1949 Triumph Roadster


• Fully restored during 2007-09.
• Highly presentable throughout.
• Just five owners since new.


The Triumph Roadster was designed in the closing days of World War Two and manufactured by Britain's Standard Motor Company from March, 1946 to October, 1949. It was first available as the 18TR until 1948, then as the 20TR to 1949, a finely-restored example of which is offered here.

Actor John Nettles pootled a maroon 1949 Triumph Roadster 20TR around Jersey in the 1980s television series ‘Bergerac’. Two cars were used in the production of the series, which ran for nine seasons and six Christmas specials.

The only significant upgrade in the Roadster's production came in September 1948 for the 1949 models, when 2088cc engine, transmission and rear axle from the firm’s newly-introduced Vanguard model were fitted. The four-speed gearbox paired with the 1776cc engine on the 18TR was replaced with a three-speed unit. 

Apart from a 3bhp increase in power and top speed, minor modifications to the mounting points, the steering, chassis and suspension were unaltered. This later version of the Triumph Roadster was given the model designation 20TR.

Mostly hand-built, only 2,501 examples of the 18TR and 2,000 of the larger-engined 20TR were manufactured during its four-year production run, which terminated in October, 1949.

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GSP 585 received its first UK registration in February, 1949 and was looked after by four former keepers before being acquired six decades later by the current owner in September, 2009.

The car is rare, being number 549 of just 2,000 examples of the 20TR manufactured. It underwent a full restoration during in 2007 to 2009 and presents in truly remarkable condition.

The current owner has just celebrated a significant birthday and has reluctantly decided to offer up this rare car to another home.

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Along with the V5C, there are a number of service/repair invoices totalling around £1,600 acquired in recent months. There is also a nostalgic registration book from the 1960’s showing a number of stamps from that period.

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During the car’s restoration over 14 years ago, parts of the original interior were retained where possible and overall the inside presents in truly exceptional condition.

The veneered dashboard is original, as are the instruments and air vents, all of which are in working condition. The refurbished door cards and fittings are in very good order as are the replacement carpets and other soft furnishings. A new folding roof and hood cover were manufactured and fitted at the time of the car’s restoration and are in excellent condition and full working order.

As was common in automotive design in post-war Britain, the boot houses a pair of ‘dickie seats’ for a pair of kiddies – or worse, two adults. The compartment even has its own windscreen as shown. Cute! 

The boot also houses a full-sized spare wheel and is tidy and well presented, as is the spotless engine bay. Both undersides of the boot lid and bonnet halves are in excellent condition.

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The original colour of this post-war car was – quelle surprise – black. However, during its rebuild the decision was made to finish the car is this delightful bluish-grey, which we think adds character and gravitas to what is a wonderful mode of transport.

All of the car’s brightwork is in very good condition. The front, rear and side sills of the car are blemish-free, as are the door under-sills. The condition of the car highlights the attention to detail and quality of finish given at the time of its restoration.

A cursory glance down each flank of the car shows no evidence of damage and the front number plate, bumper and transom – for all their vulnerability – remain blemish free.

The wing mirrors were replaced with larger units as the mirror areas of the originals were deemed too small.

The only cosmetic issue discovered was a scuff to the left side rear bodywork (as pictured). A recent occurrence, it was hastily covered over with a sealant to protect against coastal elements until a suitable time of repair.

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At the coastal photo location, the car fired up on the fourth attempt which isn’t too shabby considering the car hadn’t been started in over three months. Once steady, the engined ticked over sweetly with a distinctive four-pot burble emanating from the exhaust.

Repositioning the car for these photographs, the gearbox engaged smoothly and the clutch connected with no drama, requiring a just gentle rev to get underway.

The car underwent its last MoT in July, 2011 at 29,535 miles, which it passed. In the intervening ten years, the car has been driven just 4,524 miles. In its coastal environment, the current owner has deemed it prudent to always keep the car garaged away from the elements.

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For those of us who appreciate our British motoring heritage, there’s something enigmatic about the smell of old leather and the sonorous note of an ageing but trusty four-pot.

In the all-too-brief time the writer spent in and around the car, it was easy to comprehend the passion that continues unabated for classic British motoring. Being a reluctant sale, this elegant motor car must now go to a new keeper who hopefully will care for it in the manner to which it has evidently become accustomed.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1949
  • Make Triumph
  • Model 20TR Roadster
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 34,059 Miles
  • Engine size 2088
  • Town Milford on Sea
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hampshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
37 bids
  • ni•••• £28,000 05/11/21
  • pr•••• £27,750 05/11/21
  • pr•••• £27,500 05/11/21
  • ni•••• £27,250 05/11/21
  • pr•••• £27,000 05/11/21
  • ni•••• £26,750 05/11/21
  • pr•••• £26,500 05/11/21
  • pr•••• £26,250 05/11/21
  • Ro•••• £26,000 05/11/21
  • Ro•••• £25,750 05/11/21

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