TOP DRIVERS REMEMBERED AS THE LEGENDARY TRIUMPH TR2 SPECIAL LIVES ON.
"The TR2 Special is by far one of the most historically significant racing Triumph sports cars in Australia’s motor sport history.
The Triumph TR2 Special was built and developed in Victoria by the legendary Harry Firth during 1956 after a spectacular roll-over at Fishermans Bend circuit. The TR2 Special has a very extensive and most interesting sporting history, having been owned and campaigned by well known and leading sports car drivers Gavin Baillieu / Harry Firth followed by Wes Nalder and Dianne Leighton. This wasduring the exciting period known as the “Golden Era” of sports car racing, from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s in Australia when everyday British production sports cars led the way.
This exceptionally quick TR2 Special is a reminder of that past era as it dominated its class (under 2000cc) for nearly a decade with many notable performances. It created numerous new track and hillclimb records, mainly in Victoria and Tasmania. It was the power of the TR’s engine along with the light weight Firth hand crafted body that gave the TR2 Special its greatest advantage. The result was an amazing string of victories pitted against many respected and top class competitors in a diverse array of sporting machines and marques. This was prior to the fitting of a light weight “Oscar“ fibreglass body and just before it was purchased in 1959 by Wes Nalder.
According to Wes Nalder, it was an "Oscar" (not Ausca) because Harry was going to make some of his own modifications, like the fitting of a head rest, grille etc. and he wanted to be different in that period. Wes purchased the TR Special not long after Harry fitted the fibreglass body, so all the so-called Firth modification may not have been completed or made, but it was known as an "Oscar" by Wes. In August 1960, Wes advertised the Special for sale and Dianne Leighton eventually purchased the Special later in the year from Wes. The advert below is a pretty impressive write up for what we know today as the legendary TR2 Special .
Australian Motor Sports - August 1960
p344 (from the Graeme White archives)
It was not surprising that both the enthusiastic Wes Nalder and the very competitive Dianne Leighton during their period of ownership continued to thrill TR owners and motor sports fans alike. They won many class events at various circuits and hillclimbs on the east coast of Australia.
Historically, the racing successes alone make the “Firth” one-off TR2 Special one of the sports more notable specials. Whilst it did the marque proud, that is not the end of the story. The fact that the TR Special has survived thus far is equally exciting for TR enthusiasts Australia wide.
Nowadays, the purposeful looking TR2 Special is proudly displayed, along with memorabilia of the Longford motor races, in the historic Country Club Hotel in Longford, Tasmania.
In the mid 1980s the TR Special passed through several other custodians after Dianne Leighton. At one stage in it's fascinating history, it was owned by the then TR Register’s Tasmanian co-ordinator."