View Full Version : wondering if the tan hood is the original color ?

09-16-2009, 08:56 PM
My vinyl hood is tan and I think that black would look better with my primrose yellow original paint. Maybe someone can tell me more info about my TR3a. What do the codes mean and what was original?
commission# TS53854L
Engine# 5415OE
There are two plates above the battery

Andrew Mace
09-16-2009, 09:27 PM
According to Piggott's latest book, only black, white and beige were offered as colors for "weather equipment" -- no tan. He further suggests that a yellow car would only have been offered with black or white top. (Personally, I don't care for tan with yellow paint, although beige isn't so bad.)

Offhand, I'm guessing you have a "numbers matching" car, as the commission, engine and EB number are all fairly close to each other about as they should be (EB number usually a bit lower than commission number, and engine number usually a bit higher than commission number).

09-16-2009, 10:46 PM
The EB plate is what color? Also Primrose Yellow? I'm thinking the original color may have been different.

I'm guessing that what you are calling "tan" is what Andrew calls "beige." I can remember seeing quite a few beige tops, although usually on beige (or tan) TRs, sometimes with black or red cars.

09-16-2009, 11:58 PM
I suspect the beige we are talking about is the factory 'fawn' color...my signal red TR3 came from the factory with stone leather interior and 'fawn' weather equipment/top/sidecurtains...along with a signal red hardtop according to the Brit Heritage Trust doc.
Does anyone have a build sheet that says 'beige' and are the two (fawn/beige) the same shade.

09-17-2009, 05:30 AM
It's the color that isn't white or brown and that I have seen on other TR's. Beige or fawn works for me. L just think with a black interior that the black weather equipment would look better.

09-17-2009, 05:31 AM
Also what do the other two plate number refer to?

09-17-2009, 09:43 AM
Eric, your car was built (most likely) a couple of weeks before the "Grey Lady", TS58476 LO. She was born on September 1, 1959 and just celebrated her 50th birthday.

According to TRA:
1. Top (Hood) Fabric - The convertible tops, sidecurtains, hoodstick covers and tonneau covers fitted to all
TR2-3B's <span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">were all manufactured from the same basic material: a "crushed" grain vinyl over a natural or
tan colored canvas.</span></span> The closest available material at this writing is British Everflex, which is reputedly the
original material, with minor improvements. For judging purposes, no points should be deducted for cars
with Everflex or similarly constructed aftermarket tops of the correct pattern and color.
2. Top (Hood) Color - The colors offered on TR2-3B soft covers varied from time to time, and are listed in
the attached TR Register article. The backing canvas was usually tan, or natural, as noted, as noted, but
some early cars may have had the canvas dyed the same color as the vinyl surface. It is also possible these
early dyes simply bled through with age. For judging purposes, no points should be deducted from cars
with convertible tops of the appropriate color as listed in the attached materials, that have canvas backing
material dyed the color of the vinyl surface, natural (tan), or black.

<span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">The articles referred to here list black, white and tan(fawn)as the most commonly available top colours.
However, dealers had been known to pass on any reasonable request to the factory</span></span>

3. Top (Hood) Pattern - The tops on the sidecurtain TR's were sewn together, as opposed to heat pressed,
including the rear window(s). The thread observed on the original tops appears buff in colour, although
this may be the result of years of fading, accumulated dirt, or both. The main seams of these tops run along
the length of the top from the windscreen fastener strip, over the hoodstick webbing, and down to the rear
fastener strip. The front of the top is fitted with a rubber seal, trimmed in buff furflex, which slips over the
rear of the windscreen frame so that only the furflex is visible from inside the car when the top is erect.
There were a few modifications to TR top patterns during the production run.

Andrew Mace
09-17-2009, 11:36 AM
Also what do the other two plate number refer to? The seven-digit number is a "body in white" number, i.e., a serial number for the bare body. It's a bigger and different number probably because the body builder numbered all their bodies, of which not all were TRs. The EB number refers to the completely painted and trimmed body about to be united to a complete chassis and running gear, and that's why the number is or at least should be fairly close to the commission or engine numbers.

Geo Hahn
09-17-2009, 04:31 PM
Does 'EB' stand for 'envelope body' or does anyone even know what it might mean?

Don Elliott
09-17-2009, 08:13 PM
My 1958 TR3A came with a "fawn" top, sidecurtains and stick cover. In 1989, I had the sidecurtains re-done in tan or beige - very close to the original "fawn". My build record says "fawn".

Here is the original "fawn" stick cover after 51 years of wear and tear.

Andrew Mace
09-17-2009, 08:29 PM
Does 'EB' stand for 'envelope body' or does anyone even know what it might mean? I hope someone can answer that question authoritatively. I've been able to figure out a lot of Triumph's prefix coding, but I've never seen any explanation for that!

Don Elliott
09-17-2009, 09:09 PM
And this is the top I bought new in 1989. Notice the slight colour difference. But no judge at TRA ever docked me any points because of the colour beige slightly different.

If you TR is primrose yellow, dealers sometimes swapped items from car to car to please a buyer. Anything for a sale. maybe someone else wanted a black top, so the dealer swiped the black one from your car and sold it on another TR.

I took this photo earlier this summer with 102,000 driven in the past 19 summers. The secret to keeping a top looking this good is simple.

1.Keep it in a vinyl bag to protect it.
2. Don't just dump your 20 pound tool box into the trunk on top of your top and/or sidecurtains. Get a bag for those as well.
3. Don't use it. I'd guess that I have had my top up in the rain for about 3,000 miles during the last 102,000 miles driven since 1990. I don't go out when it's raining, but if I'm away from home and it rains, I'll use it. On occasion, I have left it in the bag in the "boot" and I have driven over 300 miles in the rain to get home witout having to put the top up.

Andrew Mace
09-18-2009, 09:01 AM
Don, sorry to hijack this thread, but what is it you're parked next to in the photo above? Looks like something pretty cool (if a bit rough around the edges) from the 1950s! MoPar? Rootes Group? just can't see enough to tell....

09-18-2009, 09:13 AM
Does 'EB' stand for 'envelope body' or does anyone even know what it might mean?

George: It may! Ever since I began making up the reproduction tags, I have tried to research their true origin and purpose. I had assumed that the Mulliners firm had died with Triumph after their demise. However, a recent search has uncovered an interesting fact. Apparently Mulliners is owned by Bentley which is now part of VW. I have written them in England and my hope is to find someone who might have access to archives. I'm not real optimistic!

But, 'envelope body' sounds plausible.

Andrew Mace
09-18-2009, 09:31 AM
Frank, I think there were three separate and distinct body building companies in England that used some form of the name Mulliner or Mulliners. I don't believe the one connected with Bentley and Rolls-Royce is the same one that ultimately became a subsidiary of Standard-Triumph; that would've been Mulliner Park Ward.

Wiikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mulliner) has what appears to be a good explanation of the three companies.

Don Elliott
09-18-2009, 09:53 AM
Andy - Do you ever have a sharp eye !!!

That is a 1963 Volvo 544 that my brother bought brand new in 1963. When it was totally rotted through in 1970, he sold it to me for $200.00. I went to the local tech high school in the evenings all winter long - where they taught students ( and me too) how to cut, weld etc. - all for free. Then I drove it from 115,000 miles to 123,000 miles from 1971 to 1981 when it was rear ended. I collected on the insurance and then it sat rotting again in all kinds of rainy and winter weater till I sold it for $300.00 in 2007 because someone wanted the SU carbs out of it.

The Volvo and those tech classes showed me the way to correctly restore my 1958 TR3A which I did from 1987 to 1990 and have driven it 102,000 miles since my restoration.

Andrew Mace
09-18-2009, 11:24 AM
Thanks, Don! I always liked those older "mini-1948 Ford" Volvos!