Tuesday, December 1, 2009

1968 Triumph TR250

The TR250 is the rarest of the Triumph TRs. Built for just one model year, the TR250 came in two forms, with 2 different names, depending on what continent you were on.

As the 1960s drew to a close it became apparent to Triumph that their 4 cylinder engine was no longer competitive in the modern sports car market. The TR6 was on its way, but was delayed by a year or so. According to Keith Martin's Sports Car Market, "Triumph had planned to replace the TR4A in the summer of 1967 with the car that eventually became known as the TR6. However, as legend has it, the Germans at Karmann who handled the development of the new model supplied all the tooling specifications in metric units. Unfortunately, the Brits were still employing the English system, and the resultant conversion not only taxed Triumph’s slide rules, but also delayed the TR6 launch."

Whatever the reason, Triumph chose to put the 2.5 liter 6 that was going to power the TR6 into a TR4A body for one year, 1968. In Europe it was known as the TR5 (or TR5 PI), in North America it was called the TR250.

The reason for the different names has to do with the engines. In Europe the car was fuel injected (or petrol injected - PI -). Here in North America we got a pair of Zenith-Stromberg carburetors. Supposedly, this was due to new US emissions standards enacted in 1968, but again according to legend, the real reason was that Triumph didn’t have enough faith in its U.S. dealer network to service the fuel-injection system. While the European "petrol injected" engine put out 150 HP, the North American carbureted version put out just 111. That was only 4 more HP than the 4, but the 6 was incredibly smooth, had 152 lb-ft of torque (up from 128 in the 4 cylinder car) and the car was capable of hitting 60 MPH in 10 seconds.

The car being offered on eBay is being touted as the "first car off the assembly line in January 1968". That doesn't make it the first TR250 built - production began in 1967 - , but it's an interesting piece of trivia.

The car has had a "complete frame up, nut and bolt restoration". Oddly, it sounds like the engine was NOT rebuilt during this restoration and remains original. Upgrades include a pair of Weber carbs (a very worthwhile upgrade), a quicker steering rack and a very nice looking Motolita steering wheel. The car comes with a tonneau and boot cover and has the original owners manual and maintenance book.

Around 8400 TR250s (and 2500 TR5s) were built. The value of the TR250 has increased tremendously during the past decade. In 2000, a car in this condition usually sold for around $10,000.00. By 2006, the price had risen to $20,000.00. With the economy the way it is today, the prices of all mid-level classics have stalled or fallen. It will be interesting to see what this car is bid up to and whether it will hit the reserve.

Located in Corning, NY, click here to see the eBay listing.


Max Power said...

I would be curious to see if various TR250 owners have swapped out the american carburated engine for the fuel injected European one for the extra ponies

Brandon said...

I need help. I own a tr250 and having a problem removing rear wheel flange! It is on at a bit of an angle and seams to be ceased. I've used heat and some serious pressure. Any ideas??