Classic British sports cars from the 1950s and 1960s make ideal candidates for a novice considering their first restoration project. Their elegantly simple engineering means that dismantling these vehicles to the last nut and bolt is straightforward for those seeking a high-end result. The ready availability of parts ensures there will be few items they won’t be able to purchase off the shelf. This 1957 Triumph TR3 is a perfect example of the breed, with this complete classic needing a new home. It has sat since the 1980s but is now listed here on eBay in West Chicago, Illinois. Bidding sits below the reserve at $5,300 off the back of strong buyer interest.
Triumph introduced the TR3 to the waiting world in 1955, and this must have been one of the last produced before it unveiled the updated TR3A in 1957. It retains the hallmarks of the earlier model, including the narrow grille. The good news for potential buyers is that it does appear complete. The listing photos show the side windows, which are in good condition. The top frame is present, but the top looks like it has seen better days. The car wears what appears to be its original British Racing Green paint, which shows the ravages of time. Dismantling the vehicle to the last nut and bolt in a home workshop is viable, allowing the opportunity to restore the frame, strip away the existing paint, and address its few rust issues. None of these are severe and could be tackled with patches rather than wholesale panel replacement. Many trim pieces will require a trip to the platers, but the windshield looks good.
Time has not been kind to this Triumph’s interior, but it is another aspect of this classic that looks complete. Positive attributes include the banjo-style wheel that appears to be crack-free and the gauges with their crisp markings. The surrounds are pitted, and the lenses show some age, but restoration kits retail for under $200. The upholstered surfaces are beyond help. However, with complete trim kits retailing for around $1,500, returning the interior to its former glory is another affordable undertaking that will provide the new owner with immense satisfaction once complet
The TR3 was typical of British sports cars from this era, utilizing an engine from a different model that produced relatively modest power. In this case, Triumph grabbed the 1,991cc four from the Standard lineup, fitting it with a pair of SU carburetors to produce 95hp and 117 ft/lbs of torque. The power fed to the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. While the car was not a genuine high-performance model, the occupant’s proximity to Planet Earth provided the illusion that these classics were considerably faster than the speedometer needle suggested. The drag strip was not their natural home, but these little gems come alive when pointed at a ribbon of twisting road. The seller indicates this car has sat since the 1980s, making it unsurprising that it doesn’t run. However, the engine turns freely on the starter, raising the intriguing possibility that a fuel system clean and basic maintenance could see it roar back to life.
The 1957 Triumph TR3 is no different from any other classic we have seen at Barn Finds; It won’t appeal to everyone. However, prices are climbing steadily, with nicely restored examples consistently selling for over $30,000. Perfection will net a value beyond $40,000, and that appears achievable with this car. I still stand by my belief that these cars are perfect candidates for someone considering their first project build. Are you tempted?