AJ’s Car of the Day: 1962 Triumph TR4

AJ’s Car of the Day: 1962 Triumph TR4

Car: Triumph TR4 ( Car shown at Dragone Classic Motorcars )

Year: 1962

What makes it special: The TR4 is a sports car produced by the Triumph Motor Company from 1961 to 1965. Code named “Zest” during development, it was the successor to the TR3A. The car was based on the chassis and drivetrain of the previous TR sports cars, but with a modern body designed by Michelotti. The TR4 proved to be very successful. The TR4 was originally fitted with 15×4.5″ disc wheels. Optional 48-lace wire wheels could be ordered painted the same color as the car’s bodywork, matte silver with chrome spinners, or in matte or polished chrome finishes.

What made it famous: The new TR4 body style did away with the cutaway door design of the previous TRs to allow for roll-up windows in place of less convenient side-curtains. The angular rear allowed a trunk with considerable capacity for a sports car. Advanced features included the use of adjustable fascia ventilation, and the option of a unique hard top that consisted of a fixed glass rear window called a backlight with an integral rollbar and a detachable, steel centre panel, aluminium for the first 500 units. This was the first such roof system on a production car and preceded by five years the Porsche 911/912 Targa, which has since become a generic name for this style of top. The TR4 engine was continued from the earlier TR2/3 models, but the displacement was increased from 1991cc to 2138 cc in the TR4 by increasing bore size. Gradual improvements in the manifolds and cylinder head allowed for some improvements culminating in the TR4A model. Some cars were fitted with vane-type superchargers, as the three main bearing engine was prone to crankshaft failure if revved beyond 6,500 rpm; superchargers allowed a TR4 to produce much more horsepower and torque at relatively modest revolutions. The standard engine produced 105 bhp SAE but, supercharged and otherwise performance-tuned, a 2.2-litre I4 version could produce in excess of 200 bhp at the flywheel. 

Why I would want one: I’ve recently become intrigued with the British Sports Car scene, and the Triumph TR4 is an iconic model with handsome styling.

Fun fact: The TR4 had a number of racing successes in America, primarily through the efforts of the Californian engineer Kas Kastner and his top driver, Bob Tullius. In 1961 the TR4 won first in class and thirtieth overall at Sebring. That car was driven by George Waltman and Nick Cone. 

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