Frame-Off Restoration:

1958 Triumph TR3A
Roadster with Overdrive!

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Built between 1955 and 1962, the Triumph TR3 is as pure a traditional British Roadster as they come.



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Featuring an open cockpit with cut-away doors that enable you to touch the road with your hands, front disc brakes, and a powerful-for-the-time 2-liter engine boosting 100 horsepower -- good for a 105mph top speed -- the TR3 was more powerful than even the most potent contemporary production Porsche.
Let. That. Sink. In.

Consequently, and aided by excellent parts availability, the TR3 enjoyed a long and very successful career in auto racing. Today, over half a century later, it's a favorite sports car for vintage motorsport events all around the world.

The 1958 Triumph TR3A "wide mouth" Roadster presented here has been a California car from new. It never had any serious rust, and enjoyed a frame off, nut-and-bolt restoration from 2003 until 2005.

VIN *TS34165L* is a 1958 model built in 1958. Since it was first sold in 1959, it was titled as a 1959 model.

In 2003, the then 45 year-old car was completely disassembled. Thanks to the mild California climate, even the original floor pans were absolutely rust free, and all the structural wood was found to be in excellent condition as well.

Body and frame were media blasted, and all mechanical components were rebuilt.

Special attention was paid to make sure that all body gaps and shut lines were perfect, to a standard far above what was available from the factory.

About everything that can be rebuild was rebuilt, including the wiper motor and the instrument panel.

At today's labor rates, this would be a $60K restoration, not counting the acquisition of the car.

On its first concours on July 24, 2005, the car won "First in Class" at the Channel Islands Harbor British Car Show.

Motorvation comes from Triumph's 1991cc (121.5 cubic inch) inline four, fed by a couple of SU carburetors. The engine is mounted to a 4-speed manual transmission, here complimented by the optional, highly desirable, electric overdrive.

The engine and carburetors were fully rebuilt. Although the rebuilt dates back 15 years, the car has seen only been used sparingly, namely car shows and the occasional Sunday drive. The engine runs perfectly and the transmission shifts smoothy through all gears. The electric overdrive works as it should.

The battery box is flawless.

Clean like a whistle, even underneath.

As part of the restoration, the body was stripped to the bare metal, dings were removed, and afterward only a very small amount of body filler had to be applied. All gaps and shut lines are to show standard. There's no sagging and no binding anywhere.

All chromed spoke wheels with dog-eared center caps are in splendid condition throughout. The steel belted radials in the size 165-15 are like new.

The TR3's tan canvas top looks unused. The frame itself has been media blasted and refurbished to show standard. A nice addition is the tonneau cover with center zipper. Convertible top cover (shown elsewhere in the photos) is also unused. Furthermore included are the original frames for the side curtains. Since the owner had no intention to ever expose this car to cold or unpleasant weather, he did not have them refurbished.

The car's body spent 6 months at the body shop before it was painted. Today, 16 years later, the finish is still shiny like a Steinway piano, breathtakingly beautiful, but there are some isolated cracks in the paint itself, too insigificant to show up in any of the photos, but in the spirit of full disclosure, I like to mention them.
All of the chrome and brightwork is in show condition.

Perfectly straight body lines. A stellar paint job is expensive, but it's essential for a show car.

What's most appealing about the TR3 is the fact how open it is. We cannot think of any other Roadster that offers more wind-in-the-hair, bugs-in-the-teeth driving experience except, perhaps the Austin-Healey BN1 with its fold-down windscreen.

The interior has been completely refurbished with correct materials and while we can't claim the new car smell, it surely still displays the new car look. Imagine yourself at the Triumph dealer's showroom in 1958 and slipping into a brand new TR3 for the first time. Yes, it's like that!

The dashboard itself is covered in correct Hadura. The knob on the top center opens the ventilation flap in front of the windscreen.

From left to right: overdrive switch, main gauges, accessory gauges.

New-in-2005 genuine leather seat covers and Wilton wool carpeting.

No damage, no tears, no scruff marks anywhere, not even on the driver's seat, which isn't even fully broken in yet.

The TR3's front and rear license plates "BRG TR3" are included in the sale. The car had not been driven since 2017, when we found it parked in a private garage in Thousand Oaks. The DMV status is "non-op" and there are no back fees due if the car gets registered in the Golden State again.

Trunk full of goodies, all of which are included.

Near perfect trunk mat with horsehair padding.

Perfect trunk floor.


This being a frame-off, nut and bolt restoration, the undercarriage is as clean as the upper side. There's not even dust under here.

Note that the car comes witha full stainless steel exhaust system!

In the pecking order of British Roadsters, the TR3 is only topped by a Jaguar XK-150 Roadster, and it's an equal to the Big Healey 100-4, while it ranked far above the MGA. With its dominant headlight pods and Ferrari-esque grille, the TR3 leaves a lasting impression to the observer.

Weighing only slightly about 2,000 lbs, and equipped with front disc brakes, the car can be driven spiritly, and that's exactly why it had such a successful racing career. Even in today's hectic traffic, a TR3 can hold its own at the stoplight and on the freeway alike.

The TR3's comparatively large 4-cylinder engine is a torque monster. It putters along happily at just 2,000rpm, but once you go beyond the 3000 mark, you'll enter the zone, which spans to about 4,500rpm. If you punch the throttle anywhere between 3000 and 4500rpm, the car comes alive and stomps forward like a steam locomotive, a sensation that is totally missing on high-reving small displacement engines, say, an Alfa Romeo or Fiat.

While the TR3's successor, the Michelotti-designed TR4, is a wonderful automobile in its own right, it lacks the charisma of its predecessor. If you're looking for a truly iconic British Roadster, the TR3 is a great fit. Speaking of fit, I'm 6'6" with shoe size 13 and I fit. Yep.

This particular car ticks all the right boxes. A California car that has received a frame-off, nut and bolt restoration, finished in British Racing Green over a Biscuit leather interior, fitted with the desirable electric overdrive, and offered for about half the cost of the restoration . . . what more can you hope for?

Opportunity calls; are you ready to answer?


RETURN TO THE SHOWROOM


You are most welcome to inspect this fine automobile at our location in Ventura, by appointment, or have someone inspect it for you.
Please, direct all inquiries to info@californiaclassix.com or call us at 805-792-9797.