1967 Trident Clipper V-8 Coupé
Sold For €42,000Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
271 bhp, 289 cu. in. OHV Ford V-8 engine, 4-barrel Holley carburettor, four-speed Borg-Warner manual transmission, independent coil spring and wishbone front suspension, semi-elliptic spring with live axle rear suspension, and front disc and rear drum hydraulic brakes. Wheelbase: 2,360 mm (92.9")
• The sixth Trident Clipper built; sold new in Austin, Texas
• One of 10 with 289 Ford Hi-Po engines; showing under 8,000 miles
• 1996 Pebble Beach entrant; featured in Automobile Quarterly
• Zero to 60 in under 5 seconds; 14.3-second quarter mile; top speed of 145 mph
“The red wedge rumbled slowly up the narrow park road. It clearly had a big American V-8, but this car wasn’t home grown, and the only suggestion that it was British came from the Dunlop wire wheels and–for those in the know–the Trident Badge.”
-AUTOMOBILE QUARTERLY, Vol. 39, No.1
So begins the AQ cover story featuring one of the world’s least known, but nonetheless, significant cars of the classic GT era, the Trident Clipper. The Clipper DNA can be traced back to Trevor Wilkinson’s TVR of 1947. In the early 1960s, TVR director Bernard Williams met designer Trevor Frost (also known as Trevor Fiore, as he believed designers should have Italian names). TVR was already producing the stark and terrifying Ford V-8 powered Griffith, and Fiore was commissioned to re-style it. The chassis was sent to Fissore in Italy, and a sleek steel body with pop-up lights was created for the TVR stand at the Geneva Salon in 1965.
As TVR teetered acrimoniously into bankruptcy, TVR dealer Bill Last took over the Trident project, sourcing the Austin-Healey 3000 chassis for the Clipper car and fitting them with a handsome Fiore fibreglass body. A few Clippers were made in LHD and shipped to the U.S., including this one, which was sold originally by International Motors in Austin, Texas. As an early car, this has the “clamshell” hood, which greatly eases access, though the pop-up headlights from the Geneva show car never made it into production.
Rescued in 1988 from the indecency of outside storage, this Clipper was painstakingly restored by Peter Fino to a quality even superior to its condition when new. Finished in Ferrari Rosso Chiaro with a black Connolly leather interior, it was invited to and shown at Pebble Beach in 1996. This particular Clipper was also featured prominently in the Automobile Quarterly feature, gracing the book’s cover in 1999. In total, about 130 Tridents were built, but only 29 were Clippers. With its bulldog chassis, American running gear and light-weight Italian body, and a blistering performance to match, this Trident Clipper is inarguably among, if not the very best, of a rare and desirable breed.