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63 TR3
11-21-2014, 07:33 PM
I am trying to determine whether the engine in my TR3A (TS72908L) is original to the car. The SN on the engine is TS73138E. If my research is correct, the car was built in 1960, even though it is titled in Ohio as a 1963. I have owned the car for 35 years, and having moved to a warm climate am able to use it year round.

NutmegCT
11-21-2014, 07:38 PM
Welcome to BCF!

One way to get original data is to contact the British Heritage Motor Center:

https://www.heritage-motor-centre.co.uk/store/heritage-certificates-and-archive-services/heritage-certificates.html

Tom

TR3driver
11-21-2014, 08:10 PM
According to Piggott, TS72908L would probably have been completed in May or June of 1960. But there was a big downturn in the car market about then, so many of them spent quite a few months sitting on dealer's lots. And generally, if they were sold as "new", then the year on the paperwork reflected the year first sold (or even the year after that for cars sold late in the year) rather than the year of manufacture. If you look around, there is a possibility of a cheap looking metal plate with the legend "STC 63" on it, which was sometimes added.
https://i258.photobucket.com/albums/hh260/TR3driver/Misc%20parts/STCcloseup.jpg~original

As Tom implied, the only way to be certain you have the right engine is to get a copy of the build record. Triumph used TSxxxxxE engines for other things than building TRs, so the engine numbers tend to run a few hundred higher than the commission numbers. But yours are close enough that I think it very likely you have a matching set.

charleyf
11-22-2014, 01:02 AM
Randall,
It is my understanding that the only state that "required" the tags in your picture was California. Even at that not all cars sold here had them. Likely the ones that went off the lots in a timely manner rather than being held for a subsequent year before being sold.
One of my TR4s has a plate and the (stupid ) state of California even included the STC63 as the first 5 digits of the registered VIN for the car.
Charley

TR3driver
11-22-2014, 05:51 AM
There has been a lot of debate over that; but as I recall they came up with several examples of cars that had been first sold in other states and had the STC tag. Possibly it was only for cars that came through CA, since Cal Sales was the distributor for more than just CA. Besides, NV is right next door, so it's possible the car was originally sold in CA. (The photo I posted was from a car I bought used in NM.) It does seem to have been only on cars that were slow to sell, and only those first sold in 1960 or later. But certainly not all cars had them, all of which is why I only mentioned it as a "possibility".

As far as adding the STC string to the commission number; I doubt you can blame that on the state since most were not done that way. More likely a mistake by a DMV clerk, IMO. Lots of odd things happened; for example my current TR3 was originally registered by the engine number, rather than the commission number. On the first TR3A I bought in CA, I later found that the number on the car didn't match the paperwork at all. Told the DMV about it, they didn't even act surprised, just inspected the car and issued me a new title & registration with the corrected number. I'll bet you could do the same thing, if it bugs you.

PKPoole
11-22-2014, 09:48 AM
Hello,
I've been tracking TR3 data (VIN/Eng/Body/Prod) for a while. It is unofficial and just a hobby. For VINs about your number I have a difference between VINs and Engines of between 250 and 260. Yours is 230, so I would think it is likely original. Good luck. Pat

Geo Hahn
11-22-2014, 11:44 AM
There has been a lot of debate over that; but as I recall they came up with several examples of cars that had been first sold in other states and had the STC tag. Possibly it was only for cars that came through CA, since Cal Sales was the distributor for more than just CA...

Could be. My TR4 has one and it was first sold in Hawaii, but that was also part of Cal Sales' territory.

https://i1214.photobucket.com/albums/cc499/Ahwahnee18/TR4/STC_zpsf9151e92.jpg

The engine number/commission number spread is often consistent but there are exceptions. My TR4 has an engine number that is 6548 lower than the commission number.

charleyf
11-22-2014, 02:31 PM
As far as adding the STC string to the commission number; I doubt you can blame that on the state since most were not done that way. More likely a mistake by a DMV clerk, IMO. Lots of odd things happened; for example my current TR3 was originally registered by the engine number, rather than the commission number. On the first TR3A I bought in CA, I later found that the number on the car didn't match the paperwork at all. Told the DMV about it, they didn't even act surprised, just inspected the car and issued me a new title & registration with the corrected number. I'll bet you could do the same thing, if it bugs you.

My car was originally sold in CA and then much later moved to AZ from which I bought it. I found an incorrect number on the commission number portion of the title. So I had to go through the CHP inspection to get that corrected. I probed the CHP officer at the time about the extra STC63 and he told me that they were using those numbers on the title because "these cars did not have enough numbers/ characters to suit the DMV so they required the extra tags and use of the numbers." My opinion was that he was not old enough to have been anything but in grade school or less in 1963. I have a friend that found some old DMV documents from a dealership and those had mention of the STC tags but no real reason for them. I agree with the left over cars getting the plates.
Charley

SteveBones
11-22-2014, 03:05 PM
This is a very interesting thread. After owning my TR4 for almost 25 years, I now know the purpose of the two small holes in the engine compartment. Looks like they were for the STC tag that must of been removed by the previous owner. Thanks for sharing.

Steve

Don Elliott
11-22-2014, 04:19 PM
I agree with PK Poole above. My 1958 TR3A which I bought brand new in May 1958 (TS 27489 LO) has engine number TS 27789 E.

This makes a difference of 300.

martx-5
11-22-2014, 04:24 PM
... he told me that they were using those numbers on the title because "these cars did not have enough numbers/ characters to suit the DMV so they required the extra tags and use of the numbers." ...

What the heck would they have had to add to the '68 Saab Sonnet 3 cylinder that I had owned that had chassis number "235"? That was it. That's what was on the registration. No titles in New York until 1972. My TR3 has no title.

Edit: BTW, my TS 23677 L has engine number TS 24071 E. Difference of 394.

6TTR3A
11-22-2014, 06:55 PM
Welcome to the forum! (I was in Henderson just last week) My Heritage certificate says my TS72217E engine is original to my TS72099L 1960 TR3A. That's only 118 numbers difference. I know Morgan was buying lots of the 1991cc TR engines to modify and put in their uprated plus fours, but 112 engines in 11 days ??
My TR was built on 29 March 1960 & yours was built on the 8th or 9th of April 1960, eleven days hence. (230-118=112)
I know there is little rhyme or reason in TR numbers---another mystery!
Frank

Geo Hahn
11-22-2014, 07:50 PM
It is my understanding that neither the bodies nor the engines were used in strict numerical order - hence the spread between the numbers would vary some day to day, week to week.

This obviously wasn't a computer controlled environment -- I believe the 'system' they used was an index card attached to the vehicle that was updated as the chassis moved down the line.

Of course once the card was done it might have tea stains, grease or whatever on it, then it was microfiched or filmed and then decades later a human tries to read that film. It's almost a miracle we have any records at all.

HerronScott
11-23-2014, 10:33 AM
The difference on my TR3A which was built in May 4, 1959 and has the original engine according to the Heritage certificate is only 47 (more evidence that there was no pattern or consistency as to the difference).

1959 Triumph TR3A


Commission: TS51339L
Body: EB49811 (1054832)
Engine TS51386E


Built:May 4, 1959

Scott

TR3driver
11-23-2014, 12:13 PM
I don't have the build record for it, but TS13571L has had TS13986E since at least 1975 or so; a difference of 415.

The commission number was assigned before they started assembling the car; in effect all cars were built to order (tho usually the factory generated the order). Then as the car worked it's way through the assembly sequence, any problem found might see it sent back up the line for correction or even set aside for a few days (or weeks) waiting for a particular part (eg Alfin brake drums). So they weren't necessarily finished in order. In some cases, I believe there were even gaps in the commission number series.

I suspect the same thing happened with the engines, the engine number was assigned first (along with the specifications and options) and they weren't necessarily finished in order. In some cases, specific engines would have been assigned to specific commission numbers (if, for example, the order included the optional alloy sump or 86mm liners), but I'm guessing that usually they just grabbed any engine handy that met the requirements. They weren't kept neatly lined up on a conveyor belt! (As a side note, the Morgan engines had different options, like the fan mounted to the water pump instead of the crankshaft, so engines had to be assigned a destination before being built.)

On top of all that "process", mistakes were certainly made. I particularly enjoyed Jonmac's story of finding a car in the showroom with wire wheels on one side, steel wheels on the other, and one of each in the boot!

63 TR3
11-24-2014, 01:29 PM
Thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge. Mine does have plate added that is stamped STC 63. I definitely will get the heritage certificate.