By the early 1950s, several British automotive manufacturers had completely devoted themselves to satisfying the seemingly insatiable postwar appetite for affordable sports cars. One such manufacturer was Coventry’s Standard-Triumph. After a woefully misguided attempt to enter the market with the underpowered and frumpy-looking 1800 Roadster, in 1953 Standard unveiled a much smaller and more “sporting” sports car, which it called the TR2. The TR2 utilized a conventional, ladder-type frame, with independent front suspension and leaf-sprung live axle, mated to a 1991-cc, cast iron block, inline 4-cylinder engine, derived from—of all things—the Massey Fergusson tractor! With looks reminiscent of the Jaguar XK120, but at a fraction of the price ($2,000), the TR2 enjoyed robust sales.
As the ’50s progressed the TR2 received incremental improvements, warranting it being rebadged as a TR3 in 1955 and TR3A in 1957. Some of these improvements included the addition of front-wheel discs and an enlarged 2.2-liter engine. However, as the ’50s were coming to a close, it became apparent to the powers that be at Standard-Triumph that the TR3 was looking decidedly “old” and dated, compared to the latest offerings from its competitors.
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