The Triumph TR Cars -The Triumph TR3A

In the summer of 1957, Triumph began to build a modified version of the Triumph TR3.  This modified TR3 became known as the TR3A, however it was never officially known as the TR3A.  As far as Standard-Triumph was concerned, it was just a continuation of the TR3.  However the cars were quite different in their appearance.  The TR3A had a full-width radiator grille and the headlights were slightly recessed instead of protruding like on the older TR3.

Triumph TR3A

Mechanically there is no difference between the TR3 and the TR3A.

The Triumph TR3A was Very Successful for Standard-Triumph

The Triumph TR3A was built from September 1958 to October 1961.  Next to the TR6, the Triumph TR3A was built in the largest numbers by Triumph with a total of just over 58,000 TR3A cars being produced.

As with the earlier TR2 and TR3, the Triumph TR3A cars were very actively rallied by an official works rally team.

Ian Titherington Driving a TR3A to 2nd in Class at the 1958 Alpine Rally

In 1958, the Triumph Works Rally Team consisted of 5 lime green TR3As.  The car shown below is one of those cars and in fact, is the same car shown above in action during the 1958 Alpine Rally.

A Restored 1958 Triumph Works Rally TR3A 

A Triumph TR3A at the Finish of the 1960 Tulip Rally

By the way, those of you who are involved in rallying might be interested to know that the phrase “tulip instructions” came from the style of instructions that were first used in the Tulip Rally.

The same car shown above at the finish of the 1960 Tulip Rally is shown below in a restored condition.

The Triumph TR3A cars continued those great design lines of the earlier TR2 and TR3 cars.  The car shown below at the Monte Carlo Rally looks good even when fitted with a hardtop.

1957 Triumph Works Rally Car at Monte Carlo

This is the same car with the roof removed

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5 Responses to The Triumph TR Cars -The Triumph TR3A

  1. Jim Harberson says:

    Thanks for the info and pictures. Do you know how many of the 58,000 TR-3A’s built were for the export, ie, US market? As a college student I had two TR-3A’s, a 58 and a 61. I bought both used and kick myself to this day for selling the last one in 67 when I returned from Nam. The classic design brings back great memories.

    • Hi Jim,
      Look on the bright side – at least you owned and drove not one, but two TR3A cars. Many people would love to have been able to do that.

      The figures that I have for the TR3A show that the total production was 58,236 cars. Most of these cars, 56,340, were exported with only 1896 built for the home market. Of these export numbers I don’t know how many came to the US market. I have some numbers for Triumph sales in the US from 1958 to 1961, but when added up they do not come close to agreeing with the TR3A numbers, therefore those numbers must include other models such as the Herald.

      Steve McKelvie

      • Jim Harberson says:

        I just discovered your reply all these years later. I’ve had some health problems but no other excuse. In 67, when I returned from Nam I traded my 61 TR3A for a 66 or 67 MGB.
        The MGB did not compare with the TR.
        Actually, none of the subsequent Triumphs were any good, with the possible exception of the Spitfire.
        Hope all is well with you. I enjoyed your info.

  2. Howard Zlotoff says:

    I owned a 1960 TR3A while in school. Paid $200 and fixed it up, drove it for three years and sold it for $800. I also regretted getting rid of it but was headed for Chicago for residency program and there was no way the car would survive there.
    Thirty years later, I bought one and have joined the local Central Penn Triumph Club and enjoying it now more than ever!
    The car is a real head turner and very reliable. So, my advise is to relive your school days with a TR 3A. Have a blast!
    H Zlotoff
    Grantham Pa

  3. howard says:

    I had a 62 TR3A, that I traded in for a 65 Sunbeam Tiger. I probably couldn’t get in and out of either car today. However i have great memories of both.

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