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Handsome older restoration still in excellent order. Full weather equipment including tonneau, top, and side curtains, fresh fuel pump and brakes, new radial tires. Still great to drive!
Built in the breed’s heyday, this 1961 Triumph TR3A delivers on every single one of the promises made by the legend and the look. Featuring an older restoration that was a multiple show winner in its prime, this handsome British Racing Green roadster is still wonderful to look at. Finish quality is extremely good, with a fantastic shine that sure looks like it was applied by the craftsmen in the Old Country. Panel fit is quite good and if you expect these cars to feel flimsy, you’re in for a surprise because when you slam the doors on this one it feels rock solid. It’s not perfect, of course, with the restoration being about 20 years old, but there are no major flaws and any complaints one might have will center around the usual signs of age, not defects or damage. Everything that’s awesome about British sports cars is neatly encapsulated in this handsome TR3A.
With British Racing Green on the outside, the only reasonable choice is tan leather inside and this reasonably-priced Triumph is as beautifully outfitted as the Jaguar next to it that costs five times as much. Body-hugging bucket seats with black piping, matching black carpets, and genuine wood on the dash all make it feel far more upscale and expensive than it is, which was surely the point. The factory Jaeger instruments are all in good working order with just light fading on their faces (I believe they are original and unrestored), although the temperature gauge was replaced at some point by a modern Auto Meter dial that sticks out a little bit, but that’s easy to remedy. The big banjo steering wheel makes the steering feel light and agile in your hands and the leather wrapper around the rim is a big help. The stubby 4-speed shifter is inches away and falls to hand easily, snapping through the gears without much effort. It includes a full set of weather equipment, including a full tonneau cover for the passenger compartment, a folding top, top boot, and factory side curtains. There’s a bit of space behind the front seats where a child could ride, but it’s better to think of it as extra storage to work in conjunction with the nicely carpeted trunk.
On paper, the 1991 cc inline-4 and its twin carburetors doesn’t seem formidable, especially with a rating of about 100 horsepower, but bear in mind that it only has to move about 1700 pounds of car. The engine was likely rebuilt at the time of restoration and we don’t know how many miles it has on it, but surely not a lot. It doesn’t smoke or make unkind noises and springs to life with surprising ease. The engine is no longer detailed for show, but the chrome valve cover, twin air cleaners, and fresh ignition system components suggest that it’s been properly maintained throughout its life. As part of our freshening, we installed both a new mechanical fuel pump and a back-up electric fuel pump, so it’s always ready to go.
Once the gearbox is properly warmed up, shifting is a joy. The hydraulic clutch is smooth and progressive and the torquey engine doesn’t mind lugging around in 4th gear at 1500 RPM. But the real fun is in watching the tach needle spin around the dial and running it through each gear, listening to the exhaust note and feeling the rather strong push in the backside. It’s quite clean underneath, much like the engine bay, and we have recently serviced the brakes, which feature Girling discs up front for some added stopping power. The exhaust system is older and covered in surface scale, but I’d leave it alone for now—who knows how a replacement setup would sound? Certainly not better than this! Chrome wire wheels are a bit flashy, particularly with those 165R15 wide whitewall radials, but if you’re going to enjoy a car like this, why keep a low profile?
Every time we look at this lovely little green roadster, it gets better, and we’re delighted with the way it works. It comes from the collection of an owner who cherished it for decades, and now it’s your turn to experience what generations of auto enthusiasts already know: there’s still no better way to have fun in a car than a traditional British roadster.
For more details and photos, please visit www.Harwoodmotors.com
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