Southern Hospitality: 1960 Triumph TR3A

This almost seems too good to be true: a low-mileage, rust-free 1960 Triumph TR3A listed with no reserve in sunny Florida. Why does Florida matter? No salt-infested winter roads to attack the vulnerable British sheet metal! So as long as the car was inland and away from humidity this one should be a keeper. So many of these cars have sunk softly into the ground, resulting in rotten floorboards and jagged sills. Find it here on eBay with the current bid fast approaching $10,000.

Similar to today’s Miata, the TR3A was considered a poor man’s sports car. Fitted with front disc brakes and capable of breaking 100 m.p.h., it became a favorite on the track and autocross circuits across the U.S. Although its four-cylinder motor only mustered 95 b.h.p., the car’s low weight of 2,200 pounds provided it with a decent horsepower to weight ratio. While Triumph produced 58,309 TR3As between 1957 and 1962, it is believed that only about 9,500 survive today – making this two-owner car all the more special.

It may have been purchased at a local garage sale, but we don’t see much about this car that puts it in the same category of used-up sporting equipment and baby furniture. The condition of the body alone would be worth bidding on, as it is said be straight and true, with no evidence of crash damage or bondo despite being over 40 years old. It has been repainted previously, explaining the shiny luster of its red finish. Paired with a black interior, functioning tonneau cover and new side skirts and wind deflectors, the future owner is just a scarf and a pair of driving gloves away from classic open-top motoring.

The second generation of the TR3 featured a few subtle updates, including a wider front grill, exterior door handles, lockable boot handle and full tool kit as standard equipment. Amazingly, this example retains its original jack and tools as well as the spare tire and wheel. We assume these reside in the trunk, which is said to have a solid floor and comes with additional spare parts and service items. The inclusion of the owner’s manual with hand-written notes going back to its original owner prove that this TR3A has been cherished and lovingly preserved.

With only 57,034 miles, one of Britain’s most reliable sports cars should have plenty of life left in its low-slung body. The seller states the engine is the matching-numbers unit, showing good oil pressure, and no alarming noises. Though we wish there were more details on its maintenance history, the car does come with a new convertible top and frame, and the brakes, transmission, and tires are said to be in good order. Although the seller recommends that the new owner flush the tank and carbs before using the TR3A daily, there doesn’t seem like much else to do than get in and drive.

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Comments

  1. David

    every British car I ever owned or heard, the engine had “alarming” noises……

  2. Steve

    There is no escaping the humidity in Florida, being inland means nothing! If you are in Florida its humid!

  3. Bruce McCoy

    Hi all

  4. Dolphin Member

    These are on the slightly crude and undainty side of British sportscars, and that’s meant in a good way. They are small but well built, with a strong 2 litre engine that was developed from a Ferguson tractor engine. Not the sort of thing you would think would end up in a sportscar. You can even see an access hole for a starting crank at the bottom centre of the grille.

    Being a 2 litre ex-tractor engine, these are not the smoothest running engines, but they make good power. I remember chasing a friend in his TR3 with me in my 1500cc MGA back a long while ago when these cars were close to new. It was no contest—he walked away from me. Car magazine ads for the TR3 made a big thing of the TR3’s acceleration: zero to 50 mph in under 8 seconds. That was a big deal back when these were new, even tho just about any of today’s 2 litre econoboxes could do better.

    One thing that you need to be OK with if you are going to run a TR3 is the low-cut doors. There’s a feeling—and reality—of exposure that you don’t get in other cars, unless you run a Lotus Seven, which is even more exposed. You do not want to get T-boned in either car.

    I think there was a sense of disappointment when the TR4 came out. It was more or less the same car as the TR3 underneath, but some fans of TRs seemed to feel that the TR4 body had lost something special that the TR2 and TR3 had.

    This one looks really good for the money providing it’s truly rust-free and the bidding doesn’t go thru the roof. A bit of work going through the systems and this could be a special car to own for not much money.

  5. Greg

    Had a MGA1600 MKII. Great little car!

  6. Brooklands

    I love my 1962 TR3B. It is fun to drive in nice weather.

  7. Dan

    My dream car when I graduated from high school, but my Ford mechanic father said NO. My Tr-3 became a wreck of a 57 Ford convertible.

  8. Doug M. Member

    TR-3! Awesome! When I was in college, my roommate had a red one just like this back in the 70’s. I raced him once with my 67 Sunbeam Alpine. He actaully burnt rubber in the first 2 gears! He won off the line, but I took the top end. …..I later found a solid 59 TR3 back in 1986 in a garage sale -partially disassembled. I was able to buy it and trade to a friend who had a 62 MGA that I wanted really badly. He loved it…fixed it up, and is still enjoying it to this date!! Very nice and easy car to maintain.

  9. Ron

    My first car was a 56 small mouth that came with a crank handle. The first production car with disc brakes. It was a blast. Great fun in high school and I learned some basic car maintaince. It got me started on sports cars. My next car was a Lotus Elan, that was a huge difference but I’ll always have a warm spot for TRs of any number designation.

  10. Nick I

    I had a ’60 TR3 in Florida,it was black with a white top.The spare tire went in a compartment under the truck.

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