In the 1950s the Triumph Motor Company had come to the conclusion that they needed more sporting glory. They made an effort to do this by taking over Morgan; but this came to nothing so the decision was made to create a range of cars that could compete in rallying with the likes of MG. The TR2 and TR3 were introduced and these were moderately successful, but by 1961 they had started to look a little dated. A redesign was called for.
Triumph's TR4 was a British car through and through, but it was designed by an Italian, Giovanni Michellotti, one of the 20th century's most celebrated sports car designers. His brief was to retain the charm of the preceding TR2s and TR3s but bring it right up to date.
The first things to go had to be the cutaway doors, and the detachable 'side curtains'. This meant that windup windows could be fitted; something we all take completely for granted these days. The result was a sleeker and frankly prettier car which, although it embodied the same basic chassis design of earlier models, had a wider track, both front and rear, which gave it better road holding characteristics. It was a full 12 inches longer than its predecessor. There was an option of a hardtop kit, or an easily folded vinyl top.
The Car was powered by a rugged, and reliable (in its earliest form, designed to power a tractor!), two litre four-cylinder engine, which was later increased to 2.2 litre. A top speed of 102 mph, and smart acceleration of nought to 60 of 10.9 seconds made it a very popular car for rallying (as indeed it still is) and there were several endurance race successes in the United States.
1965 saw the introduction of the TR4A; there was little difference at all from its predecessor, except that the live axle arrangement was replaced by independent rear suspension. Whilst this was an improvement in many ways it also added extra weight, and performance suffered as a consequence. Indeed a fair proportion of TR4As were later built with a similar live axle system to the original.
Even today it is not unusual to see TR4s competing in vintage racing car or hillclimbing events.