Triumph TR4 becomes a Dove

By Nigel Matthews

If you think the Dove looks like the Triumph equivalent of an MGB GT you would be absolutely correct, except it predated the latter by two years.

The Dove name derived from L.F. Dove and Co. of Wimbledon, a large Triumph dealership in London whose owner came up with the idea of building the car.

The exact number built is a mystery. But it is widely believed that Dove commissioned coachbuilder Thomas Harrington of West Sussex — the same people who built the Harrington Alpines — to build 100 examples.

Triumph Dove GTR4 - Flickr Photo: Rally Pix

Starting with a Triumph TR4, the craftsmen at Harrington removed the trunk lid, rear bulkhead, tonneau panel and gas tank. With these panels removed, Harrington fitted a full-length roof, rear hatch door, and end panel made out of fibreglass.

The fuel tank was moved into the spare wheel well with a filler neck and cap located in the end panel to the left of the licence plate.

The high roofline and relocated rear bulkhead and fuel tank made room for two rear seats that could seat two small children in relative comfort. With room for a weekend’s worth of luggage in a compartment below the rear hatch lid, the Dove had the makings of a practical family sports car.

The Triumph Italia, built in Italy by Vignale, is the only other Triumph from the ’60s that comes to mind as being this rare. Triumph Italia was built as a left-hand drive car and the chance of an Italia sighting in North America would be that much greater than spotting a right-hand drive Dove.

I am aware of only a couple of Doves in the U.S. and perhaps a maximum of 10 in Europe. Triumph thought that the stylish Italia posed a great threat to their sales market, so the solution was to stop the supply of rolling chassis to Vignale. History often has a habit of repeating itself. The Rootes Group (Sunbeam Alpine), which had a long relationship with Harrington, forced them to stop making the Triumph Dove.

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4 Responses to “Triumph TR4 becomes a Dove”

  1. RDH April 11, 2010 at 1:35 am #

    Not as lovely as the Italia or as flowing a roof treatment as provided the Harrington Sunbeam, but still interesting. Was this intended as an actual 2+2? Were any built on the TR250?

  2. Nigel Matthews April 12, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

    Hello RDH,

    It was not intended as a 2+2 for adults due to the lack of rear headroom. There was a fold down rear seat with two small buckets similar to the Austin Healey BJ8. These could accomodate two small children. None were ever built as the TR250.

    Cheers Nigel

  3. Master FJA Symons June 6, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Re TR4 Dove Signal Red
    Hi your car is a stunning master peace.
    I believe my father owned this very car some 20 years ago, could you let me know how long you have owned it and where you bought it from?
    Would you ever consider selling it?
    Master Symons

  4. salamande July 13, 2010 at 10:03 pm #

    Make more post like this one


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