1966 Triumph TR4A IRS Roadster

Highlights


• Iconic British soft-top motoring.
• Early 1990s full ‘nut-and-bolt’ restoration.
• Presents in remarkable condition for its 55 years.

Background


The Triumph TR4A is a sports car built by the Triumph Motor Company at its Coventry factory between 1965 and 1967. It was an evolution of the TR4 designed by Giovanni Michelotti, who also designed for Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Lancia and other Triumph models including the Stag.

The car had been favourably received for its overall performance and many amenities but came under heavy criticism for its somewhat harsh ride. Subsequently, the TR4's Hotchkiss drive system was replaced with an independent rear suspension, indicated by an ‘IRS’ badge at the rear of the TR4A.

The redesign had the desired effect, with reviewers commenting on the improved ride comfort, although some felt that the car's handling had not improved.

Apart from the IRS badge and increase in width demanded by the new rear suspension, other changes to the TR4A included a revised grille and the marque’s new ‘global’ hood badge. There was also a new line of chrome trim on the side, starting near the rear edge of the door and ending at the front of the car with integrated signal/marker lights, which were moved from their earlier position in the corners of the grille. New smaller front bumpers and a convertible top patterned after the one from the Herald completed the exterior differences.

Inside, the fly-off handbrake lever was relocated to the transmission tunnel between two updated seats, the gearshift lever was shortened and the white painted steel dashboard was finished in walnut.

In 1966 the TR4A IRS sold in the UK for approximately £980. Optional wire wheels added £38, overdrive £54, heater £15 and seat belts at £10 for a pair.

The History


According to the Certified Copy of a Factory Record, issued by the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, the car’s build was concluded on Thursday, 19th May, 1966. The following Wednesday, it was dispatched to Standard Triumph main dealer Hollingsdrake’s of Stockport and received its first UK registration two weeks later on the 9th of June. Just a month later, England won the World Cup.

Factory fitted options included a set of wire-spoke wheels shod with 5.90-15 crossplys, independent rear suspension, removable hard top and a heater. The car left the factory with a white paint finish and black leather upholstery. It must be noted that the removable hard top and the car parted ways many years ago and is not included in the sale.

Since new, DCU 988D has delivered the thrill of open-top motoring to no less than 11 former keepers.

The car underwent a thorough ‘body-off, nut-and-bolt’ restoration in the early 1990s – a comprehensive photographic record of which will accompany the car. A small selection of those photographs is reproduced in the gallery below.

In October, 2017 the car was acquired by its current keeper who has enjoyed around 3,500 miles in the car. It comes with a current MoT to the end of August, 2022. The reason for sale is to make way for an evolving collection of British classics.

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The Paperwork


Along with the V5C registered in the current keeper’s name, there is the MoT certificate, the aforementioned Heritage Certificate, the original Owner’s Handbook and an expansive and categorised Lever Arch file of parts, service and maintenance records. 

An interesting read is the two A4 lists pictured in the gallery which detail the work undertaken since its restoration in the early 1990s, up to 2017. 

The Interior


During the car’s restoration, much of the original interior appears to have been retained where possible and presents very smartly.

The veneered dashboard is original, as are the instruments, split-rivetted wooden steering wheel, switchgear and air vents, all of which are in working condition. The door cards and fitted brightwork are in very good order as are the carpets and other soft furnishings. A new folding roof was manufactured and fitted at the time of the car’s restoration and is in excellent condition and working order. A cover for the folded roof resides in the boot and is also in as-new condition.

It must be mentioned that the veneer dashboard is showing signs of cracked and peeling varnish across its width. Online research suggests that a new replacement veneered dashboard for the TR4 IRS is obtainable for under £300 should the new keeper wish to upgrade it. In addition, the leather-clad centre console would benefit from rehydration and rejuvenation with a spot of dubbin.

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The Exterior


The bodywork is in exceptional condition throughout and the tidy boot houses a full-sized wire-spoke spare wheel. Both undersides of the boot lid and bonnet are in excellent condition.

All of the car’s brightwork is in very good order and the exterior electrics work as intended. The handsome wire-spoke wheels are shod with a full set of Vredestein T-Trac tyres which are in excellent condition.

The original colour of the car was white but, during its rebuild the decision was made to finish the car is this delightful red which we think adds character and gravitas to what is a wonderful mode of classic British motoring.

A cursory glance down each flank of the car shows no evidence of damage and the front number plate, bumper and valance – for all their vulnerability – remain in remarkably good condition. 

The front, rear and side sills of the car are blemish-free, as are each of the door under-sills (always high rust-risk areas). The condition of the car highlights the attention to detail and quality of finish given to the car’s restoration – which, we must remember, was over 30 years ago.

With all yings come some yangs…but don’t fret - there are very few on this car. There is a chip to the curved bodywork over the left headlamp, a paint blemish at the top of the driver’s A-pillar and a slight bubbling of paint on the lower leading edge of the passenger door. All are pictured in the gallery. Fortunately, a tin of matching paint resides in the boot and of course will accompany the car.

The Mechanics


At the photo location, the car fired up at the first ask and settled into an appreciative burble. Underneath, the car presents in good order with the usual light oxidation present for a car of this mileage and age.

Online MoT records show that the car has been driven just 7,700 miles since 2007 and again cognisant of the 30 years since its restoration, the car’s mechanicals are in remarkably good condition.

The Appeal


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 a trusty four-pot.

The many surviving TR4A IRS examples appear to be almost exclusively lovingly cared-for and there is a wealth of information and technical support available online via TR driver’s clubs and associations, the members of which are as knowledgeable and enthusiastic as they come.

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 true Brit-grit motoring. There can be little doubt that DCU 988D will be a worthy addition to any new home willing to look after it and keep it in the manner to which it has evidently become accustomed over the years.

G’won, because you’re here, pop on a cheeky bid…you know you want to!

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Please see our FAQ's here and our Terms & Conditions here

Vehicle specification
  • Year 1966
  • Make Triumph
  • Model TR4A
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 10,845 Miles
  • Engine size 2138
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Dorset
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
39 bids
  • Jo•••• £29,250 24/04/22
  • Gr•••• £29,000 24/04/22
  • Jo•••• £28,750 24/04/22
  • Gr•••• £28,500 24/04/22
  • Jo•••• £28,250 24/04/22
  • Gr•••• £28,000 24/04/22
  • Jo•••• £27,750 24/04/22
  • Gr•••• £27,500 24/04/22
  • Jo•••• £27,250 24/04/22
  • Gr•••• £27,000 24/04/22

The Gallery

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