Strangely enough, the TR series of sports cars from Triumph came about as a result of an engine deal that Sir John Black did with Harry Ferguson, who built tractors in his day job. Both men needed a new engine so a deal was struck to share development on an engine that could double as a power unit for a tractor and a car, just when Triumph needed a sports car to capture the attention of the market.
The TR2 was the first car launched with this engine at the Geneva Motor Show in 1953. In the interim design period before the show launch, the engine had gone through several rounds of development which resulted in a 90bhp power delivery allowing the TR2 to deliver a top speed of 100mph. The TR2 also boasted a separate frame chassis and a price lower than its competition at the time. Unfortunately, production delays meant its true market potential was never realised.
TR3 and TR4
In 1955 the TR3 was launched – this was mainly a facelift exercise but the addition of bigger carbs allowed the power output to rise to 95bhp initially and later to 100bhp. This version also saw the introduction of disc brakes in the front to cope with the extra speed.
The TR3A was next, a minor facelift with a wider grille, followed by the TR4 in September 1961. A bigger car inside, this Micheloti-assisted upgrade featured an optional Surrey hardtop, wind up windows, ventilation for the driver and passengers at face level (I find this sort of thing crucial in a car and get frustrated when I cannot have fresh air blowing on my face), rack and pinion steering and a 2138cc engine. A far superior car, its ride was thought to be too harsh until the TR4A came along in 1965 with a new chassis and independent semi-trailing arm rear suspension (borrowed from the highly-regarded Triumph 2000 saloon).
TR5 and TR6
In 1967, Triumph needed a better engine than their old four cylinder workhorse which was running foul of emission regulations. They developed a new 2.5 litre straight six engine utilising Lucas fuel injection to produce 142bhp (or 104bhp for the carburettor-based American models) that they dropped straight into the TR4 chassis, calling it the TR5. However, this variant did not last long. In 1969 the new TR6 arrived with this same engine, sporting new front and rear body panel designs revised by Karmann in Germany. This was a proper sports car, hitting the 60 mph barrier in 8.2 seconds and zooming on to a maximum speed of 119mph. 91,850 TR6 models were produced over an 8 year period and this is the variant most sought after by enthusiasts today. Personally, I’ve seen quite a few of these at shows over the years and would love to have one in my garage.
Triumph TR6 (1969) – Vital Statistics
|Power||105 kW (142 bhp) @ 5500 rpm|
|Torque||222 Nm (163 lb/ft) @ 5500 rpm|
|0-100 km/h (0-62 mph)||8.2 seconds|
|Maximum speed||192 km/h (119 mph)|
|Fuel consumption (average)||11.0 l/100km (25 mpg)|
|Fuel type, tank capacity||Petrol, 61 litres|
|Engine||Inline 6 engine, OHV cast-iron block and head, longitudinal mounting, Lucas fuel injection|
|Cylinders and valves||Inline 6, 12v|
|Transmission||4 speed manual, Laycock de Normanville|
overdrive option on 3rd and 4th