When Triumph launched the cheap and fun to run TR4, it was meant as a more civilised machine than the car it replaced.
To this end it offered such features as wind-up windows, a large boot and enough power to make for comfortable cruising.
With its old-fashioned separate chassis, it could have been seen as outdated at the time, but it offered numerous firsts in the class including standard front disc brakes, fresh-air vents and a Surrey (‘targa’) top four years before Porsche.
Evolving with age, the TR4 kept pace with the competition thanks to rack-and-pinion steering replacing the TR3’s steering box, a synchromesh bottom gear (rare for ’61), a 4in wider track front and rear compared to its predecessor, plus semi-trailing arm independent rear suspension on the 4A.
The coil springs of the later setup transformed the sports car’s ride, with no adverse effects on the handling. The 4A also brought with it a folding hood, while more power thanks to improved manifolds and head work compensated for the new model’s extra weight.
If it’s an everyday classic you are looking for, then the 4A could well be the better choice, which means this example is particularly attractive. Not only is it in fabulous condition, having covered just 1000 miles over the past 15 years, it was also the last 4A to roll off the production line, with the paperwork to prove it.
Mind you, if it’s a challenge you hanker after, TR4s can be had for less. The cheapest machine we could find needs more than a little work.
Honestly described as in need of ‘total restoration’ it is suffering from rust in all the usual places, including the sills, wings, bulkhead, floors and chassis. Other problem areas include rear axles that can crack, engine overheating caused by internal silting and noisy layshaft bearings, which means a gearbox rebuild is imminent.
Or you could go straight out and buy something like this. Originally exported to the US, the car was brought to the UK in the ’90s and has been subject to a complete restoration. It comes with invoices for jobs including an engine rebuild and extensive work on the body. It’s described as ‘fast-road spec’, which means a wilder cam, plus a high-port cylinder head and a claimed 125bhp.
So if it’s an open-top classic you want that won’t feel out of its depth on the motorway, has plenty of space for luggage and will provide fun in spades in the twisty stuff, the TR4 is worthy of your attention. Use our free guide to buy it and you’ll increase your chances of getting a good one.