobhess Member

        Got the state. Agree on the steel but it sure had a composition that rusted as fast as you could try to stop it.

        Like 2
  4. DA

    Not worth even it’s weight in scrap value.

    Like 2
    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Palmer Staff

      While I appreciate your opinion, doesn’t your statement contradict itself? And I’d be more than happy to pay scrap value for the car if it were close enough to transport economically.

      Like 9
  5. Steve Clinton

    TR = Totally Rusty

    Like 2
  6. Robert Pellow

    Damn! I had a 54 TR2 with the long door in 1957 and I sold it when I married and bought a 55 Dodge to replace it. Very shortsighted on my part it would seem.

    Like 2
  7. Lawrence Smith

    I would’nt give a dime for that rust bucket

    Like 1
  8. fordor

    at least one too many zeros—definite pass

  9. FGK

    Take this rust bucket to the junk yard ASAP. Fortune to restore this vehicle….

  10. V12MECH

    So a nice one , really nice, around $ 35 K !? Maybe 40. Cost to recreate this, maybe 60k and up.

    Like 2
  11. hierogk

    This would make a terrific looking riding lawn mower.

  12. David P

    Kind of in my backyard. I should go take a look at it. Bet it doesn’t have that nearly unobtanium temperature gage…

    • Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

      David P,

      It might, assuming the gauge in the lower left is still the temp gauge, and based on one of the photos it looks like the capillary [Bourdon] tube is still hooked up to the cylinder head. as you probably know, new or rebuilt ones are well over $400 with shipping from the UK.

      We used to send them out to be rebuilt [by Nisonger instruments I think] and the rebuilder was able to repair most of them. I think British Auto Salvage rebuilds them as well.

      David, I have a question related to TR cars, but not apropos to this comment string, could I ask you to drop me a line at my email; billmccoskey@aol.com?

      Like 1
  13. Mike

    There is literally a pile of rust on the bed of the flatbed tow truck (auction pic). Move it any further it might dissolve.

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