Plenty Of Interest: 1960 Triumph TR3

It seems that there are plenty of people who can see the potential that is locked away in this 1960 Triumph TR3 because at the time of writing, there are 154 people who are watching its listing here on eBay. The next owner is going to be faced with some decisions. The car is missing a number of important parts, and it also has some rust issues. This leaves it as a blank canvas that could be restored, built into a custom, or it could serve as a parts car. If this is one that you would be willing to take on, then you will find the Triumph located in Warren, Ohio, where bidding has now reached $1,075 in a No Reserve auction.

Finished in Sunset Red, the TR3 does have some rust visible in the floors. It isn’t too extensive, and the frame has been spared from any problems. The body itself looks quite reasonable, although there are trim pieces that are either damaged or that are missing completely. The front bumper is one of the missing items, and while some people might contend that the Triumph looks better without it, a replacement would need to be sourced if originality is the name of the game. A quick search of the internet allowed me to locate a brand new bumper with over-riders for a very reasonable $499, so parts are in plentiful supply.

As far as the interior of the Triumph is concerned, the next owner will be essentially starting from square 1. The car is fitted with an aftermarket roll-bar, but I would be checking to see how well that is mounted before deciding whether it stays or goes. Otherwise, the majority of the dash is present, and that really is about it. Unfortunately, the interior is where things could start to become quite expensive on a restoration. Every item that is missing can be sourced, but it is going to cost money. A carpet set can run anywhere from $480 to $750, depending on whether nylon or wool is the fiber of choice. The cockpit capping can run out at around $330, seat frames are around $380 each, while covers and padding can hit another $1,000 or more if you want to treat the TR3 to real leather. Not a cheap undertaking, I will admit. However, it’s worth remembering that once it is done, it should last a life-time if cared for properly.

What should be occupying this rather empty engine bay would be a 1,991cc 4-cylinder engine, backed by a 4-speed manual transmission. Both the engine and transmission are missing, but the owner does have an engine and transmission that could be purchased separately. Another alternative could be to source a TR4’s 2,138cc engine and transmission to install instead. This is a move that would not be unprecedented, as Triumph themselves did this with the final production runs of the TR3 (sometimes referred to as the “TR3B”). This upgrade provides a useful increase in horsepower and would allow top speed to jump from 105 to 110mph.

So, those are just some of the potential options that would be available to the next owner of this 1960 Triumph TR3. To my mind, the body and frame are simply too good to see the car used as parts. There is no doubt in the world that restoring the car is not going to be a cheap proposition, but a competent individual should be able to tackle the vast majority of the work successfully in a home workshop. If this can be done, and labor costs are then kept to a minimum, then it could well be worth the effort. While it is possible today to locate a driving example in need of restoration work for around $12,000, a really spotless example is going to cost closer to twice that sum. If pristine is your aim, then it is actually possible to double that figure again! The fact that this one can never be a numbers-matching car means that its value will probably never reach those stratospheric heights, but if the restoration work is completed to a decent standard, then a figure in the low to mid $20,000 range is certainly a possibility. That would seem to make this a worthwhile restoration project.


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  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Compliments to the seller. Car is clean enough to really see what’s there to buy. Bought right this could be another save of automotive history without breaking into your retirement fund.

    Like 3
  2. Armstrongpsyd Douglas Armstrong Member

    I just spent four and a half years restoring a 59 TR3 that was in horrible shape when I started. Parts are definitely available, both used and new. These are not complicated cars, and a person like myself with minimal mechanical aptitude can put one together in your driveway. The only trouble with mine is I have to have a conversation about it every time I get in or out of it. Whoever buys this one will likely have as great of time in the process of restoration as they will eventually driving it.

    Like 4
  3. Hugh Crawford

    Hmm, I have a tr3 that has all the bits that this is missing but with cheap body by bondo repairs dating back to the 60s.

    Does this have a title?

    Like 1
  4. hugh crawford

    Oh, just noticed that the seller also has a smallmouth tr3 for sale relatively complete with wire wheels for $800 more.

    Like 1
  5. Brian M Member

    As to the using a TR4 engine, the front plate on the 4 is different from the 3 and will cause the engine to sit higher in front, causing the front carb to contact the bonnet. The 3B used the same block and front plate with the larger cylinder liners to achieve the larger displacement. An early issue of The Vintage Triumph newsletter from the VTR, back in 1974 or 1975, addresses this issue for the engine swap. I have that issue around here somewhere as I have been a member since 1975 and still own, and drive, my 59 that I bought in 1973. The missing gauges can be a serious expense to source.

    Like 3
  6. Britcarguy

    When the eventual buyer picks up the car, he should schedule in a stop at Team Triumph also in Warren, OH and pick up a lot, if not all of the missing parts.

    Like 1
  7. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    Great buy. Ended:Oct 12, 2019 , 6:45AM
    Winning bid:US $2,605.00
    [ 33 bids ]

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