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Tuesday, April 4, 2023

An American revolutionary sports car you've never known before

ONE-OFF - As usual, our focus remains on reviewing uniquely shaped motorized vehicles that most automotive enthusiasts probably don't know about. So recently while surfing the internet, we accidentally found a unique sports car that we had never seen before. Even when seen from its appearance, many did not expect that this car was made in the late 1960s.
The Triumph TR250K was a unique-shaped racecar clothed entirely in custom aluminum bodywork, as the collaboration result of Robert W. 'Kas' Kastner and renowned American car stylist Peter Brock in 1967. (Picture from: BritishRaceCar)
The car in question was a one-off racecar featured with a modern style coupled with provocative aerodynamics which was the result of a collaboration between Triumph's North American Competition Manager, Robert W. 'Kas' Kastner and renowned American car stylist Peter Brock in 1967. Physically, the car that would later be known as the Triumph TR250K was a unique-shaped racecar clothed entirely in custom aluminum bodywork. The car is powered by a Triumph 2.5L six-cylinder engine mounted on a modified TR4A chassis.
The rendering sketch of Triumph TR250K penned by renowned American car stylist Peter Brock. (Picture from: TheRoaringSeason)
Then related to the 'K' in 'TR250K' alluded to Kastner who brought by himself a rendering made by his friend Peter Brock to England and then built it under the authorization of the Triumph brand. Even he had already shown the same sketch to the Car and Driver magazine and quietly secured a promise that Triumph would be featured on their cover if the car was built completely and entered at Sebring. And reportedly also Triumph then alloted a budget of $ 25,000 to Kastner for the whole project, including race expenses.
The Triumph was classified to compete in Sports Prototype (Group 6) Class 10 at the 1968 Sebring 12 Hours of Endurance racing event. (Picture from: ClassicMotorSports)
In short, the TR250K' chassis was assembled by Kas Kastner, Jimmy Coen and Bob Avery in Triumph's Competitions Department workshop. Meanwhile, the custom aluminum bodywork was fabricated by a local shop named Borth and Rose. Furthermore, body and chassis assembly was done and completed in Brock's racing workshop. Even Brock personally spent a lot of his time looking for parts and sponsors. The finishing stages were carried out by Dave Kent by applying a quality paint job shortly before the TR250K launched to public for the first time.
The Triumph TR250K's windshield was a leftover from Brock's previous Hino Samurai GT project (circa 1967). (Picture from: BritishRaceCar)
The TR250K' design reflects the 1967 aerodynamic ideas with priority given to the low bonnet line and radically rear-swept windshield. That low hood goes hand in hand with another notable feature, given that the TR250K is built on the modified Triumph TR4A lightweight frame, with its six-cylinder engine positioned more than nine inches back to improve front/rear weight distribution.
The Triumph TR250K was equipped with a smaller diameter, three-spoke, non-perforated steering wheel at Sebring but it had this style of steering wheel for car shows and photo shoots. (Picture from: ClassicMotorSports)
While creating aerodynamic downforce was not a design priority, Brock certainly realized that the overall shape of the car would create lift. So he decided to pin a moveable rear spoiler (similar to the Samurai GT) to help reduce lift.
The Triumph TR250K is powered by a Triumph 2.5L six-cylinder engine, coupled with Triple Weber 45DCOE carburetors.. (Picture from: ClassicMotorSports)
So after it was finished, the car entered the Sebring racing arena officially under the flag "Leyland Motor Corporation - Teaneck, New Jersey" was assigned racing number 47 with Jim Dittemore and Mike Rothschild behind its wheel. The car was classified to compete in Sports Prototype (Group 6) Class 10 which was filled along with four Porsche 907 racecars. 
In principle, the rear spoiler should allow a team to tune aerodynamic performance for specific race tracks. In practice, the spoiler is always fully up when the car is raced. (Picture from: BritishRaceCar)
Like most racing cars that are prepared in a hurry, the TR250K experienced several problems, but all of them were resolved by the team before the race. The team managed to qualify 39th quickest of 68 starters with a lap time of 3:20.200 around the 5,200 mile circuit for an average speed of 93.506 mph.
From left to right: Peter Brock, Jim Coan, Kas Kastner, Jim Dittermore, Bob Avery, Ed Freudenberg. (Picture from: ClassicMotorSports)
As the race result at the time, Porsches finished 1st and 2nd overall, meanwhile TR250K again suffered technical problems which led to an incident, in which the car spun around, and came to a stop. Although there was no body damage, the accident caused suspension damage that the team wasn't equipped to repair at the race circuit, and led TR250K's race should be ended premature.
The Triumph TR250K published as the cover of the April 1968 issue of Car and Driver magazine. (Picture from: TheRoaringSeason)
Although this race car was not able to provide the best results at the 1968 Sebring 12 Hours of Endurance arena, but at the time the maker team only hoped the car would turn the direction of Triumph' product styling in the future. This was implied in an article that appeared when the Triumph TR250K appeared as the cover of the April 1968 issue of Car and Driver magazine.
The Triumph TR250K during the Kas Kastner All Triumph Feature Race at the 2012 Classic Motorsports Mitty with Tony Garmeybehind the wheel. (Picture from: Adam Swank on Flickr)
As quoted from BritishRaceCar, shortly after Sebring the car was whisked off to the Detroit Auto Show and then continued touring around the nation's car show circuit. After that, it went to Peter Brock who only briefly kept it before selling it on.
At some point, TR250K was painted red and it became part of the Blackhawk Museum's reserve collection. Finally, the Triumph TR250K drifted into obscurity only to reappear gloriously in vintage racing some thirty years later. Pat and Bill Hart purchased TR250K from the museum and commissioned Tony Garmey of Horizon Racing in Maple Valley, Washington to restore the car to its present condition. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | BRITISHRACECAR | WIKIPEDIA | CLASSICMOTORSPORTS | CONCEPTCARZ | THEROARINGSEASON ]
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