Triumph TR4 and TR5
1962 - 1969
|4 spd. man (optional overdrive)
Triumph's new-generation sports car with body design
by Italy's Giovanni Michelotti. Originally based on the
TR3A chassis and running gear with a larger engine (though
the 1991cc unit was available optionally to qualify for
2.0-liter class racing) and new all-synchromesh gearbox.
Michelotti's styling was contemporary and good-looking,
with a squared tail and a curvaceous nose featuring
high-set headlamps with "eyelids" formed by humps in
A "power blister" offset to the right on the hood provided
clearance for the air cleaner/carburetor. In 1961 the
TR4 arrived to replace the TR3A. It was built with
wider tracks and rack and pinion steering.
The larger 2.1 liter engine was fitted as standard
as were a new all synchromesh gearbox. The body styling
was entirely new, based largely on the Zest experiments.
It incorporated a number of important refinements like
wind-up windows, through-flow ventilation and a uniquely
designed hardtop. In this hardtop the rear window
was a rigid structure bolted to the body.
The roof section between the windscreen and the rear
window was detachable for open air motoring. A fabric
roof option for this section was called the "Surrey
Vynide was still the upholstery material, but this
was no longer used as a covering for the fascia. The
metal fascia was painted white and incorporated two
large outlet vents at either end for the through-flow
The two main instruments were still directly in front
of the driver with the smaller instruments in a black
panel in the centre of the facia. Switches were positioned
in a separate panel below the smaller instruments
while the warning lights were placed between the two
The North American distributors were
hesitant about accepting the new model, so they ordered
a supply of the old model which became known as the
TR3B. This used the old body and chassis but incorporated
the new gearbox and offered the choice of either the
2.0 or 2.1 liter engine. This version was only supplied
to the North American market.
The Leyland Motor Corporation took over Triumph around
this time and they were unenthusiastic about competition,
so the LeMans cars were sold. A racing coupe had been
designed by Micholetti and built by Conrero, a respected
Italian tuning expert, and this project was cancelled.
The Triumph management were obviously very persuasive
as the following year a works team was re-established
and four TR4s were prepared for competition. These
cars were fast, light and possessed excellent road
holding. They distinguished themselves in the 1962
Alpine Rally and proved their reliability in events
as diverse as the Tulip Rally, RAC Rally and the Canadian
Shell 4000. Their last outing was in 1964.
By 1965 potential buyers were complaining that the
TR4 had a very hard ride compared to competitors like
the MGB and Sunbeam Alpine. To cater for these views
the company introduced the TR4A version. It had a
new frame with a coil sprung independent rear suspension.
The body and styling remained almost identical to the
TR4 model. The most notable change was the grille which
now consisted of plain, horizontal slats, in place
of the egg-crate design used for so many years previously.
The side lights were moved from their former position
in the top corners of the grille and placed in chrome
plated plinths on the front wings, which also incorporated
side repeaters for the direction indicators.
A chrome flash ran back from these plinths to the door
handles. As with the original TR4 five years before, the
North American distributors demanded a live axle version
in case buyers did not take to the irs model. (The North
American market was beginning to get troublesome around
this time.) Performances were improving all round and
it was necessary for Triumph to take steps to stay ahead
of the competition. However, exhaust emissions regulations
in the US were starting to strangle the output of all
but the largest capacity engines.