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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 told.

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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