TR4A: New Chassis, Same Style
The first major change to the Triumph TR4 came in 1965, when the Triumph TR4A took over. Although the styling and basic running gear were much as before, the Michelotti design now hid a completely different chassis.
Two years earlier, Triumph had launched a new upper-middle-class sedan, the 2000, which featured a new type of independent rear suspension, with coil springs and cast alloy semi-trailing arms. For the TR4A, the engineers squeezed a slightly different version of this new rear end under the existing bodyshell. To support this, and to locate the chassis-mounted final drive casing, a new chassis frame had to be developed, this being more rigid than the original type and visually quite different.
The 1965 Triumph TR4A could be identified by its
tubular horizontal-bar grille that replaced the
stamped aluminum unit seen on the TR4.
Save for the fact that it was no faster, this latest TR was a much improved car, riding better and no longer suffering from the excessive rear-axle hop that had afflicted all previous TR types. Unless, however, you happened to buy a TR4A fitted with the old-fashioned beam axle.
Once again, U.S. Triumph dealers -- looking over their shoulders at the MGB -- could be blamed. Unwilling to face up to higher prices, or an unproven suspension system, they lobbied for an alternative. Therefore, Triumph somehow married the old axle and leaf springs to the new frame, reducing the price a little in the process. Maybe one-third of all TR4As got the beam axle, most of them apparently being sold on the East Coast.
Visually, TR4As could be identified by a tubular horizontal-bar grille that looked more substantial than the cheaper stamped aluminum unit on the TR4. Running lights and amber flashers duplicating the directional signals were placed in fussy housings riding high on the front fenders, trailed by a chrome strip that faded away just above the door handles. The amber lights were blacked out on U.S. cars.
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