1957 Triumph TR3A 2.0

Summary:

Quintessential British sports car

Faults:

Some nuts and bolts dropped off.

A rubber ring on a carb float bowl split, which made the carb leak.

The fuel gauge is a bit iffy, which is probably due to an as yet untraced continuity fault in the wiring.

General Comments:

This particular car was 'professionally' restored over a 12-year period, with lots of new parts. The previous owner spent an insane amount of money to get it almost perfect, but he sold the car because it kept breaking down (due mainly to lack of maintenance), he couldn't repair it himself and he didn't want to spend even more money on repairs and maintenance by other people. The car still looked perfect when I got it, but it needed a lot of work to bring it up to drivable condition.

Triumph TR3's are tough cars, that will go on forever if well maintained. Like most cars that are half a century old, they do not suffer neglect very well and need a technically savvy owner who enjoys wielding spanners and getting his/her hands dirty.

Performance, for a car of this era, is excellent. Road holding is good, but the rear axle can have trouble handling the power on corners. It has a top speed of over 160kmph/100mph, which may not sound like much, but was hair raising in a time when the average family car struggled to cruise at 65mph. Driving the car near the top speed is still exhilarating, with its rear cart spring, its worm & peg steering box and huge, thin-rimmed steering wheel. The engine has bags of torque and the car will pretty much pull away in any gear. Economy isn't bad at all for a 2 liter car.

Creature comforts are minimal, but it does have reasonably comfortable leather seats, a full complement of instruments and a chromed passenger grab handle. And there aren't many cars in which you feel so close to the road - thanks to the low-cut doors, you can easily reach out and touch the pavement while driving!

I use the car mainly for summer driving and occasional classic car tours, and it's perfect for that.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2004

8th Oct 2005, 09:23

I've got to agree with everything you say, but I must add (for the benefit of any prospective purchasers or restorers) that a conversion to rack and pinion steering is a must for these cars. With R&P steering, properly-maintained suspension and radial tyres these cars are a delight to drive. An old banger with a worm and peg box is literally hair-raising.

29th Nov 2008, 10:48

Would like and info. on converting my TR3B to rack and pinion. Someone said you can use a TR4 rack. Help, my steering all over the road.

7th Dec 2008, 14:18

You do not need to go to rack and pinion for the TR3. Just fix what you have.

Tighten the screw on the steering box and replace all worn joints on the steering arms to the wheels. Then, most importantly, fix the worn splines on where the steering wheel fits onto the steering shaft. Take the steering wheel off (after disconnecting the 4 wires that protrude from the steering box at the front bottom of the car.) Then loop 5 rounds of galvanised wire around the hole in the steering wheel. (Unbraid wire from a braided galvanised guy wire.) Then gently pound the steering wheel back on the splines of the steering shaft. The galvanised wire will take up all the slack caused by 50 years of wear on the splines.

Now, you should have zero, I mean "0" play in your steering, maybe better than rack and pinion. Before I did this I could turn my steering wheel 4 inches while driving and not have any effect!@! That was hair raising for sure. Opie.

29th May 2013, 20:49

Someone was mistaken. A TR4 rack is too wide. A Ford Escort rack is the one to fit, with the tie rods shortened and threaded to accept old Mini tie rod ends.