History of the 1961-1967 Triumph TR4 / Triumph TR4A
Building off of the TR3's success, Triumph unveiled the TR4 in 1961. Furthering the evolution of the earlier TR3, the TR4 combined a low cost of entry with a capable open-top sports car to become one of Triumph's best-loved cars.
Stylistically, the TR4 was quite a departure from the TR3. Gone were the low-cut doors and polarizing grille of its predecessor, and in their place was a more modern design courtesy of Giovanni Michelotti. A spacious trunk, high beltline, full-sized doors with roll-up windows, and a revised front look brought the company into a new era.
Mechanically, the car possessed the same 105-hp, 2138-cc, inline four-cylinder engine that was offered during the TR3's later iterations, though buyers who were looking to race their Triumph in two-liter classes could opt for the 1991-cc mill. The TR4's chassis was initially the same as its predecessor, though the track was wider and steering was through a rack-and-pinion set-up.
After producing a week's worth of TR4s in 1965, Triumph released the TR4A (an official designation by the factory). The car marked the introduction of a completely new independent rear suspension, noted by an "IRS" badge. The TR4's ride benefitted greatly from the suspension, although many American buyers could realize a $150 price reduction by asking their dealer for a solid axle. Other popular options on the TR4 and TR4A included overdrive and a "Surrey" top that resembles what is today called a Targa roof.
In all, 40,304 TR4s left the Coventry factory in addition to 28,684 TR4As. And like most British roadsters of the era, the lion's share landed in the U.S. Their relative affordability, good handling, and brisk performance made them a popular choice on the track, and they continue to be an entertaining drive today.