Parked Since 1974: 1965 Triumph TR4A

Although the seller describes this as a 1964, it’s clearly a Triumph TR4A not a TR4, which makes it a 1965-1967 model. The last time it was licensed was in 1974, and while there appears to be some damage due to storage, the car actually looks pretty solid. It’s located in Palmetto, Florida despite the Texas license plate and is up for sale here on eBay. Bidding is under $50 at the moment, but it hasn’t met the reserve–and how reasonable that reserve is will be the key.

I owned a 1966 TR4A when I got my driver’s license for the first time, and the Michelotti design will always have a soft spot in my heart. The 4A was a transition model between the TR4, with it’s essentially TR3 frame, and the TR6 where a highly modified version of the body was installed on the TR4A chassis and a six cylinder engine for the first time in a TR. The 4A still has the wet liner four cylinder directly traceable back to the TR2, but it had an entirely new chassis with, believe it or not, optional independent rear suspension. As you can see, this one has the option per the “IRS” on the rear panel. There are small amounts of rust visible on the rear edge of the trunk lid but that’s not too hard to repair (BTDT).

Since this interior looks very original, that mileage claim of 48,000 miles may be real. The good thing is that quality reproduction interior components are readily available from a number of suppliers. Even floor stampings are available, although I doubt you’ll have to go that far unless it was left outside in the rain without a top.

I’m thinking my bet on that issue is no, because even though you’ll probably want to refinish or replace the wooden dashboard, usually it would be in much worse shape if the car’s interior was open to the elements. And sun exposure usually would have the dash pad in tatters; again, you’ll probably want to replace it and it’s easy to get, but what’s there doesn’t look too bad.

I remember the 2138cc engine as being remarkably torquey, but not too thrilled about revving highly. While I’m looking, those original “helmet-type” battery cables also lead me to believe the low miles are actual; those are replaced more often than not unless we’re talking about concours quality restorations. I hope this car has a reasonable reserve and that the new owner decides to put it back on the road! Could it be you?

 

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Comments

  1. Mike Cobb

    My love of old cars has gotten me addicted to your site, which I turn to almost daily. Which often makes me very sad to see the terrible neglect so many great old cars have suffered. How can people let these cars turn into weather-beaten rust buckets or worse. I am inspired by the latest TR entry to send some photos
    of my TR6. I am the original owner, and only driver. I love the car and have maintained it accordingly over the years. Originally my daily driver, it is now my weekend, top down fun to drive car. It is, I submit, testament to what on-going care and refreshment can do to preserve a car for future generations to enjoy.
    It is not for sale, nor will it be … it will stay in the family two sides of which will happily maintain it as it has been.
    While a greatly enjoy your site, I am no fan of ‘patina’ … perhaps these photos will inspire a few of your readers that a ‘driver’ can also be reasonably close to showroom fresh.
    Thank you for your site.

  2. Doug Towsley

    Ill be watching it, I have a 1966 TR4A and while I held onto it for the last 25 years I sadly need to downsize. I had hoped to prep it for sale last fall but hopefully very soon. I am planning to give BF a first shot at selling/listing.
    Some notes-opinions.
    #1) Super easy cars to work on and MOST parts are easily avail, Great network of enthusiasts and clubs, Not hard to restore and selected upgrades. Very manageable for even newbies.
    #2) Theres a few upgrades you want to do. The Original Lever shocks are not the greatest. Theres kits to convert to regular tube shocks, Worthwhile In my opinion,
    Also brakes can benefit from an upgrade but if you go stock, its well worth to have the master and slaves upgraded to stainless internals. Be honest,, these thing sit a lot so DOT5 and Stainless is a good move.
    #3) My FIL LOVES these SU type carbs, Can make any car smooth as a cats whisker and run really nice. Plenty of good advice out there on how to do it. Myself,, I favor the Webers or some of the other carb options (Dont tell my FIL)
    We have an extensive collection of Weber stuff we might sell if you want to go that way. Downdrafts are easy, Side drafts are complicated
    #4) Rear ends can be a little weak, well worth fully rebuilding and checking things over, the IRS is a good unit, but doesnt take a lot of abuse or racing without attention. You DONT want to break them, its unpleasant.
    #5) Starter motors are currently Un-Ob-tain-ium to my knowledge,, if you find one buy it quick,, otherwise overhaul is your only option.
    Have fun with it, cool cars. Wish I could finish mine but too many projects

    • Nick

      Don’t forget an aftermarket transmission cover.

      1
  3. Bruce Best

    I totally agree with you Doug. I will add that an overdrive is great addition to the car. I have mixed feelings about the webbers, they can get you slightly more power but I am not certain the hassle is worth the effort. As for the rear end prop shafts and the rest is critical. The IRS version is a much better ride and make the car feel much more modern.

    If you restore the car take the entire thing down to bare metal and go from there. The paint that came on these cars was good for the day but new paints are soooooo much better.

    As for the starter I would suggest you have it rebuilt as you restore the car just to be safe. There were newer high torque starters available from England in the past but I do not know how easy they are to get these days.

    For occasional use back and forth to work, the store or a weekend trip this is one of the cars that is hard to beat. I suggest to whoever purchases try a trip in a cool to cold day with the Tonneau cover in place and the heater on full blast. There is enough heat and it will flow right over you so the only part of your body that will get cold is the rear tips of your ears. Do that on the right road and it can be one of the most refreshing experiences you can have in a car.

    I am in the middle of restoring a Lotus Europa S2 so I do not have either the time or money to take this on but if I did it would be gone.

  4. Doug Towsley

    +1 Bruce, Yes, there IS an overdrive avail for these and nice if the car came with it, but they are expensive to source. I found a guy who rebuilds and sells them.
    As I said, They are easy to restore. I have worked on many and very manageable. A frame off is the way to go and use modern paints.
    On mine I have a Nissan 2400cc L and Nap Z hybrid motor with a 5 speed. They nearly drop right in. Cheap and easy. My plan was to rebuild the stock motor and drivetrain and keep them to go back stock eventually. (hence my concern about the rear IRS). Great little cars.

  5. Car Guy

    I carpooled with a buddy of mine to high school. He had a BRG TR4 A like this one. The motor had decent torque but did not like to rev too high. Not sure that all the gears were synchronized. I remember him downshifting, and waiting for the gear lever to snick into the lower gear. You could hear the gear whine, but I thought it was pretty cool. I also remember that wire spoked steering wheel was not too rigid….

    When it was my turn, I drove my Dad’s ex 69 SS 396 El Camino. That was cool in a completely different way……….

  6. Andrew S. Mace

    One might argue that the IRS wasn’t an option; rather, the “live” axle was. 😉 Supposedly US dealers were fearful of the extra cost of the IRS and successfully lobbied for a live-axle version, despite the fact that the new chassis was designed specifically for IRS and then had to be fitted somewhat differently to take the live axle.

  7. Paul

    Great car, had one in my youth, currently have a Tr3 and Tr8, the best in my opinion is a TR5/ TR 250. Very easy to work on and get mechanical parts. If it was closer to me in Ontario, I would buy

    • doug6423

      LOVE those wire wheels with the red paint. Nice car!

  8. Howard A Member

    Yeah, it’s gone. Someone must have gotten a heck of a deal. I’m sure it wasn’t 99 cents either. Still, remember when I said my brother bought an ”63 Alfa ( for $500 bucks, I think, not much more) in the 70’s and the guy threw in a tired TR4,( that looked exactly like this) that we got running and sold for $250? It very well could have been a 4A.

  9. Polarisky
  10. Doug Towsley

    The seller corrected some of the Info,, Its a 1967, he also filled in some of the blanks on the cars history, So Its still a viable auction, Its at $5k and change at the moment.

  11. MSG Bob

    If the engine is the same as used in the TR2, I think that makes it the tractor engine Triumph built under license from Ferguson. Torquey indeed (it was intended to pull a four-bottom plow), but also didn’t enjoy high revs (as noted above).

    • Andrew S. Mace

      Well…no. The engine was developed right after WWII by the Standard Motor Company (who had bought Triumph) and actually used first in the postwar Standard Vanguard, then shortly thereafter in the Ferguson tractors that Standard assembled. AFAIK, Ferguson used a variety of “proprietary” petrol and diesel engines in their tractors around the world; they had no engine of their own.

      And no, that engine doesn’t rev like a modern engine might; not many engines did back then. It should be noted, though, that the Vanguard engine saw significant development to bring it from 68hp as installed in the Vanguard to the 90hp in the first TR2s and ultimately to as much as 105hp (stock) in the last of the TR4As.

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