View Full Version : TR2/3/3A Possible TR3 purchase, some advice, please....

02-15-2005, 08:07 AM
Hi all, I've come across a '59 TR3A in signal red for sale a couple of hours away from me. I haven't seen the car in person yet, just photos and details of the car. I've purchased enough LBC's that I don't take anyone's work on the conditon of the car until I see it in person. But the owner does sound straight up and here are the details of the car. He purchased it 22 yrs ago after it had been restored by the previous owner. Mechanically the car sounds healthy and is driveable, the brake master is beginning to weep a little fluid which took some paint off of the firewall. The floors, frame, trunk and passenger side inner/outer rockers are all solid, but the driver'
s side rockers and door skin are rusting and will need redoing. By the pics and his despcription the car still looks quite good, but it is eveident that rust is coming through. So the purchase price is $9500 Canadian or $7700 USD. I realize that major bodywork like this will cost, and after reading SCguy's woes on that very expensive TR6 resto, it scares the heck out of me. But I have no room to do anything but minor repairs and would have to farm that work out. But I've always wanted a 3, and $9500 is about all I can afford, and actually will have to get a loan for that to pay for it. So am I crazy to puchase this car on credit and drive it the way it is for a few years until I pay it off, and then fix it? I only drive my sportscars in dry weather and don't need a car to commute with and besides we already have a car for that, so this is only a toy. And, of course, if the car turned out to be worse than described, I would not pay the asking price. The fellow does sound very firm on the price.
Thanks for any advice that can be given...!

02-15-2005, 08:26 AM
Sure sounds high for a rusting car. There is no telling what is hiding under the paint eveywhere else. Still, it may be worth a trip.

02-15-2005, 09:09 AM
JM, I concur with 35th that this sounds a little high for a rusted car. There will be more than meets the eye. Now, for the nexus of your post: no, you should not purchase the car on credit. If I sound like your father, I probably am old enough to be. Buying the basic car for restoration on borrowed monies says that you need a new hobby. Or, look harder and be more patient till you can find something that you can afford. If I were you and the guy isn't bending and it is several hours away, I wouldn't even bother. You asked.


Mickey Richaud
02-15-2005, 09:42 AM
JM -

Be very afraid! I'm with the others - too much on the front end for this one. There are too many others out there in better shape for the money. It may take a while, and it may be farther away, but you'll find it.

On the other hand, if you do look at it, and want to tackle the job, make him a realistic (from your point of view) offer. It's amazing what money in hand can do.


02-15-2005, 11:42 AM
Excellent advice above, from folks who've been in your position before.

I'd suggest to exercise patience. Save a few thousand more, and buy the best example you can possibly afford. You mention that you don't intend to do the major stuff, so be sure to buy a car that doesn't need any "major stuff".

And in time, you'll find "your" TR3. Guaranteed.

Good luck, let us know!

02-15-2005, 02:32 PM
Too high!!!

Keep checking the Tyee Triumph Club web site, as TR3s come up for sale in the Seattle area for better prices. You should be able to pick up a rust free, nice running car for $7500US. It will have thin paint and worn interior, but should have no rust.

Never buy a rusty TR, period. If you can see rust, you should be very afraid of what you can't see.


Geo Hahn
02-15-2005, 02:43 PM
No disagreement here. Though patience can be difficult once you've decided you want a particular car -- it is the most important aspect of the shopping and negotiating. Rust, sheet metal and paint are where the bucks disappear quick so I would hold out for an example that doesn't need so much of that.

There will always be good TRs for sale and always a better one if you wait. Start making the 'payments' now on that loan you're not taking out by putting the money aside -- and keep looking.

That said, a couple of hours drive to look it over might be useful if only to learn specifics of what to expect on a TR3.

02-17-2005, 06:19 PM
I appraise cars for a living and own a 56 Tr3. If you have visible rust you have a much bigger hidden problem. I would suggest finding a car that has been restored (home type or older pro job) that is in the maint. stage. Even a restored car will need work (stuff wears out) but it is always cheaper to spend more up front on a well done vehicle than trying to repair etc. Remember the bodywork is more expensive than the mechanical so I'd lean toward a great frame/body/susp/elec/mech in that order. Luck with it.

02-17-2005, 07:04 PM
I pretty much agree with the others on the rust problem, but I do have one question. Just where are you guys finding these rust free TRs. I have owned more LBCs than I care to remember, and the rust free cars I have owned I can count on my third hand.I even bought an early MGB from Tousoun? AZ. It was very clean, but when I pulled up the rubber mats the floors came with them.

Geo Hahn
02-17-2005, 07:41 PM
Did you find an old Michigan map under there too? Lots of 'Arizona' cars started life somewhere else. Millions have moved here and brought their LBCs with them. Check the population of Two-Suns today vs 40 years ago and you'll see what I mean.

My TR4 was low miles & rust-free only because it was owned by a little old man who lived on top of a volcano in the Pacific ocean.

02-17-2005, 07:51 PM
My TR4 was low miles & rust-free only because it was owned by a little old man who lived on top of a volcano in the Pacific ocean.

[/ QUOTE ]

My TR4 is rust-free only because all the rusty pieces have fallen off. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

02-17-2005, 07:55 PM
GEO! I thought that last post by BoxORocks would get your attention.---Keoke /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif

02-20-2005, 09:43 AM
If you can see rust on the outer sills, then the inner sills are definetely rusted.

02-20-2005, 03:13 PM
Hi all, I passed on that car. All my previous experiences with LBCs also was that if any rust was showing there was more somewhere else. I did find it hard to believe that just the rockers could be rusty and nothing else.
Going into debt for a rusty car is plainly insane.