This Le Mans Triumph TR2 Has Sold For A World-Record Price At Silverstone Auctions
An ex-works 1955 Le Mans Triumph TR2 has sold for a world-record price at Silverstone Auctions’ Classic Motor Show sale at NEC in Birmingham, UK. The Triumph TR2 was one of three works car entered in 1955’s Le Mans 24-Hours, the race that was notorious for the Le Mans Disaster in which 84 people died. The car was estimated to sell for £100,000 to £140,000, but it actually sold for double this at £258,750—a world record for a TR2.
The atmosphere in the room was electric as the bidding escalated, and a huge round of applause erupted at the final sale. “To set a world record is a wonderful achievement with the TR2 ex-works Le Mans car,” said Silverstone Auctions’ managing director Nick Whale. “I am so pleased for the family and to see the emotion throughout the room was a moving experience.”
The TR2 model was launched in 1952 and became very successful in motorsport. And after a privately-entered TR2 impressed at Le Mans in 1954, Standard-Triumph Ltd chose to enter a works team in the famous endurance race in ‘55. The very TR2 just sold, registered ‘PKV 374’, was one of three cars entered and had an eventful race in the hands of drivers Leslie Brooke and Mortimer Morris-Goodall. It got beached in a sand bank after an excursion at Tetre Rouge then, Brooke having two-and-a-half hours later managed to dig the car out and rejoin the race, the TR2 had gear selection problems. The car still got home 19th.
PKV 374 then had a notable existence immediately post Le Mans, as the late King Hussein of Jordan took a fancy to it and bought the car, it leaving the circuit straight for Jordan in its full race trim. The next year the King brought the car back to the UK, now in Jordanian blue-and-white colors. He sold the car in November that year and by 1972, it having by then changed hands several times and fallen into a poor state, Jan Pearce—one of the early members of the TR Register—purchased the TR2 and in a long-term project set about getting it back to its original Le Mans specification.
By 2000 the car was ready to compete again and did so in several events from then on. The TR2 also at last returned to Le Mans in 2005 for the one-hour Legends race that supported the famous 24-Hours. Driven by Tony Dron and Nick Marsh it suffered fuel issues and retired after six laps. But the TR2 returned the following year with more success, finishing fifth in class and 23rd overall. Pearce died in 2015 and the car was sold by his family after 47 years of ownership.
The sale was the high-point of a successful auction for Silverstone Auctions, in which it achieved £5.8million in sales with a 75% sales rate. These sales included a 1965 Aston Martin DB5, which appeared on the Royal Mail Stamp issue, selling for £607,500, a 1993 Jaguar XJ220 formerly owned by Sir John Madjeski, founder of Auto Trader, selling for £362,813, and a 1991 BMW 325i E30 Sport with 6794 miles that shocked the market with its sale price of £51,188.
Images courtesy of Silverstone Auctions