Wednesday 19th June 2019,

Triumph TR2 1953 – 1955

In 1951 Sir John Black of Standard-Triumph was working hard to produce an affordable but inspiring sports-car. He quickly realised that he could not compete with the Jaguar XK120 which had cornered the market in it`s class. The only problem the XK120 had was it`s price. Black wasted a year trying to acquire Morgan Cars but failed dismally. He realised that he would have to build his own car. To build and sell a new sports-car in that climate it had to be much less expensive than the Jaguar. The best way to start any project is to start at the bottom and work your way up but Black, like so many before him, preferred to use existing technology to short-cut the development process and to keep costs down. The result of this thinking was the prototype `20TS`.

At this time Standard had in production the Standard 8 saloon, reliable but ordinary. He used the `8` chassis and built a Barchetta-styled two-seater onto it and fitted the excellent Vanguard power-train. Black borrowed a top test-driver, Ken Richardson of BRM, to evaluate the car. Richardson condemned the car as a ‘death-trap`. Apparently it handled `like a bag of worms`! Back to the drawing board then!

The ill-starred 20TS would have been the TR1 but it disappeared without trace. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, they say. Black decided to follow Jaguar`s example and create a revolution in sports-car design, owing nothing to anybody else.

The TR2;

Black put his staff to work round-the clock and within a year the TR2 was born. It was exactly what the market needed, it sold well, even against the Austin-Healey 100/4 which had appeared in the same year. It was the lowest-priced 100 mph sports-car at that time at £900 (GBP) ex-works. The TR2 was beautiful with positive handling and a sweet-sounding exhaust note. A true drivers` sports-car. The Vanguard 2litre motor (1991cc) with twin SU carburettors drove the rear wheels through a 4speed gearbox on which Laycock de Normanville overdrive was an optional extra. Wire wheels were also an option. The TR2 was a strict two-seater but it had quite a useful boot capacity. Critically, it was well received in the US where there was little competition for it. In only two years 8636 cars were produced. TR2 was the beginning of the great family of Triumph sports-cars.

The chassis;

A separate, all-new, ladder-frame chassis was used, strong, rigid and light leaving the TR2′s curb weight at only 1907 lb. Coil and wishbone front suspension was utilised with a live axle and semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Steering was by way of a cam & lever steering box. Lockheed drum brakes fore and aft supplied the stopping power and the TR2 wheels were 15”, wire wheels were an optional extra. No hardtop was offered, it would just spoil the looks.


The robust and gutsy Vanguard 1991cc inline 4-cylinder Over-head Valve was the unit of choice. It had been up-rated and with twin SU carburettors performed very well. The compression ratio was 8.5/1. Standard`s 4speed gearbox with optional overdrive was fitted.

The body;

All-steel in a `Barchetta` design. The cock-pit was set well back, giving the car a nice long-nosed shape with frog-eyed headlights. The boot was capacious for this type of car. A full-width chrome bumper complimented the TR2′s front while there was no rear bumper, just two vertical over-riders. There was no visible radiator grille, a wire-mesh screen deep inside the air intake kept the pigeons out of the radiator matrix.



Sir John Black`s Triumph factory finally had a winner. Probably the best thing about the TR2 was that it was an ideal platform for later development and improvements. Loved by all who drove it, the TR2 was a wonderful sports-car. After only two years of production the TR2 was succeeded by TR3 in 1955.

Triumph TR2 1953-1955
Body Type2 seater roadster
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
Cargo VolumeUseful
Engine2.0 OHV 8 valve Vanguard
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1991 cc121.5 cui
Power67 Kw90 bhp4800 RPM
Torque158 Nm117 ft. lb3000 RPM
Power/weight104 bhp/t
Top Speed172 km/h107 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph14 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual/overdrive
Weight865 kg1907 lb
GD Star Rating
Triumph TR2 1953 - 1955, 10.0 out of 10 based on 4 ratings
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About Bev Roberts

Speed, the smell of hot oil, the roar of a straight-through exhaust and the scream of an engine at max revolutions. They have all been a large part of my life for almost 50 years. It is time to share my experiences with you, dear reader. Do you want to know more? Read on through my `Full Bio` and many articles.

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I was born in Hereford UK in 1948 and brought up in Gloucester UK. I played Rugby football internationally as a schoolboy. At the age of 17, a new and wet driving license in my paw, I entered motor racing. I was supported and financed by my parents and so my journey began.

In 1965 I bought a 1293cc Mini-Cooper `S` and campaigned it for a season. Having quickly made some good friends in the racing fraternity, several interesting opportunities came my way. I joined a sports-car team and raced in the Le Mans 24 hours in 1968 and 1969 in a Lola T70. Mechanical failure defeated both efforts. During that period I owned and raced a `D type` Jaguar and an AC Cobra. In those days cars like that were available and not too expensive, now they reside in museums and private collections. I had a chain of interesting cars through my youth including Jaguars, Minis, Mustangs and Lotus-Cortinas.

As a young driver I had my share of accidents too. Often the car would only be worth scrap-metal value by the time I got it home! I worked for an Aston-Martin/Jaguar dealership for a while, which enhanced my experience and gave me the opportunity to sample some very exotic machines, Ferrari, Facel-Vega, Iso and Maserati to recall a few of them.

At the end of 1969 I moved to South Africa to work on my uncle`s farm but the S.A. government had other ideas and drafted me into the army. After five years had passed I was thanked and released from the service. While I was there I bought a beige Cadillac Eldorado, previously the property of Marilyn Monroe. While I was away on a patrol my girlfriend had it re-sprayed pink! I was unimpressed by both the joke and the bill for the work!

When I returned to UK in 1974 I left it behind. On my return I found that the once-mighty British motor industry was in decline and was headed for oblivion. Motor racing was now very expensive so I turned to commercial transport. Driving large trucks gave me freedom and a chance to see some of the world. I don`t remember ever making a career choice but for the next thirty years a truck was my home. For about ten years in that period I owned two trucks of my own.

I also owned a famous MGB-GT, known as `Lucky`. If you`d like to read `The Story of Lucky` there is an article in Inopian`s archive. I finally retired, due to ill-health, in 2008. Since I had varied knowledge and many experiences on our subject I decided to share the stories of the cars I enjoyed (and hated) with the new generation.

Enjoy Inopian… it is constructed and written for you.

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