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Hard top…soft life – Triumph’s TR3

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Magazine ad from the author’s collection.

Remember the scene in the movie Viva Las Vegas when Elvis and Cesare Danova (aka, Count Elmo Mancini) are lying under the Count’s Ferrari when Ann-Margret walks into the garage? Evidently she’s experiencing car trouble with her white Triumph TR3A, and asked Elvis and the Count to check it out, although Elvis was checking out more than just the little Triumph.

Four years before Viva Las Vegas was released, the Standard-Triumph Motor Company placed this full-page, black and white ad for their hardtop-equipped TR3A in the February 1960 edition of Sports Cars Illustrated magazine. Did Standard-Triumph know that a sports car movie with Elvis was soon to be filmed in Las Vegas, after all, the ad copy in the first paragraph states: “Witness the lucky Las Vegas driver” – Lucky was Elvis’s name in this fun-filled movie that was teeming with a huge variety of both European and American sports and racing cars. Or maybe the folks in Hollywood were inspired by this ad.

Movie connection or not, Triumph was proud of their TR3A, as it was the most affordable sports car of the time that was able to surpass the 100 MPH mark – and it was also the first mass-produced sports car to be equipped with front disc brakes. They were also proud to offer an optional factory hardtop, and for the grand sum of just $2,835!  However, if buyers chose not to have their TR3A fitted with a hardtop, as most did, the base price was only $2,675.