1958 Triumph TR3a

UYM 6, a Triumph TR3a with period BARC & Goodwood history 

(This is a long one so skip to the bottom for the pictures!)

This car, commission number TS 26877-0 was recorded as built on Friday 31st January 1958 and was one of the very first TR3a models to reach the UK home market. Early production RHD cars were rare and typically, early supply models of a new TR like this to the public in the UK would be to very special order (if at all) and this was indeed the case with UYM 6.

UYM 6 was purchased as a 21st birthday present for one Richard John Edmund Dangerfield, son of Roland Dangerfield, the Chairman and Managing Director of Temple Press Limited. Temple Press were publishers of “The Motor” magazine at this time. Mr Richard JE Dangerfield’s 21st Birthday was 1st February 1958 and UYM 6, this early production of the brand new Triumph sportscar, was a gift from his father.

A search of original factory production records, reveals that the car was ordered to be fitted with wire wheels, overdrive, fawn tonneau cover and a heater – all normal optional extras, plus the most unusual option of competition shock absorbers. These were never supplied in isolation and generally only specified where competition use for the car was envisaged by the original purchaser, as they gave a particularly hard ride that normal owners would find too uncomfortable. Richard Dangerfield has also confirmed that UYM 6 had rear disc brakes fitted from new, by the Factory, which is hitherto unheard of. Rear Disc brakes were exclusively fitted to the ‘Works’ racing cars destined for International races such as the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Apparently less than a dozen sets of rear disc brakes ever existed for sidecsreen TR’s, and the majority of those are still known to be fitted to the ‘Works’ racers of 1957 and 58 and the later TR4S Le Mans entries from 1959 and 1960. In fact, there were so few sets of these rear discs and calipers in circulation at the time and such was their cost to a department run on a shoestring, that most were withheld as cars were sold on after use and there are many well told stories of retaining 'special' parts in the TR world.

Competition parts were usually fitted by Ken Richardson’s Competition Department and it is very likely that this car was prepared by Triumph’s ‘Works’ mechanics, when the many special order parts not normally fitted on the line found their way onto UYM 6. The car was finished in British Racing Green, with red vynide trim and fawn hood and sidescreens. Michelin ‘X’ radial ply tyres were also fitted from new at extra cost, so it was built as a high specification vehicle and would have cost, with tax, in excess of £1000, which for a TR3 was a significant benchmark in the day. Richard Dangerfield also confirms that the car came with a fitted hardtop, not recorded on the production records, again suggesting that the car had special attention off the production line post initial manufacture. It is probable that the various electrical ancilliaries that remain on the car, such as the roof, spotlights and reversing lights etc. were also fitted at this time.

Richard Dangerfield has confirmed that he raced the car and rallied UYM 6 up until he sold the car in late 1963 and a photograph of the car racing at Goodwood was found in the Beaulieu National Motor Museum Archives, where the negative still exists. The photograph gives full details of the race, being Event 6 of the 38th Goodwood Members Meeting which was a 5 lap handicap race, on 26th September 1959. This photograph was reproduced in Bill Piggott’s 1995 book, “Triumph by Name, Triumph by Nature” on page 143, albeit therein wrongly captioned as “UYM 8” and not “UYM 6”, however the discovery of the negative and detailed inspection by Bill makes this clear. Interestingly the rear disc brakes are clearly shown on the photograph of the car racing at Goodwood in 1959, indicating that they were fitted for racing purposes in the period. Car 37 in this race, driven by Richard EJ Dangerfield was entered by one Roy North, who was one of the leading Triumph TR racers of the time, frequently seen at the front of the grid side by side with Sid Hurrell of SAH fame, Bill de Selincourt and one Dickie Attwood who later went on to better things. 

Further details as to its racing and rallying history are as yet still unclear, so much is still to be revealed about this important car. However, although the old log-books for UYM 6 do not survive (although reputed to exist), fortunately a large bundle of bills and receipts covering the 1964 – 71 period are still with the car, from which it has been possible to piece together the ownership history when the car left Richard Dangerfield and Temple Press Limited. Based on recollections of previous owners, that the car was sold to Roy North Motors in early 1964 and then onto another private owner shortly afterwards. Invoices demonstrate that this owner in the 1964 – 66 period the car was Mr J H Barrett of Basildon, Essex and Mr Barrett is thought to have bought the car from Roy North at his Watford premises. UYM 6 seems then to have passed, circa 1966 to a Mr Bathurst-Brown, also based in North London and under both ownerships after Richard Dangerfield was maintained and fitted with parts supplied by various vendors in North London and South Essex, including SAH Triumphtune and the local Standard Triumph dealer. By 1969, receipts indicate that UYM 6 had come into the ownership of a Mr Reeve, who lived in the Berkhampsted area. Mr Reeve owned the car throughout 1970 but, circa 1971 it passed to his University friend Bernard Payne who had known both Reeve, Bathhurst Brown and possibly Barrett from their days at Imperial College where they studied structural engineering together.

Bernie Payne remembers the car as having been, ‘rapid, raced and rallied’ at the time and the reason he bought it was because it was ‘bloomin’ quick’. He subsequently joined the then newly formed TR Register in late 1971 and, fortunately, a copy of his original club membership form survives from that date. This indicates that the car was not running at this time and was “off the road for repairs”, which by inspection of the original engine in the car was a broken crank. Also mentioned at that time were that both front wings and the nearside rear wing were fibreglass and that the car had ‘four wheel disc brakes, fitted prior to 1966’. A hardtop was said to be fitted.

The car was still finished in Dark Green (understood now to be repainted in Ford Goodwood Green from the paint receipt) and still carried its original engine, numbered TS 27120E. This engine remains in the car to this day. Mr Payne eventually stored UYM 6 for almost 40 years, albeit in an increasingly poor state. He eventually decided that he was never likely to restore the car and accordingly sold it in 2010 to Tony Sheach, the well known competition TR guru and rally car campaigner.

When inspected by Bill Piggott (the TR Register Archivist and DVLA nominated club authority on the Triumph TR) in 2010 he found it to be genuine and authentic, albeit in a very poor, rusty and part dismantled state. The correct original commission / chassis number plate, which confirms identity, is still attached to the bulkhead and, as mentioned, the original engine is still with the car. Contact has been made with the DVLA in the June under the V765 scheme with culminating in the retrieval of the original registration number and a current V5C being issued.

Dad bought the car in 2011 with a view to he and I restoring the car to period competition specification.

It is currently fully stripped. The pictures show the extent of the work required. The body is in very poor state and will require a huge amount of reconstruction, the chassis however is in fact in quite good order. Various suspension components are in progress and parts for the rebuild are being gathered.

A slow but ongoing restoration.....