1964 Triumph GTR4 Dové Coupé Coachwork by Thomas Harrington Registration no. AXJ 722B Chassis no. CT228390 Engine no. CT23132E
'With the TR3A safely launched, Triumph looked at several ways to restyle the TR series. The 'Zest' project, which finally matured in 1961, became the new TR4. Its new body style was the work of Triumph's Italian consultant, Giovanni Michelotti.' Graham Robson, 'The Triumph TRs'.
First step in the TR's transition from uncomplicated, rugged sports car to something altogether more refined, the TR4 was introduced in 1961. Michelotti's new bodyshell brought the styling bang up to date while beneath the skin there numerous chassis changes. Rack-and-pinion steering, widened front and rear track, and an all-synchromesh gearbox contributed to improved driveability, while wind-up windows were a big advance on the preceding TR3's primitive side screens. The standard engine was the 2,138cc four-cylinder overhead-valve unit first offered on the TR3A, and when equipped with the optional overdrive the TR4 was good for a top speed of almost 110mph, as was its successor, the TR4A. Launched in 1964, the latter added independent rear suspension to the package, thus bringing the TR sports car into line with rest of the Triumph range. In this form the TR continued in production until 1967 when it was superseded by the six-cylinder TR5. Today, the four-cylinder TRs are among the easiest of post-war classic sports cars to own and maintain, being supported by a multitude of component suppliers and other specialists.
The very rare TR4 variant offered here features the 'Dové' fastback coupé conversion offered by the Worthing-based coachbuilder Thomas Harrington, which also produced a similar modification for the Sunbeam Alpine. The Harrington-converted TR4s were marketed by L F Dove Ltd, Triumph agents in Wimbledon, and were given that French-sounding name to extend their appeal to Europe. As well as the fastback roof, the Dové also featured a 15-gallon fuel tank, fold-down 2+2 rear seating and an opening rear hatch, making it an exceptionally practical long-distance tourer. The only problem was the price, which at £1,250 was approaching Jaguar E-Type territory. The Dové conversion was never offered on the TR4A.
'AXJ 722B' has been with the same private owner for the last 14 years and was restored by them earlier this year. We are advised by the vendor that the car is fundamentally sound, with bright paintwork, sparkling chrome and an exceptional interior. Other features of note include overdrive transmission, a full-length Webasto sunroof, wire wheels and the original tool kit, which is complete and still in place. Said to drive exceptionally well, with a positive feel and gorgeous sound, the car is offered with Heritage certificate, old-style logbook, current MoT/tax, V5 registration document and a quantity of expired MoT certificates and other documents. Harrington-converted TR4s come to market only rarely and this one is a guaranteed head-turner at any gathering of Triumph sports cars.