Deep in the heart of Somerset lies the little village of Middlezoy. The sleepy village plays host to an idyllic range of houses, village shop a local pub and the occasional roar of a Triumph straight six.
On the edge of the village lies Revington TR. The Triumph specialists have been there some years and are gradually expanding, taking over more and more outbuildings in their quest to become the finest Triumph specialists around.
As well as the numerous garages housing remnants of old cars, body panels, suspension, wheels etc, Revington TR boasts a modern paint and body shop producing some fine work (on Triumphs and more modern exotica).
Owner Neil Revington gave me the guided tour and led me from the workshop where his team is restoring and repairing fully prepped rally cars to the garage housing his new project car - the TRS.
Revington looked some way back to seek inspiration for the TRS. Not surprisingly for a petrol head, he was attracted to the era when Triumph competed at Le Mans in the late 50s and early 60's. Triumph entered teams at Le Mans using TR2's, 3s, 3As and then the glass fibre bodied TR3S. The body shape of the TR3S being similar to the TR3A
The 1959 team comprised of three TR3S's. The 3S featured a longer chassis than the standard car and more importantly disc brakes. Only 3 cars were built. For the 1960 and ‘61 seasons the bodies were removed and the chassis and running gear used under a new style body. An additional car was constructed making a total of 4 and these cars were known as the TRS. Whilst Triumph had much success with their production car entries in previous years, 1961 saw their first success with a team of TRS's finishing and winning Triumph the team prize. All four cars still exist today in the hands of collectors.
Styling of Triumphs at the time was done using the traditional coach building method of giving a chassis to a stylist who would then design a body to sit atop. In the early 60's Triumph were using renowned Italian stylist Michelotti. He was responsible for projects Zoom and Zest which dictated the styling for Triumphs of the era.
Neil Revington has wanted for some time to recreate a Triumph from that era but incorporating much of what he's learned in recent years about making Triumphs handle.
With a colleague he's spent two years fulfilling that dream. The Revington TRS uses a body comprising elements of both the landmark Zoom prototype and the original TRS sitting on a lengthened version of a TR4 chassis.
Under the bonnet sits a rebuilt Triumph 4 pot of 2188cc complete with twin DCOE carbs.
The bodywork surprisingly is aluminium and has been the most time consuming part of the development. Although the cars on which the TRS has been based were glass fibre bodied, Revington felt that aluminium would provide better quality and be received better by potential purchasers. A full size wooden buck has been created by an ex Aston Martin tool maker, over which Revington's bodywork specialists have spent many, many hours producing the panels.
The result is a real gem. It truly is a modern interpretation of a 40-year-old car. The finish is exemplary and could teach a few modern manufacturers about build quality. Yet the simplicity of the car immediately takes you back to a bygone era.
Neil Revington took me out for a high-speed ride and was keen to demonstrate exactly what the car is capable of. The first thing you don't notice is the creaks and rattles you'd expect from a car like this. It's screwed together so tightly; the only noise is from the rorty, screaming motor up front - and the wind noise.
Winding the TRS up, Neil blasted out of Middlezoy village at pace. The open seating position and pure simplicity of the car had me feeling quite vulnerable although the full harness helped relieve some of my concerns. With the wind blasting by and Neil winding up the revs, we shot out of the picturesque village at great pace. I feared I was starring in an episode of Heartbeat but knew the pace was too quick.
Hurtling around the country lanes, the TRS dealt with the undulations like a modern car. Although the suspension design remains very crude on these cars, Revington's experiences with rallying them has given him a unique insight into what's needed to make them handle.
The project has a number of goals but shining through is a Neil Revington's passion for Triumphs and his desire to introduce them to a new set of fans who might have simply considered them ancient relics.
The TRS project is likely to remain something of an anomaly to most except for the lucky few that get to sample it at first hand. It's a pretty mad idea and not a cheap one, but it does appeal in these days of mass production and dulled driver appeal. The TRS has a sharpness of character and a level of involvement not seen for decades.
Currently these cars are available from Revington TR for around £35K depending on specification with either the Triumph TR four or six cylinder engines.
Next on the agenda is a modern engine to really bring things to life and the Alfa Twin Spark has been earmarked. Total cost of an Alfa engined TRS would be around £40K.
For a handbuilt car with such individuality and heritage you'd be hard pressed to find anything as unique. A great project which we will watch with interest.