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In the 1960s as Triumph continued to lead the British car manufacturers in performance, the TR250 was introduced to the American market in 1968 as a more upscale version of the successful TR4. It offered smooth six-cylinder carbureted power, but interestingly, it had no more horsepower than the outgoing four cylinder. In sharp contrast, the TR5 was conceived as a high-performance model better equipped to extract the potential from the new inline six. The addition of Lucas mechanical fuel injection allowed the engine to rev to 6,000 rpm, develop 50% more horsepower, and shave an astonishing 20 seconds off the 0–100 time set by the TR4. However, the TR5 did not pass US emissions or fuel economy regulations, and the US did not allow the TR5 to be imported. Instead, the Stromberg-carbureted 104 bhp TR250 was built for the American market, rendering the TR5 nonexistent in the American market. In all, just 2,947 examples of the spirited TR5 were produced for the rest of the world over a short 13-month production run.
The TR5 presented here was acquired by the consignor in the early 1980s in very good condition and is the recipient of a finely detailed, thorough restoration to show standards. Before the restoration was started, the owner sourced countless NOS spares in an effort to keep the eventual restoration as correct as possible. It features a concours-quality finish in black with the rare, optional surrey top in contrasting white. The surrey top consists of a stationary, wraparound rear window that greatly increases interior comfort, a detachable aluminum roof panel, and a collapsible soft top to enclose the car in unexpected inclement weather. The interior, trimmed in red leather with cream piping, is completed to original standards. In a nod to the TR5’s performance capabilities, the wheels have been upgraded to five new 72-spoke Borranis with aluminum rims, and are shod with period-appropriate Michelin X redline radial tires.
During the restoration, each of the car’s systems was addressed and the consignor states that they appear as new. The 2.5-litre fuel-injected straight six was refurbished, as was the balance of the drivetrain. Likewise, the chassis, suspension, and brakes received similar thorough attention. The consignor states that the car drives as if it were new and he believes that the engine makes its expected 150 bhp. Even a cursory glance at the Triumph’s undercarriage reveals that this restoration was completed to a quality level befitting its importance.
There is no question that the TR5 is among the rarest of all Triumphs, and in the US, sightings are few and far between. Exhibiting one at a stateside Triumph or British car gathering all but guarantees an exuberant reception on the lawn.