Not Only Was This Triumph TR2 A Works Le Mans Entry, It Was Also Owned By King Hussein Of Jordan
The car leading the line-up in Silverstone Auctions’ forthcoming Classic Motor Show sale has plenty going for it. It is a rare and important racing machine, and is being offered for the first time in nearly half a century. Not only is it a works car that raced in the Le Mans 24 Hours–sadly in its most infamous and tragic running—it then was snapped up immediately by royalty. The car going under the hammer is a Triumph TR2, one of three works car entered in 1955’s Le Mans. The auction takes place at Birmingham’s NEC in the UK on November 9 and 10, and this Triumph is expected to bring in £100,000 to £140,000.
The TR2 was launched in 1952 and became very successful in motorsport, winning several races. In 1954 one was entered privately at Le Mans and finished a credible 15th, and this prompted Standard-Triumph Ltd to enter a works team in 1955. It did so with three cars all in famous British Racing Green colors and with consecutive number plates: PKV 374, PKV 375 and PKV 376.
PKV 374 is the very car heading to auction. It had an eventful Le Mans race in the hands of drivers Leslie Brooke and Mortimer Morris-Goodall. First it got beached in an off-track excursion then, having returned to the circuit two-and-a-half hours later, it had gear selection problems. The car still limped home 19th, behind the other two works TR2s.
The late King Hussein of Jordan then took a fancy to PKV 374 and bought the car, it leaving the circuit straight for Jordan in its full race trim. The next year the King brought the TR2 back to the UK, now in Jordanian blue-and-white colors and sporting luxurious upholstery.
The King sold the car in November that year and by 1972, it having by then changed hands several times and now in a poor state, the present owner purchased the TR2 and in a long-term project set about getting it back to its original Le Mans specification. By 2000 it was finally ready to compete again and it did so successfully in the London to Istanbul leg of the Around The World In 80 Days rally, and then it participated in many HERO rally events.
It also at last returned to Le Mans in 2005 for the one-hour Legends race; driven by Tony Dron and Nick Marsh it suffered fuel issues and retired after six laps. It returned the following year with more success, finishing fifth in class and 23rd overall. The car is now being offered with an amazing history, photographs, articles, magazines, race reports and its old FIA HTP papers, which are now out of date. It’s suitable for events such as Goodwood and Le Mans Classic.
“There is so much history with this car and after 47 years of private family ownership, the car is on the next stage of its adventure, of which it is no stranger,” said Silverstone Auctions’ classic car specialist Adam Rutter. “It has been in storage for four years and is now up and running but may require some further fettling to prepare it for competition. The history file is massive, there must be at least six box files plus folders and other boxes of articles. The car is now in our care and available for private viewings prior to the auction.”
Images courtesy of Silverstone Auctions