TR4 : 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 top".
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 ventilation system. 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 main instruments.
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 litre 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.
TR4A : 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.
GTR4 : A rare survivor : the Harrington-bodied Dove ; only 55 were made during the period 1961-1964. Harrington
Motor Bodies ( better known for their coach bodywork ) removed the boot and rear dech of
the TR4 , then replaced them with a full-length moulded GRP roof section incorporating a
hinged tailgate. Like most of the standard TR4s the GTR4 had a metal dashboard , painted
white with a black crackle finish centre panel The general layout was similar to that in
the sidescreen cars , but with a large speedometer and revcounter directly ahead of the
driver , and four more gauges in the centre of the dash.Like the optional rear seat in the
open TR4s that of the GTR4 was very restricted for passenger legroom . However , it could
be folded forwards to provide extra baggage space at the rear. The four-pint competition
seat harnesses were not standard equipment.The GTR4 was considerably more expensive than
the standard TR4 and no doubt this was responsible for its lack of succes . However , it
did point the way for more practical sporting coupés in the future . This example has
been fitted with a rear window washer and wiper , and fof and reversing lights to cope
with the demands of modern motoring.