SPWCC Car Profile
Name: Chris Read
Club: member 3yrs
Make of car: Triumph
Model: TR 2
When did you first acquire it: Nov 1992
Why choose this car: This TR is the third that I have had.It all started in 1974 when my job took me round the better parts of Birmingham and I came across a car lot in Saltley, what's now called a bomb site car lot that had a range of old cars in it. ranging from Morris 8 to an American special with side valve v8 and a green TR2 with hardtop. It had to be mine, racy, low slung doors, powerful 2litre straight 4 that actually started, in need of work.The fibreglass wings, doors and front 3a apron had to bolt to something. £70 including transport to Stourbridge was the deal, RUE978 had had a hard life, oil cooler indicated perhaps a competitive life or low hot oil pressure.I replaced floors, outer sills, two new front wings, metal repros from Pete Cox of Cox and Buckles who used to go round buying new old stock and anything Coventry were getting rid of.They later sold out to Moss of America to make their European division. I got a front apron from a car in a scrap yard on Dudley / Oldbury border.
Eventually by 1976 it was on the road and had been joined by a Morris 8 series 2 from the same place in Saltley [later on front page of Thoroughbred & Classic Cars], a write off TR4 came and went (repurchased by the original owner after rebuild) My daughter arrived to be carried around in a Moses basket wedged in the rear behind the seats of theTR2, many enjoyable miles were covered until 1992 when another rebuild was becoming due.
By this time I was older, spares were more available it was time to take stock and I realised if I took it to pieces one more time I wouldn't get it back together again. At that time the dollar rate was good and American exports were coming back home.
I saw USU689 advertised at the right price so went for an original bodied 1954 TR2 This is the car I have now, RUE is down in Devon somewhere on SORN.
How do you describe its condition on purchase: Like many US imports the body is original and in good condition, a little bit of welding on near side front chassis from running onto pavements etc. was all that was needed plus repaint and age related plate.
Being an early car it is a 'long door' model having no outer sills but doors that go to the lower body line. Triumph soon found this a problem as you can't open the doors over a pavement and they changed the set up in 1955 to short doors. It also has a bonnet cable release mechanism, which because of cost was changed to dzus fasteners in 1955. My car was imported from Long Beach California in Jan1991 converted to RHD and painted BRG from the usual signal red. Mechanically there were problems. The sun keeps the body well but kills all rubber parts on US cars. While doing the brakes I found larger brake piston rubbers used and small master cylinders so mechanically it needed recommissioning throughout.
I had to change the rear axle as it had a TR4 axle on which is 2ins longer than original. This meant the body rubbed on the rear tyres. so I acquired a reconditioned Girling rear axle that I put on, rather than the early 2 Lockheed version as these were prone to breaking half shafts, I also put in an overdrive on 2nd 3rd & 4th gear which makes a world of difference in modern driving conditions. Lastly I also put on electric fan to help cooling after long hard runs when the engine block acts like a heat sink.
So now I'm fairly happy with the mechanical condition especially reverting to steel wheels after being photographed going up Prescott with the early 48 spoke wires on. It showed the movement between stub axle and rim that I found too worrying.
What do I like best about ownership: spares now readily available, be wary of some copy parts , wind in hair driving, easy to work on, rugged 4 cylinder Ferguson tractor engine.
Just getting out on the A roads towards Wales on a clear day.
people you meet and friendships made
What other vehicles do you have: Citroen Traction Avant light 15 1951 which I haven't had for as long as the TR but I wanted a car with a roof and enjoy the quirkiness of the French front wheel drive monocoque construction and I remember the Maigret TV series. But that’s another story.