Wednesday, June 3, 2009

1959 Triumph TR3 - 7516 Miles (!) - eBay Find

Right up front I should say that I know when dealing with an old car it's very tough to verify the mileage. Having said that, I have to give the seller the benefit of the doubt. If the mileage stated for this car is true, this is a pretty remarkable find.

This car is unofficially called a TR3A (To the best of my knowledge Triumph never gave the car its letter suffix. Triumph enthusiasts gave it to the car to distinguish it from the earlier "small mouth" TR3. If you know anything different please e-mail me or leave a message in the comments section)

In its day the TR3 was an impressive entry level sports car. It was the first mass produced car to have front disc brakes, it had exterior door handles (many British roadsters did not) and was available with overdrive, a hard top and wire wheels. The engine, a 2.0 liter 4, could propel the car to 60 MPH in 12 seconds. The front suspension was independent with coil springs and wishbones. Given all that, it's pretty easy to see why Triumph was able to sell almost 60,000 of these cars.

The TR3 (especially the early small mouth cars) looked a lot like the previous TR2 (upon which it was based). Those looks drew some criticism. I honestly don't understand why. With it's swooping fenders, high mounted headlights and especially its cut down doors, the TR3 is, to me, the quintessential late 50s / early 60s affordable British roadster. (A friend once told me a great story about her father... He once owned a TR3, "back in the day". Because of the TR3's ground clearance and cut down doors, he was able to "pack" his pack of cigarettes on the ground without opening the door. OK, we all know now that cigarette smoking sucks and it is not cool - although that hasn't stopped me yet, unfortunately - but back then we didn't know as much and I can't help but think about how cool that must have looked. But I digress...)

The eBay listing for the 1959, 7516 mile, Triumph TR3 is not one of the better listings I've seen. There is little description and the pictures are not great. To his credit, the seller has done some research on the car trying to verify its mileage and is not stating with absolute certainty that it's a 7500 mile car. The pictures show a complete car that appears to be in overall good condition. There is one very alarming thing in those pictures, though... The car is located in New Hampshire. It looks like it may have been stored outside. There are pictures of it with snow around it. TR3s are rust prone cars. Check this one out thoroughly if you are considering it.

I don't really know what to say about this car. It's 50 years old. If the car really has 7516 miles on it (and not 107516) it's an amazing find and worth a premium price. If not, it's still appears to be a nice TR3A and may be one worth considering. Caveat emptor.

Click here to see the eBay listing for this TR3.

Click here to see the "British Value Guide" for the TR2 and TR3 (It's a PDF file)

1 comment:

Oscar said...

Theres something not right about that car. It looks too good to have low miles on it. It looks like it's been restored.

Your friends father may have been able to pack his cigarettes without opening the door but could he light one while doing 50 with the top down? That was the challenge in an old sports car.