Simanaitis Says

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WHAT A PROVOCATIVE headline: “Tiny, Rapid 2.” The Triumph TR2 Roadster was the cover car for R&T, April 1954. Here are a few tidbits from that road test. 

This and other images from R&T, April 1954.

“The Triumph sports roadster, now tagged the TR2, was first shown to the public at the London Show late in 1952….  A silhouette sketch of the Triumph would include its 88 inch wheelbase, 90 bhp engine and curb weight of just over 2000 pounds.”

“Combination of these three factors,” R&T continued, “gives it acceleration which is going to make many of the home-grown product owners quite unhappy—for the TR2 will out-drag any stock American car, from a standstill.”

The magazine was in a transition period, going from “AND” to “&.” (Its cover read “Road and Track” in January 1954.) Road test nomenclature F-5-54 identifies this is the fifth foreign car tested that year.

“Most sports cars require a special skill born of practice to obtain the best possible acceleration times—but the TR2 will ‘peel rubber’ for the first time driver.” 

Standard Vanguard’s modified 1991-cc inline-four.

Its four-speed manual gearbox was supplemented by a Laycock de Normanville overdrive, “a unit much superior to the American semi-automatic device,” said R&T. “The TR2 overdrive is controlled manually with a push-pull button on the dash some three inches from the left hand steering wheel position.” 

“The Grand Prix type steering wheel is an optional extra but full instrumentation is stock,” R&T wrote.

“The TR2 is one of these rare cars that the novice sports car driver can slide into and feel comfortable and confident. The bucket seats offer a good shoulder and back grip, there is adequate leg and pedal room, there is an optional adjustable steering wheel, and the seat is adjustable and the shift control is well-placed and easy to hand.”

Sort of a Mazda Miata, four decades earlier but with a fiddly top and side curtains. ds 

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2021 

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