Tuesday 16th July 2019,

Triumph TR3 1955 – 1957

The TR2 was such a great success that it was quickly followed in 1955 by the TR3. TR3 was an effective and worthwhile improvement. The TR2 was an attractive car but the TR3 was prettier. All the revisions were well placed and the TR3 would continue through two more successful revisions later.

The Vanguard 2 litre motor (1991 cc) with twin SU carburettors drove the rear wheels through a 4-speed gearbox on which Laycock de Normanville overdrive was an optional extra. Unusually, the overdrive operated on the top three gears giving TR3 seven forward ratios. The Triumph TR3 was a strict two-seater with a little space behind the seats for a flexible volunteer, it also had a useful boot capacity.

The chassis;

The separate, ladder-frame chassis was still used, excellent and rigid. Coil and wishbone front suspension was utilised with a live axle and semi-elliptic springs at the rear. Telescopic dampers were now fitted to the front with an anti-roll bar option. Lever-arm dampers were still fitted to the rear suspension. Steering gear was a cam & lever steering box.

From 1956 Lockheed disc brakes were fitted to the front as standard, the first production car to be thus blessed. Drum brakes were still fitted to the rear. The TR3`s braking was second to none. Wheels were 15”, wire wheels were an optional extra.


The unbreakable Vanguard 1991 cc inline 4-cylinder OHV was the unit of choice. It had been up-rated and with twin SU carburettors it produced a straight 100 bhp. The compression ratio was 8.5:1 propelling the TR3 to 60 mph from a stand still in just under 11 seconds. The engine was coupled with the Standard-Triumph`s 4-speed gearbox with optional overdrive.

The body;

The Triumph TR3 had an all-steel body in a `Barchetta` design. The cock-pit was well positioned, giving the car a nice long-nosed shape with frog-eyed headlights. A full-width front chrome bumper was still there and there was still no rear bumper, just two vertical over-riders. The front of the TR3 had something new though, a new chrome radiator grille.

A steel, bolt-on hard-top was offered as an extra. The car was still draughty though. Because of the Barchetta doors, wind-up windows were impossible to fit. The canvas side-screens were the only alternative. There were no exterior door handles.


The Triumph TR3 was quickly building a reputation as a fast performance car. Some people did not like the way it was inclined to lift the inside rear wheel when cornering hard, however, not a problem for a real enthusiast!

Triumph TR3 1955-1957
Body Type2 seater roadster
Engine PlacementFront
Drive TypeRear wheel drive
FrontDrum/Discs (1956 onwards)
Cargo VolumeVery useful
Engine2.0 L Vanguard OHV 8V
Cylindersstraight 4
Displacement1991 cc121.5 cui
Power75 Kw100 bhp5000 RPM
Torque159 Nm117 ft. lb3000 RPM
Power/weight111 bhp/t
Top Speed169 km/h105 mph
Acceleration0-100 km/h - 0-60 mph10.8 s
Fuel consumptionl/100 kmImperial mpg
Gearbox4 speed manual+overdrive (opt)
Weight904 kg1993 lb


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Triumph TR3 1955 - 1957, 10.0 out of 10 based on 3 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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