First TR2 race car
The following excerpt was written by Bruce Stutzman for the
Western PA Triumphs newsletter, in it Bruce claims (and is backed
up by the official Sebring results) that Allan Patterson was
the first person in the World to race a Triuimph TR
Alan Patterson, a native Pittsburgher, has the distinction of
being the first person, not just in the U.S. but the world, to
drive a TR in a road race. Alan did it not just in any old race,
but at the 1954 12 hours of Sebring, an internationally sanctioned
endurance race. I thought this was a story that needed to be
At the time Alan was not a stranger to Sebring. He raced
a MGTC there in 1952 and 1953. He later took a job working
his way through college, at Price Motors in Coral Gables, Florida.
Price Motors was a new TR dealer and had just received its
first shipment of four brand new TR2's. Alan suggested to the
owner (he doesn't remember his name) that they race a TR2 at
Sebring. The owner liked the idea and asked the factory for authority
to do so. The factory gave the OK but without financial support.
They prepared one of the new TR2's to be the racecar but they
took all four (the entire shipment) to Sebring for parts. As
it turned out they needed them all.
The race took place on
March 7, 1954. Alan took a friend Jim Hendricks to be his co-driver
and several fraternity brothers and their girl friends to
be his pit crew. Alan remembers that the car was totally reliable
(with one significant exception) and very fast. That exception
- the engine blew, so they installed the engine from another
of the new TR2's. That engine also blew so they took the
engine from another of the new TR2's. When that one went they
swapped their last engine. When the last engine showed signs
of trouble Alan pulled into the pits, waited till the race was
almost over, and then re-entered the race so he would be running
at the end. Nevertheless, Alan completed 105 laps, finishing
24th overall and 4th in class. In 12 hours Alan had wiped out
Price Motor's entire first shipment of new TR2's.
So what was
wrong with the engines? As Alan remembers it, when they dismantled
the engines they found that they had suffered from oil
starvation. He thinks, but is not sure after all this time, that
it had to do with the location of the oil holes in the bearings.
The factory no doubt quickly rectified this problem.
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