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Cambridge & Counties Bank have taken a further step in support for the next generation of historic vehicle engineers, by working with the Heritage Skills Academy on the restoration of a historically significant Triumph TR2. The fifties British sports car will be rebuilt by students at the Heritage Skills Academy as part of their learning, with a view to completion in time to compete in the Rallye Monte-Carlo Historique in two years’ time. The students will not only be carrying out all the work required to finish this significant car, but will also project manage the restoration and consult with its owner on sourcing suitable period upgrades to prepare the car for historic rallying.

Neil Fender, Head of Classic Car Finance at Cambridge & Counties Bank described the moment the car was handed over; “The enthusiasm that all the apprentices showed when we delivered the TR2 to the Heritage Skills Academy was heart-warming. They are all genuinely excited to get started and it’s going to be fantastic now to watch the project un-fold and to see those apprentices progress as they grow and develop with the car.

The TR2 was delivered to the Heritage Skills Academy at Bicester Heritage in October for an initial assessment by the tutors and students, who will now formulate a schedule and parts budget for the build.

Launched in 1953, The TR2 was hugely successful in motor sport, especially in Alpine rallies which earned it a formidable reputation as a rugged, fast, but affordable sports car. This particular TR2, registered RHP552 was used by Standard Triumph to train and educate apprentices at the Standard Triumph factory during 1955.

The chassis number marks this TR2 out as being manufactured by Standard Triumph at the point where chassis modifications were made as part of the model’s development and there is evidence in this car’s massively extensive history file that show it was used by the factory as an experimental car for those changes.

The development engineer for Triumph, David O’Clarey, pictured tutoring students at Banner Lane in 1955, later purchased this car from the factory and successfully campaigned it in rallies around Europe, applying many of the modifications to the car that had been so successful on the factory works cars of the 1950s.

Cambridge & Counties Bank support the FBHVC backed Heritage Skills Academy based at Bicester Heritage, through the provision of business finance education modules and apprentice bursaries. The apprentices on the scheme, who are currently learning the skills they will need to safeguard the future of historic vehicles, are working on the restoration of RHP552 and also learning their craft, just as those original students did with David O’Clarey, way back in 1955.

Cambridge & Counties Bank will exhibit the TR2 as part of the FBHVC Village Green display at the NEC Classic Motor Show, alongside one of the apprentices from the Heritage Skills Academy who talked about how the apprenticeship is helping them on their way to a career in the historic vehicle industry.

The hand-over of the project offered a unique opportunity to re-create a period photograph of the apprentices from 1955 with the apprentices from 2019, complete with white workshop coats!

We will keep you updated on progress via TR Action Magazine as the restoration develops.

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