Stored Since 1980: 1961 Triumph TR3A

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This 1961 Triumph TR3A was put away in a garage in 1980 after having been driven since 1967 by the same owner. Due to the need for family garage space, it’s now being sold. It’s located in Delanson, New York and is up for sale here on eBay where bidding is currently just over $3,000 with no reserve. Thanks to Jim S. for this great find!

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The seller says that they just have too many projects and aren’t going to get to this one. There’s a Miata in the shed in the background of some of the pictures; I like Miata’s, but I wouldn’t choose one over a TR3A I had history with. Speaking of history, I’d love to know the history of what they towed with that hitch sticking out of the back of the car!

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I don’t think the hardtop is a factory one, but I’m not 100% sure of that. The seller says it’s complete apart from the front bumper blade and that the trim that isn’t on the car is included. I’ve seen much more rust on TR3’s, so that’s a good sign.

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The bottom springs for the front seats are in the trunk. I don’t think any of the upholstery is salvageable, but it’s easy to come by even on this side of the Atlantic. Unfortunately, the car doesn’t include the desirable overdrive option.

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The seller says they kept the engine free for 30 years by using the hand crank, but that it’s now locked up. I think this one might be worth saving if it doesn’t go too much higher. I’d get it running and safe first, and then take my time on the cosmetics. I’ve learned over the years that my enthusiasm for a project car stays higher when I can still drive it–it reminds me of the things I want to do to it! What tips do you have for us to keep your enthusiasm up when you have a long term project? And do you want to make this your project?

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Comments

  1. randy

    I totally agree on a project that can be driven. When they sit too long it’s easy to procrastinate. I try to never leave anything disassembled more than a day or two at the most. This is a good looking car, but out of my small realm of expertise.

  2. Jim

    Since most new cars don’t come with spares anymore, you could keep this one in your trunk

    • randy

      Use it as a “handicapped buggy” in Wal-Mart.

  3. Mark S Member

    A friend of mine, a very talented restorer of things as large as steam locomotive trains. A guy that is picky down to the last bolt and will not roll a project out until completely done. He told me that if you just do at least one thing every week and check it off a list you can stay motivated. That included days where he was on line doing research. Or parts hunting. I have taken his advice and have in my case assigned myself at least one work day a week to work on my car in the evening. That’s how I see a project being seen through. He has taken about ten years to restore an Essex suicide two door coupe. Back from the dead. And it was rough. Myself I’m entering my sixth year on my fifty one hard top the last time it was out side was the day the deck truck put it in my garage. A good day to all of you.

    • randy

      Thanks for the tip, goal oriented is what I call it, set an achievable goal, and hit the goal in time.

      • Mark S Member

        Your welcome Randy, now if I could just figure out how to get photos out of my iPad and onto a comment I’d show you my car.

  4. Dolphin Member

    Bid over $3K with almost 5 days to go. Looks like the seller is going to have a sale after all those years of ownership, but this looks to me like a deal to stay away from.

    It’s the usual story on a car that’s not rare and needs everything: hold out for a better one, pay more now but be driving sooner and for less time/effort/money in the end.

  5. randy

    My daughter has to help me. I put them on the desk top of my PC.

  6. randy

    My front pasture:
    There’s an old car out there in the woods somewhere, I know it.

  7. brakeservo

    Did anyone else notice the Miata in the barn? Maybe in another 20 years it too will be a ‘barnfind!’

  8. Peter R

    Dolphin has the right idea I’ve seen really nice ones for $15-18K. This was the second car I ever owned and I still want another almost 55 years later. I bought it with almost 100K already on it and drove it another 100k before selling it. My only repairs were tires, brakes and a clutch and the usual electrical gremlins. The engine had good compression and I never touched the rear end nor the tranny. Many wonderful memories.

  9. stan

    it sounds cheep until you start to restore it unless you can do all the work your self, the cost to restore that car will exceed its value it would be a lot cheaper to buy one restored and enjoy it . most people that buy cars in this condition never get them finished they just become a money pit then get sold with lots of new parts or end up sitting in some workshop for years then get scrapped.

  10. Marty Member

    Not knowing the first thing about Triumphs of this vintage, but always digging the body style, I have to ask: how rare was the light powder blue on one of these? It seems a huge proportion of these cars were either bright red or dark green.

    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      @Marty — not very rare. It’s called Wedgewood Blue I think, and I actually own a Spitfire that was originally painted that color. You’re right; a lot of cars being restored now are either painted red or green. Apart from the TRA or VTR Concours competitions, not a whole lot of Triumph folks have issues with color changes–we’re more interested in folks enjoying their cars!

  11. Rex Rice

    I had a ’56 years ago that I drove on my honeymoon. Fun car but also pretty common at that time as it was cheaper than most sport cars and it had good power. At the track, they were prone to rollovers. The engine was bullet proof; not so the electrics & tranny as I was always replacing something. This looks like too much work & $ for what was a started sport car.

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