View Full Version : TR2/3/3A TR3A factory colors and trim

02-13-2008, 09:32 PM
My son and I are in the process of restoring a 1959 pre-60,000 TR3A and I was attempting to obtain a definitive chart showing the factory body colors and (more importantly) the interior. I've located the body color charts but have been unable to find anything definitive that shows the trim colors. The closest I've come is the following info printed on the back of a TR3 sales brochure (year of printing probably 1960?):

Body Colour | Trim - Vyside or Leather
Silverstone Grey |
British Racing Green | Silverstone Grey
Sebring White | Targo Purple or
Pale Yellow | Red
Black |
Signal Red | Red, Black or
| Silverstone Grey
Powder Blue | Black or Blue
In addition to the above, Sebring White and Black are available with
Black or Blue trims, and Pale Yellow is available with Black trim.

N.B. Hood and Side Curtains - Black or White

Hard Tops available in any T.R.3 body colour to produce a single or
two-colour exterior.

Questions/comments here -

(1) It does me absolutely no good to have a color described in text when trying to find vinyl or leather that comes closest to the original. Does anyone know of authoritative pictures that show interior trim colors?

(2) Anyone notice that "tan" is missing from this list? Should I assume that no factory car was delivered with a tan interior trim? Does anyone know for sure, and if "tan" was provided, was it light, dark, what?

(3) For you concours judges out there - If I try to come close to "Triumph Racing Green" or "British Racing Green" (apparently two different colors) with a tan/biege vinyl interior with matching tan/biege piping (not white), will I pass muster or get dinged? Do you judges have a color guide that you use? if so, how do I obtain a copy.

Please forgive me if all of this is common knowledge or simply doesn't matter much in a good restoration.

Don Elliott
02-13-2008, 10:08 PM
Triumph Racing Green or Conifer is a DuPont paint available for the TR4. The exact BRG for the TR3 and TR3A has a tiny bit less blue in it.

Tan interior or red interior was available from new on a BRG TR3A.

Here is a late TR3A I finished in June 2006 in the Triumph Racing Green mentioned above. The TR had previously been black but the owner wanted green and told me to use the same interior.

02-13-2008, 10:29 PM

If you want to do the "right" thing, request a certified copy of the factory record from british motor industry heritage trust and then you'll know how it was shipped.

Mine (or the vin on it) was originally: ext: Signal Red, trim: Beige, hood(top): Fawn, and was shipped with a red hard top and fawn side curtains.

When I pushed it into my garage, it was "a christmas car", BRG with red interior/white piping. I think it's going to be silverstone grey, but someone here already posted their troubles trying to duplicate and/or determine what that is.

For more color information, look in the "Body and Fittings" section of the "stanpart spare parts catalogue". It shows combinations of all colors and what series were shipped with them. (Though only a description, no color swatches.)

I think BRG is a little darker than TriRG. That TR3 Don finished looks fantastik.


02-13-2008, 11:59 PM
Contact your favorite parts supplier and ask for sample swatches of available colors.

02-14-2008, 02:48 AM
The only question I would ask is "Are you building a Concours car?"

Mine will never be Concours. I've got a 5 speed in it and cup holders in the back seats.

The point is, even after all the fun of restoring it(?), I have more fun driving it. If it was concours, I would probably not want to drive it, so what's the point of having it?

Mine was originally signal red with black interior. It's now 1999 Honda San Marino Red (much darker with some blue in it) with a biscuit interior, only because I liked the combination.

We all have these cars to have fun with them. If building a concours car with the exact shade of signal red (there are a thousand opinions on that shade) and the exact interior is what makes you happy, then persue that. Just remember that the only ones who will recognize your efforts as being greater than anyone else who has redone the car in their own flavor, will be the judges at a concours show.

I think I get as much pleasure from the people who never see these cars on the street, except when they see mine or someone else who has put together a good looking driver, and they smile or wave and remember the days when they drove "something like that."

We have a guy in the club who hates to take his car to an informal show, because "all the little kids who can't keep their dirty hands off" his car. Me, if a kid is looking in the car, I ask them if they want to sit in it and see what it feels like.

Okay, okay I'll get off my soapbox.

The important thing is to have fun with it.

02-14-2008, 08:58 AM
A concours restoration will cost a LOT ($50K ??) of dough. So don't worry too much about getting dinged by the judges unless you're prepared to invest heavily. Your later engine bits will already get you dinged since it is not a matching numbers car.

BRG with tan is a really nice combo IMO. Check out the catalogs and see what they have that you like.

If you over restore it, aka concours level, you'll be afraid to drive it. Most of all get it fixed up and back together and ENJOY the ride.

Here's some info for you Rob and Craig -
Councours judging guide is online here: https://www.triumphregister.com/TRA%20Guide%20Binder%202004.pdf
And general judging info here: https://www.kingswayrc.com/txtr/Judging.pdf

Don Elliott
02-14-2008, 10:47 AM
Gsalt - I always enter my 1958 TR3A in the judged concours at TRA and VTR national meets. I'm always getting 2nd place. That's with 97,000 miles driven since my total body-off restoration from 1987 to 1990. My pleasure is to see the winning car and to see how close I come to him. For example, in 2000, when I drove a total of 7225 miles to VTR in Portland Oregon and home again and the winner had driven his only 35 miles. This year at VTR, the winner had trailered his from So, Car. and I drove mine down from Montreal. He got 392 points and they gave me 384 points out of 400.

I take mine to informal shows and ask the teen-agers and their parents what this tool is ? They never guess, till I tell them it's a hand-crank. "How does it work?" they ask. So I have a contest to see if the 14 year old can start my TR with the crank easier than the 16 year old.

02-14-2008, 11:12 AM
The point is not to make a concours car. We just want to know what the rules are so we don't blatently disregard them. We won't be painting any bolt heads.

Andrew Mace
02-14-2008, 11:58 AM
The point is not to make a concours car. We just want to know what the rules are so we don't blatently disregard them. We won't be painting any bolt heads. Frankly, the only "rule" is that there are no rules. It's your car to do with as you please. The closest thing to a "rule" is whatever governs resale value...IF that's important to you. It still seems to hold true that the highest prices might be paid for a car that is correctly restored (or original, of course) OR extremely well executed in terms of tasteful and well-thought-out modifications and personalizations.

In other words, go with colors you like, especially if you really intend to simply drive and enjoy the car. Understand that the wilder you get (candy apple red metalflake with flames, Allison V-12 with a 6-71 blower and Mickey Thompson drag slicks on the back, Zebra striped upholstery), the less likely you are to find a buyer sometime in the future that will appreciate your unique taste.

I personally hate to see original cars "[over]restored," let alone hacked up. But TR3s are not yet so unique that one shouldn't be tastefully personalized...just as so many owners did the day they drove them out of the showroom!

Oh, and you can paint the bolt heads...at least the ones holding down the fenders. /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/wink.gif

02-14-2008, 03:03 PM
Allison V-12 with a 6-71 blowerNo, no, you can't do that !


A 6-71 is much too small for an Allison V12 !


Geo Hahn
02-14-2008, 04:29 PM
...I take mine to informal shows and ask the teen-agers and their parents what this tool is ? They never guess, till I tell them it's a hand-crank...

I too like to do a few hand crank starts at shows -- amazing how many people have never seen that done. Also get to do it once in awhile on the road, this was on a drive thru the Petrified Forest.


It is such a quiet start (compared to an electric starter) where one moment the engine is silent and the next it is ticking over -- that always takes them by surprise.

On the topic -- I think resale value is enhanced by a pleasing near-original color scheme but the most important thing is what you liked. I recall a 2-tone MGA (red & yellow) that was fuzzy-flocked. Can't say I would recommend that.

02-14-2008, 08:29 PM
Ditto what my son said - we are out to restore and DRIVE this car, but since we are all the way down to the frame and are headed upwards, we might as well get as much right on the reassembly as we can. In other words, if I can come out the other end with a car that is close with regards to stock colors, interior, trim, etc we might be able to have some additional fun by doing some shows. My intent isn't to get overly anal about this, but if I find out later that my choices have cost me points where it would have been easy to go a different way, it just makes sense to try and do the research and make the right choices now before I go and plunk down the $$$ on paint and materials.

By the way, found a terrifc leather and vinyl supply place online called Rochford Supply, Inc. - https://www.rochfordsupply.com They sell marine grade 40 mil and thicker vinyl that looks terrific as well as very nice whole leather hides at amazing prices ($99 get you a 50 sq foot hide!). I ordered several of their sample vinyl cards and really like the 40 mil Biscayne - stuff feels like leather, has nice backing, and comes in several shades of "tan". Comes in 52 inch wide rolls for less than $10 a yard. I can get 20 yards for $169.

At those prices, I decided to try my hand at sewing my own seats and recovering cockpit panels to save a ton of money over what is available from the big three. Just picked up an industrial strength sewing machine from eBay for $200 that can do the vinyl easily, so we'll see if my skills are up to it.

Peter, thanks for the concours judging links - they go a long way to answering my questions as to exactly what is considered to be stock - only thing better would be some actual color charts of interiors :-)

Also FYI, I ordered a Heritage certificate for my car around Jan 1, just after my son gave it to me for Christmas. Still haven't received it yet - anyone know if the delay is par for the course?

02-14-2008, 10:03 PM
Aloha Craig,

I've done business with Rochford Supply before. I bought some of their upholstery tools, a punch for installing "lift the dot" fasteners.

Moss Motors (part # 878-900) offers sample swatches of their upholstery material in the various colors. I can't confirm it, but I assume the colors are much like the factory original ones. I believe that The Roadster Factory will also provide a material swatch if requested. This be helpful in selecting materials.

02-15-2008, 01:41 AM
I ordered my certificate on 12-03, it was prepared 1-9, arrived in Spring,Tx 1-23 (I posted about it).

We are about on the same track. We are going to have to race our cars or something... perhaps have a bet on who can drive their car to the others town first...

I have never started a car with a crank, but I have a crank waiting and plan to use it.

Anyway, looking at colors in my parts catalogue, under door casings assembly R.H. Trimmed it lists:
red,blue,black,beige,grey,brown,sliver grey,targo purple
And under door casing assembly L.H. Trimmed it lists:

Dose that mean RH steering vs LH steering were different colors? Blackberry sounds interesting. I have new black door panels with white piping and matching seats that according to the judgeing info are the wrong pattern for my year (not that I care). But all my cappings need recovering so I'm interested in your approach.


02-15-2008, 03:29 AM
The only point I was trying to make, was to rebuild your car so it makes YOU happy. I have one best of class at the 2 shows where I have entered it and it isn't all original.

My 1960 Triumph 10 is going to have a '78 spitty engine and tranny, weber carb, headers and monza exhaust, air conditioning, and much more comfortable seats.

It's being built to make me happy.

If a concours car makes you happy, more power too you.

02-15-2008, 04:09 AM
Hi Craig,

As a (sometime) Concours judge, I look for a car rebuilt to the factory original colours on the "birth certificate".

If your car was BRG when new, then it is hard to match the shade exactly because the factory paint codes were for cellulose, and we have been through acrylic, two pack, etc auto paints since then, so a notional match is all that can be achieved.

Trim colours were different for hard top equipped cars than for non-hardtop, so again you have to wait for the factory build sheet as a guide to the original trim.

From September 1958 until June 1960, TR3A interior colours for BRG cars were only red, silverstone grey or targo purple. Over 45 years of TR involvement I have never seen a targo purple interior. There was no beige or tan interior option during this period. Hoods were either black, white or beige on BRG cars. Hardtops were black, BRG, white or possibly Silverstone Grey, but this colour is never seen.

Frankly it just isn't possible for a Concours judge to cross reference the exact shades of paint and trim, as they are unavailable, and there isn't time for this depth of detail. If you use the original colour combo in whatever shades you prefer, you should not get deducted, and if your car was originally BRG with red trim, yet you decide to rebuild with tan trim, then you would most likely only lose a couple of points. It is good information to consult a mainstream supplier for colour swatches, and get as close to one of these as possible.

What's more important than the colour with the trim is to get the seat piping and pleats in the configuration of the original, and to use the correct fixings. On TR3A's, standard trim was vynide with optional leather for seat facings only. It is hard to get colour matching leather and vynide these days, so it's easier to go all vynide. There was coarse and fine grade pattern trim material, and most
cars had the fine grade.

If you change a trim colour from the original, you also have to consider what roof and sidescreen colours will match up.



Don Elliott
02-15-2008, 01:55 PM
Because I had originally ordered a BRG TR3A, the dealer asked me if I wanted them to re-spray the black one that came in. He would do it BRG at no charge. It would have taken a week. I didn't want to wait. It was warm that May and when you're 20, you don't want to delay getting the new car.

The point is, dealers would do many things to get a sale. Many switched one interior for another if the customer asked. But later, it's possible that the car would be judged against the build record which may have read "black interior" when the dealer might have switched this to fawn for a customer. In North America, judging is based on the car which stands in front of the judges. Not against a piece of paper that could possibly have typing errors.

02-16-2008, 01:27 PM
Bill Piggot's "Original TR2/3/3A" is an excellent reference source for information when restoring a TR3. It has chapters on body colors and interiors and I recall includes a list of which trims were avilable with which body colors. It also includes photos of varios cars.
I got the Heritage Certificate when starting my TR3B and thought about trying to back to tthe original. Then I decided to do it my way and chose BRG with a tan interior. The tan interior was almost certainly (to the extent anything is certain with TR3's and especially the "B") not available but I liked it.
As several have said, it is your car, so just have fun.

02-18-2008, 12:57 AM
Thanks to all for the great advice. Have ordered but have not yet received my certificate yet but already know that I am going to deviate from the original - after owning three white AH 3000's in my life, I feel I deserve a bit of color, and I like the appearance of BRG and a tan interior, so that's what I'm going with. I will be doing matching tan piping (my sins are piling up :-) From what I have read in the concours manual, matching piping is permissible on my model, so I'll just leave it at that and say I did my due diligence :-)

The seats that are in the car now are actual TR3A seats, black with matching black piping. They may be replacements done in '81 or may be original, but should serve well enough as a pattern for when I sew my own. Just ordered the Biscayne marine vinyl in darkish tan (Buck 7640-140), from Rochford Supply.

I'm sure somebody on this forum has sewn their own seats before, but I couldn't find any info on it using the almost useless search engine, nor could I find anyone on the web that sells sewing patterns for TR3A seats. Will try and take pics and record what I do on the remote chance that I manage to create some semi-useful results. I have more time than money, and others may also feel daunted by the interior upholstery kit prices from the big 3. In any case, we'll see how this experiment turns out. Will post any results when I have them.

02-18-2008, 08:05 AM

I've not sewn seats, but I have seen my trimmer start by unpicking the stitching on one seat only, then use the component parts as patterns.

If you don't want to get the cushions resprung, which is usually quite expensive, foam padding on a marine ply (water resistant) base makes a very comfortable cushion.

My trimmer uses a sandwich of denser grade foam on the bottom and a more pliable foam at the top. When you fit the seat covers, just fold them under and fix by stapling to the marine ply base. Makes the job much easier.



02-22-2008, 12:23 AM
Over 45 years of TR involvement I have never seen a targo purple interior.

Interesting... I believe that my black TR3 may have come with targo purple. It's hard to tell, (and it's been years since I switched to a Moss gray interior) but I distinctly recall seeing a strange purpelish color on parts of the trim that hadn't been sun bleached.

I've always been intrigued as to what this color looks like. Are there really no "living" examples left? No old color photos?


02-22-2008, 09:30 AM

Targo Purple was introduced somewhere around car TS37000 in September 1958 and was a trim color option for black cars, so it is possible. I would guess Targo trim would have gone with white, black and perhaps pale yellow cars, but not so crash hot with BRG and signal red.

For an indication of whether any colour reference exists, I can only suggest emailing an enquiry to either the guys at TRF or Moss UK, or to the TR Register UK, in case they have something archived.



Andrew Mace
02-22-2008, 10:16 AM
...I would guess Targo trim would have gone with white, black and perhaps pale yellow cars, but not so crash hot with BRG and signal red.Perhaps? We had a local Triumph club member with a BRG TR3A that originally had a Targo Purple interior, and he went to great lengths (and expense?) to replicate same. Didn't really look all that bad. I seem to recall he'd done some research and found out that -- literally -- only a handful of 3As were built in that combination!

For an indication of whether any colour reference exists, I can only suggest emailing an enquiry to either the guys at TRF or Moss UK, or to the TR Register UK, in case they have something archived.Granted, this is only a scanned approximation of the paint color (as opposed to upholstery), but the two were similar. Take a look at this (https://hometown.aol.com/herald1200/database/colors/targo.htm) , with the color based on an old paint chart. I happen to own the remnants of an early Herald sedan that was Targo Purple in both paint and trim, and this is reasonably close!

02-22-2008, 11:52 AM
Andrew: That color reminds me of... Blueberry Yogurt. Does that sound about right?

Andrew Mace
02-22-2008, 11:54 AM
Andrew: That color reminds me of... Blueberry Yogurt. Does that sound about right? Well...yes, now that you mention it. /bcforum/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/grin.gif