View Full Version : Triumph based specials etc.

Simon TR4a
06-09-2006, 01:53 PM
I am aware that several production cars like the Italia, Peerless (Warwick) and Bond were based on Triumph components, and that other cars used some components, for example the Daimler SP250 had a modified TR3 chassis, Lotus used some front suspension components, and I have probably forgotten other examples....

But what I am interested in is Triumph-based specials, the kind of cars people built in their backyard garages in the 1950's and early 60's.
I think the separate chassis construction method made Triumphs a popular basis for specials, some of which are still used in hillclimbs, or simply as unique, owner-built sportscars.
I would be interested in any photos or information anyone could provide for an article I may write, and just for my personal interest.
Thanks, Simon.

06-09-2006, 03:17 PM
I have often daydreamed of a Spit based Formula car like the Lotus's. Might not be too hard to do.

How about Triumph based kit cars too??? I think there are a couple offered in the UK but don't know of anything US. I have thought about a Spit based Siata replica. I don't mean to hijack your thread here!

06-09-2006, 03:53 PM
Hi Simon,

I've got photos of a "special" all-aluminum roadster built on a TR6 chassis, that won a 1st place award at 2005's Palo Alto British Car meet. I also saw it at the Dixon meet in 2005 (I couldn't attend this year, don't know if it was shown again).

Not sure it meets your criteria, though. It *is* a one-off and was a 10-year-long personal project of an employee of a world-renowned and very high-end custom shop in Oakland Calif. The handmade aluminum body is extremely well done. Even the interior is entirely plain, unfinished aluminum. But, it was probably mostly built in the 1990s.

However, it's a very cool looking car and has to go like the proverbial bat outta ****, sits very low and weighs just 1500 lbs with a hot, triple-Webered TR6 motor to help it along.

I have no way to post a pic here, but could send you one or two via email, if you wish. I might be able to get you in touch with the current owner, too. He's a collector car broker with a lot of interest in LBCs, and might know of some other specials out there, too.

Would the TR3A "Beta" qualify? Basically that's a TR3A with wider TR4 track and chassis, R&P steering, a couple of which were built in Standard Triumph's backyard garage in 1960.

Other Triumph-built "specials" include the LeMans TRS that were sort of a prototype for the TR4 in many respects, but featured the "Sabrina" engine (The cars seem to be mis-listed in the LeMans records as "TR4S"). Also, there were the earlier longer-wheelbase, fiberglass-bodied TR3 LeMans cars. Perhaps the fastback LeMans Spits that gave rise to the GT6 might be considered "specials", too, with all the body mods that they got.

At last year's Dixon British car show, there was also a really wild 4x4 Spitfire fitted with a V6 engine, "monster truck" tires, whip antenna and a Jerry can! Now, that's a "special", although the body was still essentially a Spit. I think it was the tallest car at the show!

If I think of any other "specials", I'll jump back in.


Simon TR4a
06-09-2006, 04:14 PM
Yes, Alan, the TR6 special is the kind of thing I'm interested in.
The series produced cars are well-known already, the Swallow Doretti was TR based and the Amphicar uses some Triumph stuff. I have also heard of a Robin Hood, which is a Lotus 7 lookalike with Spitfire front suspension, and a Vincent Hurricane which is a fibreglass bodied Spitfire of which about 50 units were made over 10 years or so. If it comes to that, Morgan used TR 4 cylinder engines for years.

The neat stuff though is the homemade cars, truly unique. I once saw a picture of a fairly primitive aluminium bodied TR4 used as a race car of some sort, and I like Bill Babcock's Peyote, a sports racer. Then there are the Ambro cars, not sure how many, maybe 10 altogether, saw one at a race at Mosport a few years back.
Any photos of that kind of car, and any technical information you might have, would be most welcome.
Thanks, Simon.

Don Elliott
06-09-2006, 08:06 PM
Simon - At the Heritage Center in Gaydon, I met a Belgian (my knowledge of French was most helpful). He had put a kit body on a GT6. See attachment.

Don Elliott

Andrew Mace
06-09-2006, 08:58 PM
Bill's Peyote is just plain wild; what a neat car! As for the Ambro specials, I seem to recall that they might actually sort of see "production" again thanks to Joe Alexander and others. Probably pictures of Peyote, an Ambro or so, and others at <https://fot-racing.com>

Russ Austin
06-09-2006, 10:12 PM
Simon; Here's the link (https://www.tamsoldracecarsite.net) to a really great web site; it's called Tam's Old Race Car Stie. He has put together a historical look at racing from 1958 thru 1963 in Southern California. If you go to the bottom of the page you will find info on specials, MG's, Devin's I haven't looked for TR based specials but they might be there.

Russ Austin
06-09-2006, 10:27 PM
I did find a Devin-Triumph on Tam's, no info on what model TR. It' down about the middle (https://www.tamsoldracecarsite.net/MysteryCars2.html)

06-10-2006, 06:54 AM
Yeah, I love the Specials too (there's a long thread about Spridget Specials in the Spridget area here at BCF).

Here's a home-brew sports racer I saw at Lime Rock Cintage in '04...I think it has a Triumph six

All below are Spitfire-based. Most are just fiberglass body kits

Ashley Spitfire

APAL (Swiss)

Vincent Hurricane

AWE Pintail and Redwing


Some interesting hardtops here:

Custom bonnets;

Some re-bodies here:

06-10-2006, 02:34 PM
There is a TR3 based Devin hardtop on eBay right now... seller claims it's the only hard top ever built. It's fitted with a V8, but sits on TR3 chassis and suspension.

https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/DEVIN-V-8...1QQcmdZViewItem (https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/DEVIN-V-8-Race-Car_W0QQitemZ4647221475QQihZ002QQcategoryZ80766QQr dZ1QQcmdZViewItem)


06-10-2006, 03:50 PM
ooooh... very pretty... I'd lose the wheel disks and just leave raw "argent silver" tr3 steel wheels or the like but ooooh....


Simon TR4a
06-12-2006, 02:35 PM
Thanks for all your responses.
Don, the Spitfire rebody you posted is almost certainly a Vincent Hurricane, they have a link from the Triumph Sports Six website showing some info.

I like the Burlington conversion Nial posted; almost too bad the body on my wifes Spitfire is so good!
Thanks again, Simon.

06-16-2006, 07:41 AM
i read an article one time about a devin triumph. it was featuread on the front cover of a magazine a couple yrs back. very sweet. i kept the mag. when i get back to vancouver i'll try to dig it up, photo it and post.

06-16-2006, 08:16 AM
this is the handmade TR6 based all aluminum you referred to. REALLY cool imo.

06-16-2006, 08:20 AM
here's the interior

06-16-2006, 08:21 AM
Looks like a '50s Indy car!

Nice, but I'll bet the cops look very closely at it whenever its passes.... /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif

06-16-2006, 08:30 AM
When I was a teen, I had a VW bug with a 140hp (4 one barrels) Corvair engine hanging out the back. I got stopped by the police once just to take a look! That thing would fly to 80mph then top out. Eventually totaled it sliding backwards into a Chrysler Imperial that stopped blocking a road around a blind curve. The other driver was a (nice) man who was actually born in the 1890s, and had such bad eyes that he thought he was turning into a driveway (that didn't exist) and stopped across my lane. His insurance paid me $1200. I wasn't hurt even though I was going around 65mph.