Live Auctions

This 1963 Triumph TR3 Barn Find is Better Than Average

Now here’s an excellent opportunity for British roadster fans. This 1963 Triumph TR3 is in a no-reserve eBay auction, with bidding currently at $6,600 but sure to go higher. Why? It’s in better than average condition, documented in excellent photographs. Even the interior is pretty good, though the driver’s seat needs reupholstering. Nothing major appears to be missing. Undercarriage photos would have been useful—it’s a UK car, after all.

We can see enough to know this car, which has been sitting for years, would be an easy restoration. The paint has “scratches, blemishes, rust, dings, and dents,” but looks surprisingly intact and shiny—undoubtedly a repaint.

The owner doesn’t offer much information. The car has a clean title, was in one family ownership (presumably in Florida) for 40 years, and comes with its original top frame, tonneau cover, spare tire, and side curtains. A book with maintenance tips, too.

The engine is covered in surface rust but looks like it would clean up nicely. It turns over by hand. “The car rolled and steered easily when pushed,” the owner says. The side curtains show up in the pictures, but an actual top to go with the frame does not.

This TR3 must have been loved and taken care of before it went into storage. The TR3 was the successor to the small-mouthed TR2, a modest success with more than 8,000 built (many of them exported to the U.S.) The TR3, improved in almost every way, including the visuals, made its debut at the London Motor Show in 1955. The engine was slightly tweaked with new carbs to yield 95 instead of 90 horsepower. By 1963, the TR3 came with Girling’s front disc brakes.

Options included overdrive (the same unit in contemporary Volvos, via Laycock de Normanville), a hardtop (missing here), a heater (yes, that was an extra in chilly, rainy Britain), and wire wheels to replace the steelies. This car has the wires, though they’re shod with some very dubious tires.

The TR2 is a rare sight, but the TR3 was exported in huge numbers—we got 90 percent of production. The TCF on this car’s chassis plate reveals that this is in the first series of TR3Bs, and basically identical to the TR3A (but built by Forward Radiator Company, a subsidiary of Leyland/Triumph). The second B-series, the TSF, had the TR4’s larger brakes, a fully synchronized gearbox, and a tougher 2.1-liter engine producing 100 horsepower. Only 3,334 Bs were built. My count for all TR3As: 58,236.

Dig the ’58 Impala that is this car’s garage mate. You could have a lot of fun with the Triumph if the “no reserve” price doesn’t go too high. I see nicely restored examples of this car going for $20,000 to $40,000. You could presumably be into this one for a lot less. Get it started, slap some new tires on it, source a top, and go open-air cruising. Don’t expect much from the heater, if so equipped. The paradox is the car will gladly overheat on you—but the warmth stays on the other side of the firewall.


  1. bobhess bobhess Member

    Sold for 8.5K. Hope the new owner can handle the quickie taped off paint job and the rust. Frame looked like it could be saved but I’ll take bets on what’s under the new paint.

    Like 6
    • banjo

      8.5K is pretty good for a presentable TR3. Especially a TR3B! I agree that is a low-buck paint job with little attention to detail that looks wonderful in pictures. I have to wonder as well about the amount of filler lurking beneath. Even with rotten out bodies, the straight ladder frames on TR2-3s were pretty solid. They tended to hold up well unlike the bell shaped IRS frame of the TR4-6s. those rotted out terrible at the rear suspension connection points.
      I think someone still got a decent deal here.

      Like 1
  2. Jonathan Manning

    Anybody know the previous owner? It looks like a friend of mine’s who recently deceased. O.P., K.S. Wondered where his collections were going.

  3. Steve

    And why is the bonnet twisted

    Like 5
    • Mcl23aren

      The hood was left open to take photos. Its sitting on the latch, and the latch being on one side is the reason it looks crooked.

      • JoeBob396

        Mcl23aren, you are probably right, but if all it would have taken is an extra push to present a better picture, I wonder why the seller wouldn’t do that.

  4. Andrew S. Mace Member

    You have it backwards! TSF was the first series of 3B cars, and TCF the latter series (with the 2138cc engine)!

  5. Kenn

    My thoughts exactly Steve, yet no mention was made of it at all. Seems strange.

    Like 1
  6. Tinkertoy

    Forget the TR-3. I want the 58 Impala 😎😎😎

  7. Steve

    Same guy who sold the green MG TD the other day

  8. Rick

    Wide grille = TR3A. I have had three of these cars, and I wish that I had kept one of them.

  9. ErnieSC

    In SC, You can get that quality Paint Job for $300.00 from Macco. But I had rather have it Without the “Fresh Paint” and do it at least to an acceptable level for about $1500.00 – or see it for what it might really be and decide if I need/want a 6K to 12K Paint Job. Hope No One bought it Sight Unseen. They could end up with a $30K Barn Find!

  10. gaspumpchas

    Resale red, overspray under the bonnet. Rusty engine. Like you guys said, its whats under the paint that matters, plus the underbelly. Price is ok. Good luck and stay safe. Lucas electrical system= king of darkness.

    Like 1
    • Francisco

      Did the Dark Prince become a King? Three position light switch: Off, Dim, Flicker.

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