For parts support to be any better, Girl Scouts would have to give away
TR250 distributor caps with their cookie orders

Among all the great stories of British car industry ineptitude, the genesis of the Triumph TR250 must rank among the best.
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. Thus the hastily designed TR250 was pushed out the door in its place, destined to live for just a single model year.
It was based on the same Giovanni Michelotti-styled TR4 body that dated back to 1961, but with an important change. In place of the TR4A's agricultural 2.2-liter four-cylinder, the TR250 got a smooth-revving inline six, essentially a stroked version of the motor found in the Triumph 2000 sedans.
Calling this new powerplant "understressed" is just a kind way of calling it underachieving. In a feat seldom matched by modern engine designers, Triumph engineers nearly attained a less-than-coveted output of fifty hp per liter. With an additional 300 cc of displacement and two more cylinders than the four-cylinder unit it replaced, the inline six managed only six more horsepower (111 hp vs. 105). At least torque was improved, from 128 to 152 lb-ft.
Officially, Triumph blamed U.S. emission regulations for not importing the potent Lucas fuel-injected TR5, essentially the same car as the Stromberg-carbureted TR250 but with about 45 additional horses. (Curiously, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and BMW all managed to certify mechanically fuel-injected engines during the same era.) Many suspect that Triumph just didn't have enough faith in its U.S. dealer network to service what was a rather finicky fuel-injection system.
But the TR250 wasn't all bad. Even in carbureted form, the new six was a pleasant engine. Creamy smooth and with abundant torque, it could propel the TR250 to 60 mph in about ten seconds, pretty much on par with a Healey 3000. The exhaust note is also up there with the all-time British greats.
The TR250 resembles the TR4A, with the addition of a silver transverse hood stripe. While this may not be everyone's cup of tea, it does lend a period look. Behind the wheel, the TR250 is quite a nice car as far as British sports cars go. The seats are comfortable and offer decent support, and the cockpit, although narrow, is reasonably accommodating for two average-sized people. Happily, little engine heat invades the interior.
The full complement of Smiths gauges, although minus the chrome rings of earlier cars, is still handsome. Unexpectedly, face-level ventilation in the form of two "eyeball" vents on the dash provides welcome relief on warm days. The dash itself, while changed to a matte finish for "safety" reasons, is still a real plank of wood. No tacky rubber-and-vinyl injustice suffered here like that on the post-1967 MGB.
While the TR250 inherited as standard the optional independent rear suspension from the TR4A, don't expect it to perform like a modern multi-link setup. The car still points its nose skyward under acceleration and dives on braking, and the ride is fairly bouncy. On the positive side, the servo-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are more than adequate. The car is a great around-town driver, though overdrive is a nice option to have for higher-speed cruising.
Other desirable options include 72-spoke painted wire wheels (the standard setup was steel wheels with nasty fake Rostyle hubcaps), a tonneau cover and Michelin X redline tires. The most fully kitted car I have seen had all of the above, plus dealer-installed a/c, dealer-option magnesium wheels, and the rare "surrey top." This consisted of a handsome, wrap-around fixed backlight with a removable center section in either steel or fabric. No convertible top was fitted to these cars, and they look fantastic presented this way.
The usual considerations in approaching any old car apply to the TR250 as well. Rust is the number one enemy, but not only in the floors and body panels-in the frames as well. This is especially true in the vital rear trailing arm mounting points. Drivetrains are generally robust, with the weakest point being the clutch. The Roadster Factory ( offers a heavy-duty clutch package that is the best fix in this area, and runs $319. It also operates a rebuilding business for, among other things, the rear hubs and half shafts that always seem to be in need of attention. These will set you back $269 (plus a $150 refund if you send back the cores).
For parts support to be any better, Girl Scouts would have to give away TR250 distributor caps with cookie orders. Nearly everything is available, and committed suppliers even reproduce items such as the unique green radiator hoses that the cars came with when new.
The future collectibility of the TR250 is an interesting question. Most attention in naming the heir apparent to the Big Healeys has been focused on the TR6, the obvious next British sports car that should see serious appreciation. I'm not sure, however, that I agree-and the reason is the TR250.
British Leyland built 92,000 TR6s in a production run that ended less than 30 years ago. Furthermore, Karmann did such a competent job designing the TR6 that it barely looks dated today. This means it lacks much of the vintage charm of a Healey or MGA.
The TR250, however, is another story. The safety regulations of 1967 didn't hurt it badly, and the six-cylinder makes it an infinitely better car than its well-regarded older sister, the TR4A. The short tailfins, vestigial hood bulge, and full-wheel cutouts give it a tough look that's firmly rooted in the early sixties. Combine this with its single-year-only status and I think the TR250 is a real sleeper, the best alternative to spending forty or fifty large on a Healey 3000.

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