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1963 Triumph TR4 Works Rally Replica

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Seller

tr4tony

1963 Triumph TR4 Works Rally Replica

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 1
  • Chassis Number: CT24316 LO
  • Engine: 2188
  • Gearbox: Manual overdrive
  • Color: Powder Blue
  • Interior: Shadows Blue

Background

The Triumph TR4 was a much more modern car than the TR3 it replaced, marking a significant change of direction for Triumph. As such, it was something of a gamble but one that paid off handsomely: the press, public and dealers all loved it and more than 40,000 eventually found homes across the globe.

With hindsight, the TR4’s success was guaranteed; it looks sensational, goes like stink, yet is still simple enough that the talented home mechanic can maintain and repair it with only a few simple hand tools. Remember, not only was the world still struggling to haul itself out of post-war austerity but cars of the period still needed regularly fettling with 3,000-mile oil changes and routine de-cokes being the rule… 

Of course, such a well-engineered and beautifully balanced car found a ready home in motorsport too and February 1962 saw the first TR4s being prepared for a life in top-flight competition.

Powder Blue was chosen as the team colour to make the cars easily recognisable and they enjoyed an early success taking 2nd, 3rd and 4th in class on the 1962 Tulip Rally, while the Alpine Rally of 1962 saw them placed 1st and 4th.

The TR4 had arrived on the world stage and inspired a whole generation to build their own replicas, with varying degrees of success - and none are more faithful to the original than this, our next auction listing.

The Vehicle

The base car was originally built on the 2nd of August 1963 and is reputed to have been road rallied until it returned to the UK from Los Angeles, California in May 1989.

It was then built to its current specification in 1989/90 by ex-Austin Rover works manager Evan MacKenzie; as you might expect of a man with his experience, he hand-picked a number of the original Triumph Competitions Department mechanics to help him, along with Chris Carter of Chestnut House Sportscars, a leading TR racing privateer at the time. The specification will be described in detail later, but suffice it to say that no corners were cut...

It has since competed in many major historic rallies including the Pirelli Marathon, and has been driven by Roger Clark on The Charrington’s Historic Rally and Tony Dron in the Clumber Park Rally. The last quarter century has seen many other notable successes including the first and only Gold Medal on the very first LEJOG (Lands’ End to John O Groats) endurance rally as well as a long list of club rallies and major European events including the Liege Rally, RAC Rally of the Tests, and the Monte Carlo Historique in the hands of folk such as works navigator Willy Cave and well-known privateer Peter Scott.

More recently the car has competed in the 2018 Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, the 2018 Lombard Bath Rally, and the 2019, 25th Anniversary LEJOG. It is also believed to be the only TR4 to have run on Goodwood Festival of Speed’s rally stage, and a letter from Lord March forms part of the TR4’s comprehensive history file.

Known to him since the mid-1990s, the owner, a keen regularity and competition driver & preparer himself, describes this TR4 as “well developed, reliable and built to historic legal specification. It is ready to rally and has recently been serviced and spanner checked.”

On the Outside

The car is constructed with a modified inner steel bodyshell as per the original works cars but has been fitted with lightweight aluminium outer wings and an aluminium boot lid – and the roof is a rare ‘Surrey’ two-piece aluminium hardtop.

It has been painted in Triumph Powder Blue which is the correct 1963/64 colour and the car presents beautifully; while so many competition cars are more about the practicalities than the aesthetics, this one balances both better than many we see.

The owner describes it as being in “generally good condition throughout, but with various chips, marks and blemishes as you would expect from an actively used car”, a description we endorse.

The car sits on a set of 5.5x15” KN SCP alloy wheels shod with matching Michelin Alpin all-weather tyres.  

Of course, no rally car would be complete with upgraded lighting and the winning bidder will find themselves the proud owner of a set of powerful PIAA 80 lamps mounted on a works-pattern auxiliary lamp bar which has an additional base plate fitted to allow the fitment of four spot lamps for use outside the UK or on a stage event. The TR4 is also fitted with an SFT 576 reversing light on the boot lid as per the works cars.

On the Inside

The TR4’s interior is as purposeful, well-designed and comprehensively equipped as the rest of the car. As you can see from the photos, it is fitted with standard Shadows Blue interior trim panels, along with a combination of carpeting and rubber mats as per the works-spec cars and current UK Road Rally regulations.

The seats are Sparco Sprint 2000 fitted with LUKE four-point harnesses. Interestingly, the driver’s seat is off-set to provide perfect heel-and-toeing. Such a move is typical of the thought and care that has gone into every single aspect of this car’s build.

A Safety Devices four-point, bolt-in bar is fitted with diagonal and seat belt mounts. It is anchored to the chassis via the rear body mounts and to the bodyshell using triple bolts to the wheel arches, and double bolts to the rear tray. Speaking of safety, there is a floor-mounted AFFF extinguisher fitted, too.

The dashboard is to rally specification, and is based on a standard left-hand-drive setup with additional switching and instrumentation. It is fitted with a Brantz rally clock and Brantz 2 Tripmeter with front wheel and gearbox sensors for UK and European rally use (i.e. it has two displays and no average speed measurement). The wiring is there for a VH eTrip rally computer fitted for European events where it is permitted (the meter itself is not fitted). A Peltor intercom system allows easy communication.

Interior navigation lights are fitted to the roll-over bar and there is a flexilight on the ashboard panel. In short, it has everything you need and nothing that you don’t.

The boot is a thing of joy. Home to the car’s jack, wheel brace, spare wheel (which is, of course a matching alloy wheel with a new Michelin Alpin tyre…) and fuel tank, it also contains a comprehensive package of spares. This car really is a turn-key, complete package.

Oh, and the steering wheel is the very one that Roger Clark used on The Charrington’s Historic Rally. You can watch the Top Gear report on the rally at https://youtu.be/8UBzM94qOMU

Work to do? Both the seats and harnesses are out of date and will require re-dating and/or replacing for hardcore competition use, but are still perfectly usable for road regularity events.

Underneath

The car’s specification is extensive, so why not make yourself a cuppa and set aside half-a-n-hour to read through it?

It comprises, in brief

• Engine

The FIA-homologated ‘87mm’ 2,188cc engine is fitted with forged pistons, lightened and balanced conrods, a nitrided and balanced crankshaft, a works-specification rally camshaft and followers, and a late 511695 type heavily reworked cast steel cylinder head complete with homologation-sized inlet and exhaust valves, double springs, mechanical rockers and hardened shaft.  

The cylinder block is internally prepared to works-spec with widened oil passages, nodular cast liners, uprated bolts throughout, and a crankshaft-mounted harmonic damper.

The distributer has been rebuilt and recalibrated by specialist Martin Jay of Distributer Doctor. A high speed starter motor and oil breather/catch tank are fitted.

• Carburation and fueling 

The mechanical fuel pump has been removed from the block and the aperture blanked off. Fuel is now supplied with twin electric pumps and pressure regulators that have been neatly located under the fuel tank.

The petrol comes from a boot-mounted, aluminium 60-litre foam-filled fuel tank. The internally run fuel lines are as per the works TR4s and the fuel lines in the engine bay are braided.

Twin period-original Italian Weber 45DCOE carburettors sit on period SAH inlet manifolds, with the correct linkage and air filtration.

 • Exhaust and manifold 

The TR4 exhales through a Revington TR stainless-steel, spring-jointed 2¼-inch rally exhaust system fitted to strengthened mountings throughout and its twin boxes custom are located high in the chassis. It connects to the engine via a stainless-steel, high-flow competition manifold.

It is, as you’ve probably already guessed, fully compliant with modern road rally regulations and trackday noise limits.

• Cooling 

Cooling is taken care of via an uprated five-core radiator and pressurized overflow tank that is ducted into the front of the car with a custom aluminium shroud to replace the standard cardboard type.

The car is also fitted with a vertically mounted 13-row oil cooler fed from the oil filter housing.

• Gearbox 

The gearbox is a competition works-spec OE Triumph gearbox fitted with an uprated layshaft and bearings, steel bushes throughout, works ratios and uprated bearings.

It also has an uprated high-pressure, Laycock A-type overdrive modified with uprated clutches, accumulator pump, bearings, and linings. Overdrive on all forward gears is selected via a stalk on the steering column.

The whole lot is mated to a heavy duty competition clutch and uprated propshaft with larger UJ’s fitted front and back.

• Rear Axle and Differential 

The rear axle is to works specification and fitted with a limited slip differential and competition 4.33:1 final drive ratio as per the FIA Homologation, and uprated Timkin bearings and seals. Standard pattern driveshafts and six-bolt hubs complete the specification.

• Brakes 

The front brakes are solid discs and late calipers as per the FIA Homologation and UK MSA regulations. They are fitted with Mintex M1144 pads and piped through a balanced dual-circuit that separates the front and rear hydraulic circuits.

The rear brakes are nine-inch homologation-spec aluminium finned drums fitted with Mintex M20 linings, an uprated shoe hold-down kit and OE Girling cylinders.

The handbrake is a tunnel-mounted, works-spec cable arrangement using a Revington TR kit. It is MSA-legal for road events.

• Suspension 

The front suspension comprises late TR4 negative camber uprights fitted with large stub axles. The hubs are aluminium and to works-spec including larger Timkin bearings.

Koni adjustable shocks and uprated coil springs are as per works spec, and adjustable top mounts enable adjustment of both camber and castor.

The standard production wishbones have been assembled with polybushes and stainless-steel inserts, and an RTR front anti-roll bar and mounting kit has been fitted.

The car’s rear suspension is similarly impressive, comprising 175lb rally-spec leaf springs fitted with eyebush turnover coils around the shackles as per the works cars.

Polybushes and solid bushings are fitted to reinforced pick-up points, and the car is also fitted with the very rare twin-valve DAS 9 Armstrong lever-arm dampers and strengthened drop links mounted to works-pattern reinforced rear turrets.

• Chassis 

The chassis has been strengthened to 1963 works specification after consultating with the original Triumph Competitions Department mechanics. As such, it benefits from comprehensive strengthening to key areas including the front and rear suspension wishbone and damper mounts, the front and rear turrets, the engine cross member fillets, and the gearbox mounting plates.

There is also additional cross-tube and spring hanger reinforcement. The chassis leg has been chamfered to accommodate a 2¼-inch exhaust system.

Many of these modifications were carried through into the ultimate specification for the four Triumph team cars for their last international event in 1964 and survive on the four factory-built cars today.

• Wiring & Electrical 

The car is fitted with a specialist Revington TR replacement wiring loom which is a close copy of the loom in car number ‘6VC’ but manufactured in modern material and fitted with modern connectors to allow fitment of an engine bay fuse and relay panel.

The dynamo has been replaced with a high output OE DENSO alternator mounted on a custom-made bracket set, with the appropriate wiring loom changes fed into the loom design. A spare coil is mounted in the engine bay, ready to take over if needed.

The car is also fitted with a pair of period Italian FIAMM twin airhorns.

• Underside  

The underside of the car is protected by a 1963 ST customer-spec removable sump guard with an additional aluminium ‘Liege’ plate which protects the engine, gearbox, exhaust system and propshaft from damage.

The car is fully undersealed, and this was reapplied in 2019. 

The owner has driven one of the original factory TR4s and says that this one drives just as well. He goes on to say that it is “light and powerful”, “sweet-handling and well behaved” and “displays that happy balanced handling that takes a while to find”. 

We’ve driven it and can report that it feels as strong as an ox, and handles – and goes – every bit as well as the owner says. There’s plenty of built-in redundancy in key mechanical components too, and it’s care like that that builds winning vehicles.

Problems? The owner admits that it does leak a little oil but, as every enthusiast knows, “that’s just a TR4 thing.''

History Highlights

The TR4 has a series of period sets of documentation including an FIA Historic Passport, period FIA Homologation papers, a FIVA card and a great deal of period literature and publicity material from its various appearances in magazines and on events. An MSA HVIF is in preparation and can be submitted in either the current or future owner’s name.

The Triumph’s MOT certificate expires in October 2020, and was gained without incurring a single advisory point. The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever and it comes with a number of expired MOT certificates. There is also an old bill for more than £9,000-worth of work in November 2017.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been built to the very highest standard.

NB: The cherished registration number ‘555 VC’ is currently on a retention certificate. Valued at £4,000 to £5,000, it available by separate negotiation. By comparison ‘55 VC’ is currently offered for sale at £18,000, and ‘5VC’ is the number plate allocated to, and retained on, one of the original ex-works cars.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

NB. We know that many of you will be limiting your social exposure over the coming days and weeks, so if you’d rather not come to see the car in person, please give us a call and we can shoot a personal video of the car honing in on any areas you’d like us to concentrate on.

Or, even better, why not contact us with your mobile number and we can set up a WhatsApp video call? You get to direct us in real-time, giving you a virtual personal viewing experience while maintaining the lockdown. We like to call it ‘The Market’s 2020 Vision’…

What We Think

When you’re buying a car like this you are paying for the engineering that has gone into it, the equipment that is bolted onto it, and the hundreds, if not thousands, of hours that are necessary to create such a faithful, and highly competitive, rally replica.

Very well regarded in its sphere for the past 30 years, it’s got an impeccable provenance including that ever-elusive Goodwood connection, which serve it well should the new owner fancy taking it there.

So, a car like this isn’t going to be cheap. Capable of competing at the very highest level, it would cost you nigh-on six-figures and a year or so to recreate it – assuming that you could persuade those in the know to delve into their records to help you build it …

Which means our guide price of between £27,000 and £40,000 represents outstanding value given the car’s quality, provenance, and capabilities. Plus, of course, such a well-know and beautifully engineered car will always find a ready market when the time comes to let it go.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the Contact Seller button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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