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In the late 1920s, Triumph expanded its range with the Super 7, a mass-produced and economical car which became very popular. However, stiff competition from brands like Morris, Austin, Singer and Standard proved to be too much for the brand’s sparse resources. In 1945, Triumph lost its independence and became incorporated into the Standard Motor Company.
Ten years later, the new TR3 model, with a 95hp engine and Girling brake discs on the front axle, went on sale to become the first English series production car to be equipped with disc brakes.
The TR3’s old-fashioned steel chassis with rectangular cross-sectioned beams did not hinder it from being a very competent roadster. Weighing less than a ton and equipped with independent suspension on both axles, the little Triumph took full advantage of its powerful two-litre engine, which allowed it to reach a top speed of 170 km/h, a very respectable number for the time.
In 1958 the TR3 underwent a styling change, receiving a prominent full-sized grille. Called the TR3A, the model also saw the engine power increased to 100hp, which paradoxically both improved the car’s performance and made it easier to drive.
The design of the Triumph TR3 was a statement about aggressiveness and readiness. This was made very clear in several of the little car’s detailing which distinguished it from the competition. Its small cut-out doors invited the driver to put aside the formality of opening them. At the front of the car, you’re met with a huge mouth, eager to devour all the available air and to let the TR3’s powerful engine breathe under the bonnet. Everything seems to scream strength.
Inside, the Triumph displayed various dials spread across its dashboard, and as was the English style, a large steering wheel was placed in front of a small enveloping bucket seat. The little Triumph TR3 epitomised the sportscar of its decade.
The last of the TR3A’s left the factory in 1962, adding to the 83,500 units which were sold around the world. Most were sold to customers in the United States market who adored this English roadster. Simplicity, excellent handling, robust mechanics and pure character marked the TR3 as a model, whose uptake was so enormous that it sold ten times more than the model that preceded it.
This car was donated to the Museu do Caramulo by Inês Maria de Lurdes Soares da Rosa.