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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/17/14 3:20 p.m.

By David S. Wallens and Tim Suddard.

Most all sports car enthusiasts know the Triumph TR6, the iconic sports car from the first half of the 1970s. It was a huge success on both the road and the track. Then there’s the TR4, the brand’s model that helped define the 1960s.

The one-year-only TR250, however, tends to get lost in the shuffle. It marries the Michelotti-designed TR4 body with the six-cylinder engine that makes the TR6 such a brute.

Is it the best of both worlds or a wayward blip in Triumph history?

Up until the 1953 release of the TR2, the Triumph brand was associated with family cars and saloons, not sporting machines. While MG offered true sports cars both before and after the war, Triumph had no such animals in their lineup.

The TR1 show car, displayed at the 1952 London Motor Show, changed all that and gave birth to the TR2 production machine. Where the MG T-series still had cycle fenders and a prewar look, the Triumph was thoroughly modern.

Okay, so maybe the chassis, engine and suspension came from the brand’s production sedans, but the body was totally cutting edge: low-cut doors, bullet-shaped headlight housings, and flowing rear fenders that terminated in simple taillights. The TR2 immediately turned Triumph into one of the world’s most important sports car producers.

The quite similar TR3 replaced the TR2 for the 1955 model year. Triumph made minor tweaks, but the bulk of the car was a carry-over–even for the later, refined TR3A and TR3B iterations. Despite this sameness, the brand’s reputation only grew.

Something new and exciting appeared for 1961: the TR4. The boxier yet still soft body provided room for a real trunk plus windup windows. Underneath was another big upgrade: rack-and-pinion steering. The chassis and drivetrain, though, could be called carry-over items, all dating back a decade or two. Fans still ate up the new car.

If there was something close to a major update during the ’60s, it was the independent rear that coincided with the 1965 release of the TR4A. Plus, a revised frame was part of the new package. The rest of the car was made up of, you guessed it, carry-overs.

Big news was on the horizon for 1969, though, in the form of the TR6. The German design firm Karmann squared off the nose and tail to create a contemporary look, while more grunt came courtesy of the 2.5-liter, inline six-cylinder engine slipped under the hood. The Triumph sports car had moved upmarket–even though the rest of the car contained recycled items.

Sandwiched between the TR4A and the TR6, though, was a shortlived model that merged the classic TR4 body with the TR6’s six-cylinder engine. In the home market, it was called the TR5. Americans knew it as the TR250, and it was only available for the 1968 model year.

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maseratiguy New Reader
11/19/14 9:20 p.m.

Problem is the price differential for basically the same car /looks aside. No?

Woody MegaDork
11/19/14 9:24 p.m.

I've always loved TR6s but if I had to choose, I'd take a TR250.

I saw this beauty at Lime Rock a couple of years ago.

 photo LimeRockMonday09-03-2012306.jpg

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
11/19/14 10:12 p.m.

When the dust settles, Id still rather have a TR 4. Why you may ask...The TR 4 was availible with an optional hand crank, thats why!

Seriously though, I think the 4 is a bit more...Its on the tip of my tongue but I cant seem to find the right words...I dont know, "cleaner" perhaps.

I never really cared for the 4A either. I guess Im not a fan of Triumphs IRS.


oldtin UberDork
11/19/14 10:21 p.m.

I like the TR250 over the TR6, but am a little stuck on TR4s. I like some of the details a bit better - better looking grill, no fussy side trim and I like the painted dash on earlier TR4s better than wood dashes.

Woody MegaDork
11/19/14 10:26 p.m.

I have been driving past this on my way to work for twelve years. So far, I have resisted the urge to try to buy it.

 photo TR4004-1.jpg

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
11/19/14 10:28 p.m.


You should stop in. If nothing else maybe you can help rescue the car and find it a forever home.


Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/19/14 10:36 p.m.

It amuses me that a car that was only made for one year is still fairly common - at least around here. I see them at British car shows in NJ & PA all the time. Usually at least one. Heck... there was one at the little cruise night near work.

Neat cars, but in the same way I like square tail Spitfires over round-tails, I like the TR6 more than the TR4.

gjz30075 Reader
11/20/14 7:34 a.m.
Ian F wrote: It amuses me that a car that was only made for one year is still fairly common - at least around here. I see them at British car shows in NJ & PA all the time. Usually at least one. Heck... there was one at the little cruise night near work.

I don't know enough about them but how common are fakes? I'd imagine a 4 or 4a can be made into a 250 without too much problem but I'm sure there are details in the 250 that the purists and 'those in the know' know.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
11/20/14 7:43 a.m.

In reply to gjz30075:

I don't get the impression the value difference is worth the effort to fake one and a lot of TR people prefer the 4 to the 6 for its lighter weight.

oldeskewltoy SuperDork
11/20/14 12:53 p.m.
Woody wrote: I've always loved TR6s but if I had to choose, I'd take a TR250. I saw this beauty at Lime Rock a couple of years ago.  photo LimeRockMonday09-03-2012306.jpg


bravenrace MegaDork
11/20/14 1:03 p.m.

TR250 has always been my favorite.

stan UltraDork
11/20/14 2:36 p.m.

TR250 for me.

Came this close ->| |<- to buying one for $800 dollars some years back. (So many years back I don't remember why I didn't buy it...)

TR8owner HalfDork
11/20/14 9:03 p.m.

I had a TR4. I liked it but its not a car I've ever desired to purchase again. The TR6 is much better looking than the TR250 IMHO otherwise they are essentially the same car. The only thing the TR250 has going for it over a TR6 is the higher collector value. Did I mention that they're essentially the same car?

Flight Service
Flight Service MegaDork
11/20/14 9:08 p.m.

Very interesting discussion

wspohn HalfDork
11/20/14 10:46 p.m.

The TR250 is a deflated balloon - a wimp compared to the real deal, the TR5.

It was heavier and had very little more power than the TR4 - certainly nowhere near the levels of the TR5. Sorry, couldn't live with owning a wannabe instead of the real thing. If you've ever had a ride in a TR5 or home market TR6 (I have) you'd probably agree.

spitfirebill PowerDork
11/21/14 10:51 a.m.

I used to own a TR3 and was a fanboi fo the TR6. The Tr4 were OK, but I hated the TR250 with the Rostyle wheels. I softened on the TR4 over time and then saw a gorgeous TR250 at a car show with wire wheels. Those wheels made the car. I would love one now, but the rarity is catching up in the prices.

Rupert HalfDork
11/21/14 12:42 p.m.

I've always felt the TR-3 & the TR-6 had something alike as if they are father and son. I little grit in the belly or maybe a little Bulldog attitude. The TR-4 & the 250 strike me as their daddy lived down the street. Or most likely in France. Nothing against French Styling, well maybe against the Dauphene, but they just don't strike me as British.

But given the choice of the four, I'd buy yet another TR-3, not even a TR-3A. IMO that roadster feel & the cut away doors with no exterior handles just can't be duplicated by any car with roll-up windows. Once you start down that pike, you might as well consider a radio and maybe A/C too!

Rupert HalfDork
11/21/14 1:56 p.m.
Leo Basile wrote: When the dust settles, Id still rather have a TR 4. Why you may ask...The TR 4 was availible with an optional hand crank, thats why! Leo

With TR-2s& early TR-3s the hand crank wasn't optional. It was often required unless you could park on a hill. Those old TR-2 flywheels, which both cars used have been unobtanium for years!

racerdave600 SuperDork
11/21/14 2:55 p.m.

I owned a 4, and to be honest, after driving a 250, I never felt I was missing anything. My warmed over 4 was actually a bit quicker and it felt like it drove better. But with older cars, you never know about the condition underneath if it isn't yours.

That said, I followed a TR6 on the way to work this morning, and it is still a very good looking car. I'd take a 6 in a heartbeat, probably more so than I would a 250.

Leo  Basile
Leo Basile Reader
11/21/14 8:43 p.m.

Like Rupert said...One I drove the Morgan with no windows and what not, I was hooked.

With that said, Id take a TR4 over all the affordable roll up window roadsters of the day.


TR8owner HalfDork
11/22/14 10:46 p.m.

Gentleman, you can argue the merits of the tractor based TR2 until the TR6 all you want, but they were a virtual slow evolution of the same car and I'm personally familiar with each one of them. But I've moved on from there.

If you you really want a unique TR series Triumph that broke the mold then look at the TR7/8. They were a far more modern car, higher sales, etc. It was a world class race/rally car that moved Triumph to a different level on the international stage, particularly with the V8 engineTR8 which dominated international rally/TransAm/IMSA. TR7 sales were much higher than other TR's. Only 2800 or so TR8's were produced and they should be the most sought after TR of them all. But personally I'm glad they're not otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford the trio I have.

I've tried to explain this to my TR3 owning best friend and my TR6 owning brother but unfortunately for them they just don't get it.

JoeTR6 Reader
11/23/14 8:02 a.m.

To me, the TR4/5/250 is a more classic looking car. Some of the Michelotti prototypes Triumph made when considering the TR4 design were quite striking (see Triumph Italia). The Italian design elements are more elegant than the squared-off design of the TR6. But I think that Karmann did a fantastic job given constraints to come up with the TR6. I would love to have a TR250, and a TR4, and a TR3, and TR2 long door, and a TR8 coupe rally car, and...

If only I had the time and space.

wheelsmithy Reader
11/23/14 11:40 a.m.

My opinion- TR 6 all the way. This is totally from a style perspective. Nothing wrong with any Triumph in my book, but especially considering that the 6 was a facelift, it is a timelessly beautiful design.

Rupert HalfDork
11/23/14 11:44 a.m.

In reply to TR8owner: Glad you like your TR-7/8. As they obviously weren't "the shape of things to come," both can be bought very cheaply.

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