This gorgeous works Triumph TRS raced at Le Mans in 1960 and 1961
For the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, Triumph came up with a fleet of brand new race cars to compete against those pesky MGAs. These works entries still looked like production TR3s but were built on a longer wheelbase chassis, featuring fiberglass panels, four-wheel disc brakes and a development alloy twin-cam engine.
Unfortunately, Triumph’s debut race ended with three non-finishers, but that only meant that for the following summer, the Coventry factory had to came up with something even beefier. Enter the TR(4)S.
Triumph built four cars for 1960, with wider tracks, rack-and-pinion steering, and the same “Sabrina” engine, fed by twin-choke SU carburetors. At Le Mans, with one car retained as a spare, the trio of Triumphs managed to finish at 15th, 18th and 19th overall, yet failed to cover the minimum distance required. Bummed but not broken, Triumph gave it another go in 1961, only to finish 9th, 11th and 15th, covering the distance and thus scoring the manufacturers’ team prize.
The car featured here, 927 HP, was driven by Peter Bolton and Ninian Sanderson in 1960, only to finish 11th the following year with Les Leston and Rob Slotemaker behind the wheel. Once the champagne supply dried up, Triumph sold the car to America, with 927 HP ending up in Virginia before exchanging hands again in 2008.
The good news is that apart from its once-sanded paintwork, this Triumph TRS remains highly original, featuring a rebuilt twin-cam engine of which only four remain in existence. Pendine now offers it for the equivalent of $385,000, which may seem steep, but for a double Le Mans entree with a unique engine and a green card to the best vintage racing events on the globe, it may just be good value. An earlier, 1955 Triumph TR2 ex-works Le Mans car sold for ~$340,000 recently. This 1960 TRS should be faster, and happier to drive on the street as well.