Rare Bird: 1966 Triumph TR4a Dové

triumph-tr4a-dove

Here is a fun fact you might not know, the rare TR4 Dové was named for an English car dealer! Each was built to order by Thomas Harrington and Company. There were only about 50 of these Dovés built. Most are based on the TR4, but a few are based on the TR4a. The trunk lid, rear deck and rear bulkhead were removed. A single-piece fiberglass roof was mated up to the top of the windshield frame and was bolted to the rear fenders. The roof was raised in the middle to provide a bit of headroom to the back seat passengers. The gas tank was removed and little bucket seats were installed. An 18 gallon gas tank was installed across the rear of the car under the spare tire. The filler cap was relocated to the back. Bidding for this one ends Saturday and can be found here on eBay in Candia, New Hampshire. It has been bid up over $12,000 already and bidding is very active. It has been parked for 42 years and is being sold exactly as it was found. The seller is not providing any information on its mechanical state.

inside

The interior looks complete and is ready to restore. You can see here how badly the sills are rusted.

in-back

The back seats look to either be folded down or missing, but you can see the enclosure for the gas tank and the spare tire in the very back this way.

engine

Things look complete and unmolested under the hood. Perhaps the engine is not stuck. The seller hasn’t attempted to start it, but being a standard TR4 engine it shouldn’t be difficult to get running and if it is beyond repair replacements are readily available.

under

One could hope the rust is only on the surface, but there could be serious rust damage lurking out of sight.

right-front

In terms of practicality and summer time driving, it seems like a regular TR4 would be more fun to own. The Dové is worth a bit more because of it’s rarity and collectability though. The extra seats are too small to be useful, except maybe for children. It also seems having the gas tank so far back would adversely affect handling. There are so few of these there’s no easy way to judge how much it might be worth. It could be a challenging restoration, but do you think you’d end up under water? It will be interesting to see what you guys think of this rare Triumph.

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Comments

  1. Pete

    I like this Triumph. I don’t like Lucas wiring 😁

    • brakeservo

      Lucas made the electrical components, They were connected to each other by wiring done by Triumph! But speaking of electrical stuff, if you’ve ever fooled around with Fiats etc you know why it was Magneti Marelli that gave Lucas a good name!

  2. Rick II

    It never ceases to amaze me what is going to turn up next on this site. I have admired this model since the first time I became aware that they existed. I have my hands full at the present time with restorations or like so many other visitors to this site, I would make a run at purchasing this beauty. What a nice opportunity to own a unique addition to British motoring history. I am sure it will go to a good home.

  3. Yellowjax Member

    A well designed body style looks good from every angle. This TR has a 9 out of 10.

  4. Bobsmyuncle

    TRs do nothing for me but I really like this version.

  5. Howard A Member

    I vaguely remember this car. Pretty cool. Like a MGB-GT only a Triumph. I’d love to have a TR4, especially this model. Apparently all Doves came with O/D. TR4’s prices, are jumping fast.( and to think I sold a tired TR4 in the late 70’s for $250 bucks, and it ran) The text says these were as expensive as a new E-type, so few were sold.
    I’d like to hear from Sarah. Have you ever seen this car?

  6. bcavileer

    Very rare, very cool. Have not seen one since 1974 at a dealership in NJ. Wish I had bought it then. Hope it gets restored correctly.

  7. Bruce Best

    I can not tell if this has the independent rear suspension but if it does that is a big plus. As for the wiring, junk it, recycle it and get a new loom from Moss motors and you will solve many problems with this model.

    I had a1967 TR-4A IRS but a concrete bridge side wall and a very large full size Buick from the early 70’s narrowed the car by almost a foot. Be aware that the knock off ears will eat thru sheet metal as if it is not there. My car was totaled but my wheels totaled her car in the process.

  8. Jim

    That big gnarly nut on the bottom of the transmission means it has the overdrive equipped. So that’s a plus.

    Definitely a rare breed. I doubt you’d ever be able to get a full-sized adult in the back.

  9. scottymac

    Same Harrington company that did the Tiger?

    http://www.rmsothebys.com/az15/arizona/lots/1965-sunbeam-tiger-mk-i-coupe-by-harrington/1072247

    Love those Cosmic wheels!

  10. Dutch 1960

    50 of these may have been built, but I would guess that there are fewer left hand drive examples around than the fingers on one hand.

  11. Bill McCoskey

    I ran the restoration & service division of one of the largest TR & MG companies back in the late 1970s. Part of our facility was devoted to used parts, and we actively purchased any TR or MG, for either resale or stripped for salable parts. We bought a very rough [wrecked in the side] TR4 coupe about that time. Little was known about Harrington coupes, and we ended up parting the car out.

    About 10 years later, remembering the DoveGTR4 emblem on the back of the car, I was now spending lot of time in England, basing out of Andover, Hants. The local Ford dealer was Dove Ford. Curious if there was a connection, I dropped in one afternoon to ask. I was put in touch with Mr. L.F. Dove, Jr. [I discovered then the family name was pronounced “Dovay”.] I made arrangements to meet him in a London Suburb.

    Mr. Dove’s father knew someone at Harringtons, a bus manufacturer looking for smaller jobs to help them with cash flow between bus orders. They were making a similar hardtop version of the Sunbeam Alpine, and Mr. Dove Sr. was looking for additional vehicles to sell in his London Sales facility. Already selling Rootes Group cars including the Sunbeam Alpine, they compared the size and body specs of the new TR4 to the Alpine. They realize the Harrington hatchback coupe roof could be installed on the TR4 with little change.

    The big challenge was selling them, as he said the DoveGTR4 ended up costing about as much as a Jaguar E-type coupe. He also mentioned that in the UK, the cars were badged as a Dove GTR4, and did not have Triumph emblems. However the USA Triumph importer required they have the Triumph emblems. He thought only about a half dozen were sent to America, bought thru Dove dealerships, not Harrington.

    I’m attaching a photo of the DoveGTR4 emblem from the back panel below the hatch.

    Like 1
  12. Bill McCoskey

    A few more things that I just remembered:

    1. I was told the back seat squabs were standard at first, then to keep base costs down, they were made optional on the TR4A

    2. The hatch was actually an access [emergency?] hatch on Harrington Grenadier buses! Perhaps that’s why it was 100% flat on a car that didn’t have flat panels.

    3. DoveGTR4 cars were at first equipped as standard equipment with overdrive, radio, & wire wheels, Later these were made optional.

    Like 1
  13. garrie hisco

    I have owned two of these cars and still hold information about them Contact me if you have one

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