The Triumph TR series is one of the great success stories in the history of the sports car and many would say that the TR5 is the pick of the line. It was a development of the TR4A which, in turn, was based on the TR3A chassis, but with independent rear suspension and styling by Giovanni Michelotti. The TR5 had Triumph's 2.5-litre straight-six engine which gave 150 bhp and 168 lb/ft torque which translated into 120 mph (0-60 mph in 8.8 seconds) with a very flexible mid-range. This car has the two most desirable options, wire wheels and overdrive, the latter recently reconditioned.
Until 1991 it was owned by a Triumph collector and it has covered 84,000 kms from new. The engine has been rebuilt and once won a competition for the best sounding engine at a meeting in France. Finished in green with a light tan leather interior, it has the original seats and new carpets.
|Vehicle:||1968 Triumph TR5|
|Number Produced:||2,947 TR5s; 8,484 TR2 50s|
|Original List Price:||TR5 985 pounds; TR50, $3,095|
|SCM Valuation:||TR5 N/A; TR250 $8,500-$10,500|
|Tune Up Cost:||$250|
|Chassis Number Location:||Top of left inner front fender wall|
|Engine Number Location:||Stamp on left side of engine block|
|Club Info:||Vintage Triumph Register 15218 W. Warren Dearborn, MI 48126|
|Alternatives:||MGB, Datsun 2000, Lotus Elan Series 4|
The Triumph TR5 was probably the best of its line, with a new 150bhp six-cylinder engine adapted from the Triumph 2000 under its Michelotti-designed bonnet, using fuel injection and a hot cam to produce performance equal to many 1990s sport sedans. It could do 0-60 in under nine seconds, turn a quarter in under 17 seconds and beat the four-cylinder TR4A to 100 mph by 20 seconds! The independent rear suspension, carried over from the TR4A but with a beefed-up rear axle and wider wheels, gave it brawny good looks. British touches like big dials set in a flat wood dashboard added to its charm.
Unfortunately, we never saw this car in the United States. Instead, what we got was the wimped-out “Triumph 250.” Yes, it had the same six-cylinder engine as the TR5, but Triumph engineers couldn’t come close to meeting 1968 model year U.S. emissions requirements with the hotter engine, so they installed a plain vanilla cam and dual Zenith-Stromberg carburetors. Whoopee.
At 104 bhp, the TR250 offered absolutely no performance gains over its externally identical four-cylinder predecessor. To differentiate the 250 from the 4A, they painted a hideous “racing stripe” across the front of the bonnet.
After the TR250, it only got worse for Triumph as build quality really started to deteriorate. In today’s market, while a 250 will fetch more than other six-cylinder Triumphs, it isn’t nearly as desirable as the earlier four-cylinder cars. In spite of all the negative aspects of the TR250, its British sports car touches generated enough U.S. demand that Triumph produced three TR250s for every TR5 and fewer than 3,000 TR5s left the factory. The result is that the TR5 is very much in demand today in Britain, and about as hard to find as an old-fashioned pub. The few that do come on the market often wind up being sold, as this one was, into European collections. The money paid for this TR5 is reasonable for a car that has average mileage and is in good condition.
Should one actually turn up at a U.S. auction, even with its right-hand drive, it will fetch a reasonable premium over the $9,500 that its poor-relation TR250 sibling would merit.-Gary Anderson, Publisher, British Car Magazine