Grant secures future for unique record-breaking Triumph prototype

| 12 Mar 2020
Classic & Sports Car – Grant secures future for unique record-breaking Triumph prototype

For the latest classic car news, features, buyer’s guides and classifieds, sign up to the C&SC newsletter here

This record-setting Triumph TR2 has been rescued, thanks to a £250,000 National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) grant. 

It has been ‘secured for the nation’ and acquired by the British Motor Museum in Gaydon, Warwickshire, where it will be displayed and, occasionally, run.

So what makes this prototype British sports car so special?

Classic & Sports Car – Grant secures future for unique record-breaking Triumph prototype
David Stocker, Trustee of NHMF, (left) and Kevin Timms, Chairman of BMIHT, pictured with this historic TR2

It is believed to be the only remaining example of the three 1953 Triumph TR2 prototypes produced by the Standard Motor Company (SMC) for speed trials held at Jabbeke in Belgium.

That May, this car achieved a speed of almost 125mph, thereby establishing a record for two-litre road cars – and generating publicity that aided Triumph’s renaissance.

Following testing, the car entered private ownership in the mid-’50s and when it was sold again in the 1970s, its owner dismantled it with the intention of embarking on a restoration, but this never happened.

Fast-forward to 2015 and the TR2 was bought in its boxed state. Fortunately, almost all the car had survived and it was restored over a two-year period to its original specification.

“This is a truly triumphant day,” said René Olivieri, Interim Chair of The National Heritage Memorial Fund. “A beacon of the UK’s pioneering motoring industry in its heyday, this Triumph TR2 prototype is a very important piece of our industrial and social heritage. At the National Heritage Memorial Fund we felt it was imperative to save it for the nation, for future generations to enjoy.”

“The Triumph TR2 prototype is an important part of our national automotive history,” added Nigel Huddleston, Heritage Minister. “I’m delighted that, thanks to the National Heritage Memorial Fund, this unique sports car will now go on display to the public at the British Motor Museum.”

While Stephen Laing, Head of Collections at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust (BMIHT), commented: “The Jabbeke TR2 record car is a perfect example of the lengths that motor manufacturers were going to, in order to restore their markets and promote their products in the post-war years.”

“We are delighted that the NHMF has generously enabled the British Motor Museum to purchase a car that complements its collection and the story of the motor industry so well.”

Images: British Motor Museum


Bargain ’50s greats: Healey vs Morgan vs TR2

Buyer’s guide: Triumph Spitfire

Is this the world’s best remaining Volkswagen Golf GTI?