1962 Triumph TR4
Super example from long-term ownership; driven 80+ miles to the sale; extensive restoration in 2008; good panel fit
By the late 1950s Triumph’s bulbous TR3 was looking fairly antiquated and they hired Giovanni Michelotti to bring it up to date with some crisp new styling more in tune with the youthful exuberance of the Swinging Sixties. Entering production in 1961, the new TR4 was a wonderful mix of British brawn and Italian style, the sharp new body doing away with the cutaway doors of the previous TRs to allow for wind-down windows in place of old-fashioned side-screens while the rear styling allowed a boot with considerable capacity for a sports car. It also handled better thanks to a wider track front and rear and precise rack-and-pinion steering. The torquey four-cylinder, twin-carb TR3 engine was enlarged to 2,138cc and mated to an all-synchro four-speed ‘box that could launch the car to 60mph in 10.9 seconds on its way to a top speed of 110mph. Optional Laycock de Normanville electricallly operated overdrive could now be selected for 2nd and 3rd gear as well as 4th, effectively providing the TR4 with a seven-speed close-ratio gearbox. Some 40,250 TR4s were sold in all, the vast majority in the American market making this UK supplied example something of a rarity.
Its first owner was Sir Roger Makins KCMG, an interesting man who had been the British Ambassador to the United States at the time of the Cuban missile crisis and at the time of purchase, was Chairman of the Atomic Energy Authority in Britain. He lived in a massive pile a few miles from Basingstoke and kept the car until 1965. He used his rather nice private number 123 FOR, the car changing to FSL 955 when he sold it on, the number it still wears to this day.
Jump forward a number of new owners and many years to 1999, when the car was showing an unsubstantiated 37,000 miles. In 2008 it was sold by Sherwood Restorations, the odometer now reading 41,525 for the first or second time we do not know. The car was used throughout the year, with parts added and many details improved, although by early December, it had been sent to Smart Tops of Castle Donington for a full respray in BRG. Over the next two years, much work was done, including a head overhaul, carb overhaul and a new dizzy with electronic ignition.
It has had a few more owners since then, our vendor acquiring it at the start of this year, but sadly a knee operation has necessitated the purchase of an automatic.
He adds that in recent years, it has been rewired, had a new starter fitted, a new fuel pump, new rear shocks, new wire wheels, new brake pads and shoes, its been re-trimmed with new door rubbers and has had a complete service at the time of its recent (no advisory) MOT which expires in May 2023.
There is some minor micro-blistering on the bonnet, but generally the car presents very well and was driven over 80 miles to the sale.
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