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Help with buying a TR2

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I am new to the forum and am desperate for some knowledgeable advice.


I have recently decided that the TR2 is the car I want and I have located one, but I just do not know enough of the community or cars to decide if this is worth pursuing.

The issue can be broken down into 2 main points for me.


1: I have to get cash from an investment to buy one which will incur some tax penalties, which is fine as long as the car is worth it (I will enjoy it. I want one. It would be nice to know that I am not throwing money away though)


2: The car is not perfect. Its a 1955 commission (TS6425) . But built up. It is rust free in signal red and looks very solid. My issues are that the engine is a TR3 (TS17205E) and I do not know exactly what this engine is regarding ports and capacity or how it affects both value and driveability of the car. I do not know yet if the gearbox or rear axle is also TR3. It has overdrive, but the 1955 should have it in any case. The front brakes are still drums so not TR3. The interior is done fairly well but it is by no means perfect. It looks as if the restorer just wanted a solid, usable TR2 and not a perfectly restored car. Values are subjective but in a nutshell this is roughly 20 000GBP where I'd think a correct TR2 should be around 35 000GBP here. I suspect I won't lose money in any case.


So the question is, should I try to wait, save up and attempt to find this rather rare car in the future in original condition, or is it worth my while to buy this likely solid built-up car and perhaps do some personal tinkering for the small issues and bring it closer to original. Is it worth even bothering to think about getting a correct engine? I do value originality, but reality is that this requirement is coming at a dearer premium every year.


I would really appreciate insights and recommendations.

I attach an image or 2 to give an idea.




Edited by irrational
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Whereabouts are you based? I'm sure someone would be local to you and could have a look.

Lots of TR2's have TR3/4 engines in so this isn't too much of an issue so long as it's a good solid fun car you want rather than something that might command a premium.

£20k sounds like a good buy for a solid TR2 to me. If a knowledgeable member can assure you it's solid by having a nose it sounds like a no-brainier.

To put your TR2 price into context, I paid £15750 (inc buyers premium) at auction for a LHD US import TR3 in what looked like worse condition than this one 2.5 years ago, and prices haven't gone down! I won, but there were other bidders in the room so someone else must have thought it was worth that price (I won't talk about the 7 months it too Stuart to put it right though.........)


From the pictures, I can see a few little incorrect details, but nothing that couldn't be swapped over easily enough and nothing that anyone other than a TR fan would spot. I can see a tonneau, but does it have sidecreens/hood/hood sticks etc. They're expensive to replace and fit properly but even at £20k if it's a solid car I'd still be happy.

Edited by rhino_mac
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Everything you have said, & the pictures confirm that this is a late TR2. Wheels are wider than standard, dashboard not quite right, but these are trivial things, & may even be desirable to you. Without seeing a lot more photos - particularly underneath, chassis etc it is hard to evaluate, but from what I can see it would be worth the 20k you speak of.



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"lose money"


Sidescreen TR's are indeed an investment - i.e. you are likely to invest a lot in one - be £$€'s or, if you have the expertise and the capacity, just load of time.


My advice would be for the sake of a very small amount of £'s, get someone in the know to look at it.


They will be able to give you an honest opinion on what needs to be done, what could be done, what doesn't need doing unless you are into originality etc etc.


You will NEVER get back what you spend on renovation.


Since purchasing my apparently solid car, I have spent at least 50% of the purchase price on necessary (invisible at the time the vendor - and me) work and half that again on 'could be done's' and christmas decorations like chrome wire wheels and moto lita steering wheel etc


My personal view is that a TR2 ought to be a 2, i.e., close to the original build, not a 3/3a, as that is what differentiates them from the crowd, but others will shoot me down.


In the buy/sell section Bill Piggot has a 3a for sale. I cannot imagine any vendor could tell you more than Bill on the relative merit of a car's spec'.


If that is too cheap for you - I know a bloke who has a gorgeous, stunning signal red 3A that is being prepped for sale :ph34r:

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This TR2 looks quite nice and straight but it has to be much

more than that top warrant £20K. Not saying it isn't worth

that, just that you cannot tell from the photos.


The car looks to be fairly close to original spec, which is

good, although there are a few points that would need

more detailed scrutiny.

++ for McMuttley's idea to get someone who knows TR2s

to check it out.


The TR2 engine, as original, didn't have camshaft bearings.

Many have had bearings retro-fitted, but a TR3 engine would

have had camshaft bearings as standard.


Check out the local group leader and see if he can suggest

anyone who can give it a once-over. Probably just set you

back a few beers.


Being a later TR2, it wouldn't have had long doors, but it

should be lockheed drums all round. Front discs didn't make

an appearance until TR3s at TS 13,000ish.

Lockheed axles are not as strong as girling - prone to breaking

half-shafts - though some owners have fitted girling axles to

lockheed cars (need to fabricate special hydraulic connections)



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Thanks for the very valuable help so far.

I will add 3 more photos I have, although so far it seems that it is worth pursuing this car.


To put the price in perspective here. It is in South Africa.

I know the car belonged to an owner that was part of the local club, but I have not been able to get into contact with the club as yet.

I have spoken to someone that specialises in restoring cars of the era and was advised that the price is quite good even if the car is less well sorted than it seems from the photos.

Unfortunately due to his age he can't make the trip with me. But I am definitely trying to get someone to come with me.


TR2s are very rare. I love classic cars and have been going to events when I can over the past 25 years. I saw my first "2" a month ago, having considered buying a "3" before.

I also vaguely considered MGA, Morgan 4/4, Healy 100/4, but those are basically expensive unicorns here as they were all shipped back to Europe with price booms and the TR2 really pushed the right buttons for me.


It seems from the comments that the engine is fine and possibly an improved upgrade with regards to usability.

Also that the little inaccuracies are small and can be self-maintained.



Is there a way for me to check that the brakes and rear axle is lockheed as well as the state of the half shafts?






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As noted, not exactly right in a number of areas, but overall it looks like a solid car. A look underneath would be worthwhile. 20k£ / 25k$ is probably a little on the high side for our market. "Metric" dashboard covering -- uncommon, even rare. Turn indicator missing from control head on steering wheel -- how do the indicators work?

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Commission number plate looks like a replacement. Not necessarily a red flag, but something to pay attention to, especially with a later engine. These cars have had lots of modifications over the years, especially in areas far from home there are many chances for nonstandard things to get done. Do you have any other sources of the car's ID?


Here's what one from that approximate period would look like regarding stamping die typeface and attachment rivets:


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First, nice of you to join the Fraternity. Welcome!


It's not clear to me if you're in SA as well or that only the car is in SA.


Apart from the nicely looking TR2, I can only say that you'll have to aim for the best car you can buy with your money. And prepare to have a contingency plan! Every TR comes with it's own character and rough edges. And character can be expensive...



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If its a SA car then all bets are off as to what the car is put together with as they have appeared over here with any number of combinations of parts from TR2 through TR3 through to TR3a so,its really a case of viewing the car as a whole and getting the best body /chassis that you can and then the mechanicals can be sorted out after a lot cheaper than the metalwork.


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Have you contacted Geoff Kriel of the Triumph Sports Car Club of South Africa - email horizongsk@vodamail.co.za

Website triumphclubsa.com

I would have thought that someone over there might be willing and able to assist - someone on the spot is bound to be of greater help than those of us over here in the UK.

Ian Cornish

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Geoff responded immediately with some names I'll call later. Thank you!


I decided the UK forum would be active and very knowledgeable. This has proven correct and everyone has given valuable insights helping to steer me in the right direction

I am going to look at the car this weekend and now have a much better idea what to look for so that I don't make a bad decision.


@Menno. I am also in SA. But your advice is something I fully agree with from long ago. Buy the absolute best you can afford and if you can't buy well, don't buy.


@ Stuart. I will definitely have a look at the combinations of parts. The body is likely to be fairly solid but I will certainly try to make sure which parts are pure TR2.


I assume body panels are mostly the same on TR3 and TR2? So the wings and boot are interchangeable for instance? I know the beading on this car is not correct as it should be body coloured and not metal.

Is there a chance that the chassis is TR3 but the body panels TR2? If so, is there some way to check this?


I am not sure the current owner has a history of the old restoration to be able to tell me exactly what was done. I'll see when I speak to him in few days.

Edited by irrational
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Chassis were the same , but a clue might be the i.D. plate welded to the top of the front cross member (under the crank pulley) it is a short number beginning with "Z". Table below should help.





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TR2 and early 3 chassis are pretty much the same apart from some re-enforcement around the rear shock mounts, later 3 and 3a ones have different locations for the brake pipe/brake light switch mounts when the change to Girling hydraulics came about and mounts for the column supports on later 3a`s with split columns.


Edited by stuart
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Just an update.


I finally managed to speak to a club expert and was told that I should be able to get hold of a very good and complete TR2 around 16 000 GBP even though they are very scarce here and some remaining ones are likely to be shipped to the US.

There is currently one in need of a rebuild for about 6 000gbp. But I think a rebuild project could run quite expensive.

So thank you all for the valuable information. I am hoping to find a dream TR2 in the not far future. 8)

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" I should be able to get hold of a very good and complete TR2 around 16 000 GBP "


Only if you can beat the queue of UK dealers happy to ship such a rhd car back home and turn a tidy profit . . . . .


Considering the extraordinary anomalies in the original spec of many South African assembled TRs, the pursuit of 'originality' could prove to be an exercise in chasing chimaeras . . . . .


Look hard and in detail at what you are currently being offered - before dismissing it entirely.





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Just an update.


I finally managed to speak to a club expert and was told that I should be able to get hold of a very good and complete TR2 around 16 000 GBP even though they are very scarce here and some remaining ones are likely to be shipped to the US.

There is currently one in need of a rebuild for about 6 000gbp. But I think a rebuild project could run quite expensive.

So thank you all for the valuable information. I am hoping to find a dream TR2 in the not far future. 8)


Buying one for 20-25000 does not guarantee a solid car without expenses. Theres a fair chance, you would probably spend thousands extra in the coming years to adjust according your wishing, fixing problems of the previous owners, etc. But you are at least set back for the 25k and say a 10k for repairs.


Buying one for 5 or 6k and rebuilding it exactly the way you want it and knowing the quality, would give you 30k budget in comparison to the other scenario.


Main advantage is that you can drive the car in the first option immediatly. the latter would mean a few years of fun rebuilding it.


i had the fortune to find a relative cheap one that i was able to drive for 10 years before an accident forces me to rebuild, finding out the car should be rebuild even without an accident, still spending the budgets mentioned before..


my two cents ;)

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So in short the one you first showed us doesnt seem to be too bad a car for the money with some needs mostly mechanical which are cheaper and easier to rectify as opposed to bodywork that costs a fortune to sort out..Go and look (If you can) at it again and have a real good look especially underneath.


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Hi just a thought, i dont know your health situation but If possible try and drive a 2 first,you might change your mind,mine car was great 20yrs ago, now i find it just painfull,i spectatored at last weeks round the round Britain reliability event and take my hat off to the sidescreen drivers (not the cars) that made it,well done.

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Age is not an issue for me. I am in my fourties. Also climbing into and out of my 1980 911 Porsche is no issue and it can need some contortions sometimes!

My main reason for buying a TR is that I want fun and enjoyable motoring with the capability of doing more rapid and fun driving if I need to.

Really just to enjoy the car. And I love the looks and history. The Porsche is wonderful in most respects, but its not a substitute for a classic sportscar.

I have already, after watching many, many videos and reading what I can find, decided that an MGA or Healy 100/4 won't do for me and a TR it will be.


There are 2 '57 TR3's being restored to concourse-ish spec here, but they will likely run closer to 30 000 pounds. I am also interested in those if they are small-mouth cars.

I am still a little undecided between the TR2 for its rarity and looks (I like the recessed grill a lot) and the early TR3 for its apparently very worthwhile upgrades.

So I may be persuaded to spend more money on an already sorted car.

I was thinking if I can buy this TR2 at a more sensible price, assuming that it is mechanically solid, I'd need to completely redo the interior for starters. Perhaps the TR3 running gear, being early TR3, is simply a usable upgrade. I don't know if it will be worth trying to restore the whole car to original TR2 spec money wise.

Perhaps less important is that I'd prefer a BRG or other dark colour over the red and I would definitely prefer keeping a car its original colour.

I decided to go and visit with some of the club members I spoke to to learn more about their ideas and knowledge. Go about this whole thing properly saving me tears in the long run.


Any thoughts on the TR3 vs TR2 idea?

Newly rebuilt TR3 vs "completing" a somewhat inaccurately restored TR2?

Sorted newly restored vs a slow process that I will likely not be able to do myself. (It sounds fun, but I fully appreciate letting experts do what they do well.)

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Depending on what you want to do with it (Runs to the pub and Sunday drives or touring and driving it like a proper sports car) then a later TR3 (57 on) with disc brakes is a great looking and driving car.


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First, welcome to these pages!


Go for the best car money can buy. I this case the TR3, I think. An older restoration - in your words inaccurately done will turn on you: there will be a moment you want to have it repaired, changed, upgraded. That will cost a lot of money and time.


That + what Stuart wrote: disk brakes, perhaps even a stronger back axle.


Like Porsches, the TR's prices are up. 30K for a freshly restored car is a lot, but slowly & certainly, these cars are getting more and more expensive to buy.


And oh, show us a few pics of the cars you're looking for. You'll be amazed what people here can tell you about the cars when shown here! (Best to start a Photobucket account for easy copy/pasting pics here on the forum).



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A side screen TR will be a continuous process of servicing and repairs. It is not like a modern car with not much to do between services. The more you use it the better it runs.

I am a long term owner of a TR3A and there is always something waiting to be done. I enjoy all the maintenance and your local club will advise you on the best companies for help.


My recommendations are

  1. Investigate the rear end of the chassis. If this is thin in places it will be very expensive. I had to replace my chassis.
  2. Look for rust inside the front wing rear section
  3. Check how the doors line up, and close, as this can tell you a lot about the body supports
  4. The paint should not be too thick because there can be blisters waiting years to come out to see you. A real expensive paint job is a bare metal respray.
  5. Only use companies who know the model and have worked on them recently. This may be more difficult in SA
  6. There are many parts available and even small items are possible, i,e,dash board knobs. Always try and refurbish the original part. I have had major problems with useless new electrical units and hydraulic parts very recently. Both areas have specialist companies in the UK for overhaul and rebuild. i.e. master cylinder and regulator.
  7. There are improvements that you can make in many areas but the best is the new starter motor which take less current.
  8. The disc brakes and the Girling back axle are major improvements as fitted to the later cars.
  9. I am sure that you have unleaded petrol in SA , so make sure that the cylinder head has been adapted

You are right to try the forum because there is always someone who knows the answer and many members who have years of experience in all areas.


Good luck, Richard & H. :)

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Again.


The car was not sold at its asking price and even though I initially decided to step away owing to the apparent cheap and incorrect restoration I have decided to indeed have a look and buy the car if we can come to an agreement.

So I would like to make another list of things I know about the car plus a question or two to guide me in making a better decision.

I have decided that I would not go over about 17 000 GBP thinking I can spend about 5 000GBP to make it much, much better without feeling bad about it as I think almost all issues are in the interior trim.

As reference, an excellent non-exact restored 1957 TR3 was recently offered to me at 25 000 GBP and a badly half-restored ,missing pieces hybrid TR2 was offered at 11 000 GBP.


The info I have shows me that it will not be a bargain, but it is a car that I want and there are not many choices here in South Africa. I have set my heart on a TR2.

Currently a semi-educated guess indicates perhaps 20-30 driveable TR2s remain in the country and certainly fewer than 50 making any one hard to find and I'd expect good ones to be extremely rare.



1: Can one one just get a correct TR2 inside door panel or is the whole door different between TR2 and TR3? I am not sure if this car has TR3+ doors fitted or if its just the panels that are TR3A.

I am not sure how the screws the keep the panel in place work with the door itself. I would assume that there are pre-drilled holes in the door and the position and amount seems to change from TR2 to TR3 and TR3A.

2: Is there a simple way to tell which car the overdrive gearbox comes from?

3: Can one cut and paint the steel beading to resemble the original colour-coded TR2 beading, assuming one can't find correct beading anymore. Other options?


Changes to the car:

It was restored in 2000 but is an original TR2 chassis and body in straight and good condition. Front brakes are still the original drums.

"Upgrades" seem to be a girling rear axle, a TR3 engine (TS17xxx) and an overdrive gearbox. (These now seem like solid good and not even uncommon changes during TR2 restorations)

I think the TR17xxx engines are already high-port?

I believe some extra support/strengthening was added to the chassis. This also seems to match a standard restoration practice.


Obvious errors easily fixed (These fixes seem cheap enough easily coming in under my 5 000 fixes guess).

Small instruments are almost all wrong replacements and in wrong positions. (So this can be fixed over time finding working Jaeger instruments)

Speedometer and Tachometer are non-original but seem to be close to correct TR2. Also fixable if required)

Indicator switch seems missing.

Door panels seem to be from a TR3A By the shape of the door pocket and amount of screws.

There are non-standard switches and some in the wrong place ,like the simple flip switch for Overdrive and the choke is not on the instrument panel. Easily fixable too.

Carpeting is badly done. (I know one can get full carpet sets that seem not too expensive)

Leather trim in the dashboard and around the top edges of the cockpit is wrong and would need to be redone, although the seats look fine.

The air-cleaners on the carbs are wrong and there seems to be one or two small things around the engine bay. Washer bottle?


I wouldn't really buy this car as an investment because I want to own and enjoy driving one and research shows this car is solid and usable ,not needing anything mechanical.

I expect there will be fair maintenance but I am happy to learn to do this myself (what I can't do already) and the support seems even better than a modern car!






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