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View Full Version : TR5/TR250 Going to look at a TR250 – ballpark value please.



Mark Jones
09-29-2009, 10:15 AM
Hi Everyone;

For years I have been telling my wife that I would trade both the MGBGT and the Spitfire for a TR250. Well my chance to obtain one may have arrived. Just recently a TR250 has come up for sale local to me. My wife knows that I have always wanted a TR250 and has given her blessing to go look and buy if it is worth restoring.

The car is described in the ad as “restoration project or for parts. Body is in good shape.” An email from the seller stated: “The car is complete , it has not run in many years, interior, bumpers, and lights are off the car. This is my wife’s car and her Dad was working on it years ago. The car has been in a garage for 17yrs that I know of.”

Any areas of the car I should look at in particular in terms of assessing the “shape” of the car? Are there pieces that are next to impossible to get and that I should look to see if they are there with the car? Did many of these cars come with OD?

I’m hoping to go see the car in the next couple of days. Assuming that the body is okay; not requiring major panel restoration, and the frame is not in need of major reconstruction, what would a car like this be worth? I know its hard to place a value from the information I have, but I don’t have a sense for what a TR250 in need of complete restoration is worth but would like to have a range before going to see it. My thought is that this a $1000+/- car. The guy's price is: "make an offer". Maybe I'll put $500 in my pocket and see what happens.

All comments and advise are welcome.

Mark

TR4nut
09-29-2009, 10:29 AM
Mark-

I can't speak for 250's, but a restorable TR4 car with straight frame and reasonable body is probably a $1000-$2000 car. My guess at a 250 would be above that.

For the body, an easy check is the sills/floorboards. Also fenders where they mount near the sills, and front fenders near the headlights. You can quite often see rust on the very top of the fenders - that's usually a sign of a body that is in very sad shape.

For a 250 frame, the rear differential mounts would be a place to look, along with the trailing arm mounts.

Overdrive of course is a major bonus so if it has one you can safely figure it is worth $500-$1000.

If you can get it for $500 I think it will be well bought!

bgbassplyr
09-29-2009, 11:00 AM
You wil get a lot of answers but I'll start with the obvious 'look fors' first.

Rust @ the
1. inner and outer sills. outer sill behind (covered by) the front wings (fenders).
2. floor pans, especially under the seats and at the firewall.
3. B post where it joins the inner sill and on the back side in the wheel well.
4. spare tire well.
5. battery box and firewall behind the battery.
Take a magnet to check for bondo covering up rust in the above noted areas.

Look at all of the rubber bushings in the front suspension upper A arms and in the rear suspension, esp. the shock links.
Hard to see but common frame problems are the differential mounts, the coil spring pocket frame at the top, and the trailing arm attachments to the frame.

After sitting for so long, hard to know the condition of the engine, but be sure it will rotate at least. Drive line, clutch, transmission, radiator will be an unknown. Brake system will have to be rebuilt. Check the gas tank for rust.
Look at the wiring harness for butchering by PO.

I'll leave the rest for others. No idea of the worth but I bought a wrecked TR4A that had had a good deal of restoration done (new seats, carpets, interior panels, wire wheels, OD trans., floors and sills, clutch) for less than $900 delivered.

Look at the vin plate. If numbers end with an O, then car should have OD. A stalk switch on the right hand side of the steering column is another indicator, and you can always look under the car for a final determination.

Hope this turns out to be a good one.

Mark Jones
09-29-2009, 11:14 AM
Keep it coming guys; this is good stuff. I'll definitely take a flashlight and magnet with me.

I've looked at the price of fenders and bonnet; wow. If these areas need replacing I'll stick to my Spitfire and BGT.

DNK
09-29-2009, 11:28 AM
Get a hold of Mad River (Bill)

vagt6
09-29-2009, 02:25 PM
TR250s are among the coolest of Triumphs IMHO. Certainly worth restoring, depending on your budget.

It's probably worth noting (rather obvious to most of us) that if the car has not been previously restored, it is rusty. The question is: how much rust, and where is it?

First order of business with your inspection: take your time. Spend plenty of time inspecting for rust. Just about everything else (except bent frames and collision damage) is fairly easy to fix.

In addition to the above areas mentioned for rust, look closely inside the door sills, the entire periphery surrounding the doors. Look for rust stains or anything that's rust-colored.

Unless you have a very big (i.e., over-inflated) budget, rust is you biggest concern by far.

Good luck, let us know.

TR6BILL
09-29-2009, 05:27 PM
If indeed the body and frame are really solid, a thousand dollars would be an absolute steal. Somehow, I just don't think so though. I have seen too many that were not as described. A rust-free body and frame are worth a lot more. You can always fix the engine. The body and frame are another story. I have owned 4 Triumphs and have always gone for the best body I could find. If the car has any rust of consequence, be prepared to spend a small fortune to bring it up to a nice level. Don't get in over your head.

HerronScott
09-29-2009, 06:49 PM
I too would love to have a TR250 since I love the body style (if you couldn't tell from my signature) and it would be great to get the 6 cylinder engine to go with it, but it's probably unlikely that I'll find one cheap enough for me.

Here's a recent auction on eBay for a TR250 that needed restoration.

eBay TR250 (https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170373234404&viewitem= &sspagename=STRK%3AMEDWX%3AIT)

I actually bid on this one since it was relatively close to me but it quickly got beyond my comfort level for buying a car without seeing it.

Here's a recent TR4A auction on eBay for comparison.

eBay TR4A (https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190333203009&viewitem= &sspagename=STRK%3AMEWAX%3AIT)

The rust areas have pretty much already been pointed out for the body - floor panels, inner and outer rocker panels, rear fenders, front fenders down by the rocker panels and the H-section in the back.

The one area that I would be most concerned with personally would be frame rust in the area where the rear A-arms attach. I went through that with my first TR4A but that was back when you could pick up a parts frame and inner body in good shape for $150 (which I did). Much more expensive today!

Good luck!

Scott

14dna
09-29-2009, 07:22 PM
Mark;

In my town there is a 1957 MGA for sale that is a restoration piece.
The asking price is $1200 or offers. This may give you a bit of an idea what the TR is worth. I would think more.
The same fellow has some TR4 fenders for sale. Is on Kijiji London. Might be worth a look just for comparative purposes.

Hope this helps.

Dave :savewave:

rlwhitetr3b
09-29-2009, 07:40 PM
Mark,
I did not realize you were one of the people that were on this list in addition to “the other one”. Tony Barnhill was who I was talking about on "the other" list. I'm sure I saw where he had written a detailed explanation of how to buy a car for the best price.

I could not find it here or on list site. It is worth looking for and reading before going to look at a car.

BrentGair
09-29-2009, 11:39 PM
It's probably worth noting (rather obvious to most of us) that if the car has not been previously restored, it is rusty. The question is: how much rust, and where is it?


I have to say that may be a regional truth rather than a universal truth.

I've had a TR250 for about 15 years that has had nothing more than a bad paint job done to it (before I got it). To the best of my knowledge, it's always been in this city. The three previous owners were neighbors who sold the car amongst themselves.

The car has no rust. If it had any hidden or lurking rust, I would have found it between 1994 (when I got the car) and now.

This is a dry climate with rough winters so we don't drive our cars once it starts to cool off. Around here, you'd be hard pressed to find an MG or Triumph with rust. Rust tends to be reserved for the big 'ole sedans than people drive through the slush.

BTW, there's a picture (not a great one...but a picture) of my aging, worm but absolutely solid TR250 in the Triumph gallery here.

Mark Jones
09-30-2009, 06:27 AM
Thanks for all the good information and advice guys; much appreciated.

If the car has much at all in the way of rust or if I am at all concerned about the frame I'll walk away.

The reason being my next door neighbour has offered me his 70 Spitfire for free. The max $1500 I'm will to spend on the TR250 would by almost everything the Spitfire needs for it restoration. The only fly in the oitment is that this is the car I have always wanted.

HerronScott
09-30-2009, 06:41 AM
I'd take the TR250 since it's the car you've always wanted. There were only 8480 (or so) made so I can't see the number of opportunities being huge.

Scott

TR4
09-30-2009, 10:36 AM
If the TR250 is only a parts car, I would still offer something for it and use it to help restore a nicer one. Keep working towards your dream.

Silverghost
09-30-2009, 05:41 PM
Can't you have both? Free is free..... :smile:

glemon
09-30-2009, 10:50 PM
In the past three years I bought and sold one tr250 and then bought another one, so three actual sales to speak of, the first car (bought and sold) was bought for $2150, somewhat of a time warp car and off the road for many years still had original bumblebee hoses and such, some rust, not terminal, all there, really nice seats, guages, probably pretty much everyting else needed redone, I resold this car for $3900 shortly after purchase (smart guy right) read on...

Year later I sold my Austin Healey, bought another TR250 for about $5700, off e-bay, in hindsight probably worth less than the first car, rust maybe a little worse, missing some of the TR250 badges, needs completer interior (more on that later) engine turned out to be very good, tore down and needed more a refurbish on the motor than a rebuild.

Anyway, I am at least $7000-$8000 over the purchase price into restoring the 250 and that is buying parts on sale at the Roadster Factory and doing ALL the work myself.

Things to look for, interior, I know I have more money into the interior than any other part of the car, dash top, crash pads, door panels, carpet, seat covers--the more you can re-use here the better.

Badges and chrome, all expensive to replace, if all there and useable to much the better, especially all the TR250 badges, the chrome front sidelights unique to the 4a and 250, the rear bumper.

Rust as mentioned, if you have time and some skill and a mig this is not a huge dollar eater, but a huge time eater.

Wheels, the original hubcaps are expensive and unobtanium, as in maybe $400 for a decent used set. If wire wheels if hubs and splines aren't good you will spend even more.

Anyway, I am ending up doing about everything plus some upgrades, added O/D, anti roll bars, etc. Major upcoming expenses chroming or good used or new bumpers and sidelights, paint (once again doing it myself but materials are expensive) miscellaneous trim and rubbber, door molding etc.

Guages are expensive and no longer available new, the freaking hazard switches have been going for $100 on e-bay for decent used, so a good one of those is a bonus as well, I am still shopping that out and hoping to find the last guy in North America that has a good one and doesn't know they go for $100 on ebay who will sell it to me for $10 bucks.

A usable top would be a bonus.

I just got the front and rear supension back on and brakes on and tightened up tonight, motor rebuilt, carbs rebuilt, tranny rebuilt, rust repair done. So putting it back together paint prep and paint are what I have left.

Not trying to be discouraging, just telling you what to look for, by the way as far as price, I guess I would say I got a deal when I bought the first car, paid too much when I bought the 2nd, so maybe the $4000 for s fairly solid complete original car needing restoration is about right, TR250s are kind of "hot" right now, partly thanks to features in Hemmings Sports and Classic, Sports Car Market etc.

TR6BILL
10-01-2009, 03:16 AM
Excellent diatribe, and so true. I had close to $40K in my last TR6 <span style="font-weight: bold">AND</span> parts were readily available. The key words about body work...MIG and skill. Not everyone can do body work, sadly. Saw a recent 250 advertised in our area (and we are not exactly a hotbed of LBC activity here) for $5K, firm. The rear 1/2 of the car was in the weather for 10 years, and basically gone.

There are some decent ones out there, just gotta be patient.

Mark Jones
10-01-2009, 06:50 AM
Excellent; thanks glemon. I had noticed from going through Moss' catalogue how expensive interior bits were compared to other cars I have restored; very surprising. The trim bits; holy cow!

This car being in pieces lowers the value as far as I am concerned, even if the body and frame a in relatively good condition, because it's been apart for 17 yrs and who know what pieces are missing. Others may disagree, but that's okay.

I'm fortunate that I may be having to choose between two nice sought after cars; I'll find out once I see the car Friday night. I've already seen the 70 Spitfire and it needs floors and sill, but at least it is arguably the most desirable year. And I just restored my 80 two winter ago so I know what I am getting myself into. Heck the panels the Spitfire needs are about the cost of one front fender for a TR250.

Andrew Mace
10-01-2009, 08:31 AM
I've already seen the 70 Spitfire and it needs floors and sill, but at least it is arguably the most desirable year.You're right; that IS arguable. I happen to agree to some extent, as I like the uniqueness of the badging and lighting on the '70. Possibly THE most desirable year of all Spitfires in North America would be the 1967-68 Mk3 with the unencumbered, 75hp engine. But very good arguments can be for many other years. :wink:


And I just restored my 80 two winter ago so I know what I am getting myself into. Heck the panels the Spitfire needs are about the cost of one front fender for a TR250.Better still is the fact that those Spitfire panels are likely to fit better with less "fettling"!

tdskip
10-01-2009, 09:28 AM
If you were looking on the West Coast you are going to be into her for at least $6K+ for a car with a LOT of needs. A TR250 and Spitfire are <span style="text-decoration: underline">really</span> different cars, and I'd expect you could buy and refresh (not restore) a Spitfire for less than 1/2 the cost of a TR250.

Mark Jones
10-01-2009, 09:36 AM
...and I'd expect you could buy and refresh (not restore) a Spitfire for less than 1/2 the cost of a TR250.
You are absolutely right.

How different can they be? They share the same windshield frame :-)


...Better still is the fact that those Spitfire panels are likely to fit better with less "fettling"!
You are so right. I replaced a rear fender and it's inner fender on the Spitfire. The new panels fit together like a glove; no fussing at all.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this car. If it's more of a project than I want then I know others who will be interested; I'm sure it won't be sitting in the same garage within a couple weeks.

HerronScott
10-01-2009, 07:53 PM
You're right; that IS arguable. I happen to agree to some extent, as I like the uniqueness of the badging and lighting on the '70. Possibly THE most desirable year of all Spitfires in North America would be the 1967-68 Mk3 with the unencumbered, 75hp engine. But very good arguments can be for many other years. :wink:

My personal preferences are with the 1968 Spitfire MkIII as well. I prefer the rounded early body style but with the redesigned front grille and raised bumper over the earlier MkI and MkII. The 1968 also still retained the central gauges which is a nice touch.

I could be partial of course since my wife had a 1968. :smile:

Mark, so when do you go see this TR250?

Scott

TonyPanchot
10-01-2009, 09:17 PM
I can add that I have a 250 that sat for 15+ years with a small amount of rust under the door sills that I replaced
spent 8K with TRF
3K at Quantum for new 4 with od
4K on paint
4k with misc vendors
and who knows what at local part stores but very happy with the final product
I love driving this car as it is like no other, fast, agile and just a hoot
I have had people chase me down to talk shop on the country roads
plus I can work on it

https://www.sltoa.org/members/panchot/panchot.htm

all I can say is if you want it go for it, day by day life goes on and some day you will look back and be happy

just my 2c

tdskip
10-01-2009, 10:01 PM
That is a nice 250 Tony.

Mark Jones
10-02-2009, 06:59 AM
Mark, so when do you go see this TR250?
Scott
The guy is suppose to give me a call when he gets off work later this afternoon; I'm carrying my cell with me all day (something I never do) to ensure I don't miss the call.

I haven't been so excited about seeing a car since I bought my BGT 11 years ago. I awoke early this morning and couldn't get back to sleep; laying there thinking about this car.

Mickey Richaud
10-02-2009, 07:06 AM
Oh, yeah - you're done for! :yesnod:

Best of luck to you - hope it ends up in your driveway.

Mickey

Mark Jones
10-02-2009, 08:00 AM
Yeah, I know. The worst thing about this situation is that my neighbour is so excited to give me the car.

Marvin Gruber
10-02-2009, 10:29 AM
Get them both, surely you can find someone to store one of them for a while. I have cars stored at a couple different locations. Can't have just one. If your were closer I would probably be hounding you about the 250.

Marv

TR_JOE250
10-02-2009, 08:09 PM
I purchased my 250 from a used car lot in San Marcos, CA. in Feb. of 84 when I was 17 for $1464, best LBC purchase I have ever made. It's a rust free original with motor and trans removed to restore and I keep getting offers. I love that car. Can't wait to see yours. And I agree take the Spit as well I have two.

Mark Jones
10-03-2009, 06:30 AM
I took a look at the car last night. It was a bigger project than I wanted. I went thinking that if it needed a new frame that I wasn't interested and this car certainly needed a new one. Plus almost all of the TR250 specific trim was missing and the original seats were replced with ones from a Spitfire. The body panels were pretty good but I did see quite a few pop rivets and sheet metal screws.

So I took a couple pictures of the car and sent them off to the other two clubs in the area. Maybe someone with deeper pockets than me will want the car. The car is savable; certainly not a parts car.

HerronScott
10-03-2009, 07:18 AM
That's a shame. So it did need a frame?

Scott

Mark Jones
10-03-2009, 07:52 AM
Oh yeah, did it ever. There's goes $4500 right there.

Maybe I'm being stupid not buying it; its my dream lbc. It would be a good ten year project. But I think it would be better to find a $3000 abandoned restoration with a better frame than this one; for me at least. I'm going to go with the 70 Spitfire instead. Although I'm disappointed that I won't have my dream car in the garage next weekend; I do feel fairly good about my decision; I know I made the right one.