THE HARRINGTON TR4 DOVE

Japanese GTR4
 

 We thought that a presentation of a "cousin" to Harrington Alpines might be of interest since it was produced at the same time and parallel with Harrington Series D. Car is mentioned in the History chapter too.


GTR4 Dové is the name of this particular Triumph variant, it has an accent over the 'e' so it is actually pronounced 'Dovey, marketed not by Triumph, but by L.F. Dove & Company Ltd. in Wimbledon a major Standard-Triumph distributor.


The Dové GTR4 is a conversion of the standard TR4 with new fastback roof designed and built by Thomas Harrington Ltd.. The Dove's origins are hazy, but it may have been proposed by Harrington General Manager Clifford Harrington (before he resigned). Dové was amenable and the first GTR4 were built by early 1963.


The GTR4's new roof was fiberglass like the Sunbeam Harringtons. Since the conversion required relocating the fuel filler, Harrington also took the opportunity to add a larger fueltank. All of this added nearly 400 lb (180 kg) to the TR4's curb weight, so some GTR4s received mildly massaged engines (a £35 option) and many had the TR4's optional 4.10 axle with overdrive. Autocartested a GTR4 in June 1963 and found it slower than a standard TR4 to 60 mph, but quicker at speeds over 80 mph, suggesting that whatever its aesthetic virtues, the new roofline reduced aerodynamic drag. At this time it was possible to buy a TR4 with the 1991 cc engine and 235 cars were built with this engine. Most of them exported to Japan. Only one was a Dove (which still exists).


Harrington made a valiant effort to make the GTR4 a 2+2, but an unchanged wheelbase meant that rear occupancy was still best limited to the short-legged and unusually limber.

 

 

 GTR4A

note. the director lights on front fender, shiny molding and wooden dash. One car has been upgraded to GTR5 with TR 250 standard
 

 

 The GTRA's downfall was its price: £1,093 basic, £1,250 with purchase tax, which did not include the blue-printed engine or other options. This was nearly £300 more than a TR4 with hardtop, which greatly limited sales.

It appears likely that Harrington did consider the possibility of racing at Le Mans. Three cars (all red) with consecutive VINs were built. All three had the 2138cc engine and would have had to compete in the 3-litre class, where they would have been at a disadvantage. So the project wasn't realized.

The subsequent closure of Harrington's coach building department nearly finished the project after 1964, but the L.F.Dove organization persisted for two more years, producing a few more conversions on the new TR4A chassis in 1965 and 1966. total Dove production is unknown but the TR Register estimates that it amounted to around 55 cars, including perhaps 10 GTR4As, just two of these were finished before Harrington closed. It's also said that there are some cars which have been converted back to roadsters and also a couple which have been converted to Dove's privately.

Standard-Triumph was certainly aware of the GTR4, but had no serious interest in it. By the time Dove appeared, the factory was already working on its own fastback project, based not on the TR4 but on the Triumph Spitfire, the GT6.

 

 A white Tr4A Dove HKV103E at the 2012 Amberley Harrington gathering co-incidentally with GlennB behind it beside his HLM 536CNW in the background talking to Ian Gass with his Series C

 

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