The Triumph TR2 was a triumph of willpower. The forerunner of one of Britain's most successful sports car series,the TR2 was created by Sir John Black,legendary head of the Standard Motor Company who had acquired Triumph less than ten years previously.
The Triumph marque will always be best known for its highly successful range of TR sports cars with the first, the TR2,introduced in 1953.
If it hadn't been for the TR series - and most notably, the TR2 that started it all off, UK car industry historians have often stated that- Triumph as a marque might well have died out, Instead it went on to become a succession of best selling models that greatly enhanced the fortunes and reputation of Standard-Triumph.
Sir John Black was known to recall that in the years before the war Standard supplied engines to the fledgeling Jaguar Company, during which time Black formed a great admiration for the company and their fine sports cars.
Black's vision was for Triumph to produce smaller open tourers that would compete in the mid range sector where he had spotted a gap in the market.
His first efforts, the Triumph 1800 and Triumph 2000, were in the mould of classic British sports cars, but were deemed stylistically outmoded almost as soon as they were launched.
To help iron out some of the company’s fundamental flaws, Triumph called on the services Ken Richardson, formerly involved with the BRM Grand Prix project, to join the company to help develop an open top sports car for the Fifties.
The fruits of Richardson's efforts,known initially as the 20TS, was unveiled at the 1952 London Motor Show.
As well as the new look and the new underpinnings, the power of the 2-litre (121 Cu in) engine had also been upped to 67kW (90bhp).
The revamped TR2 was more warmly received than the original prototype but still was severely in need of proving itself.
The car was put through its final paces during the summer of 1953, with the ultimate test being a high speed run on the tricky Jabbeke motorway in Belgium, with Ken Richardson himself driving the car.
After performing with excellence and even reaching a speed of 125mph, (201kph) the TR2 was obviously good to go.
It went on to prove itself during the most testing races on the circuit, including Le Mans in France , the Mille Miglia in Italy and final icing on the cake, running out as winners on British soil at the 1954 RAC Rally.
Despite displaying performance superiority over its nearest rival, the MG/TF, early versions suffered from a number of teething problems. particularly with brake performance and noise levels.
Initially slow to catch on in the United States , even after the introduction of a hardtop option in 1954, making the TR2 a nicer car to drive in bad weather.
With sales slacking, Triumph embarked on a policy of continuous improvement, which eventually led to the release of the visually similar but considerably improved TR3 introduced by Triumph late in 1955.
During its three-year production run Triumph sold just 8,628 TR2s, although its effect on the company's long term history and commercial success would be much more difficult to appraise.