Black asked BRM development engineer and test driver Ken Richardson to assess the 20TS. After he declared it to be a "death trap" a project was undertaken to improve on the design;  a year later the TR2 was revealed. It had better looks; a simple ladder-type chassis; a longer body; and a bigger boot. It was loved by American buyers, and became the best earner for Triumph. In 1955 the TR3 came out with more power; a re-designed grille; and a GT package that included a factory hard-top.
As of 2011 there were approximately 377 licensed and 52 SORN TR2s of the 8,636 TR2s produced registered with the DVLA in the UK; in the United States 1,800 were known to survive.
A car with overdrive tested by The Motor magazine in 1954 had a top speed of 107.3 mph (172.7 km/h), and could accelerate from 0–60 mph (97 km/h) in 12.0 seconds. A fuel consumption of 34.5 miles per imperial gallon (8.2 L/100 km; 28.7 mpg‑US) was recorded. The test car cost £900 including taxes and £56 for overdrive.
The magazine also commented that the TR2 was the lowest price British car able to exceed 100 mph (160 km/h).
Concentrating on rapid entry into the lucrative US sports car market, Standard-Triumph had given little thought to the competitive potential of their new TR2 roadster. Two events would highlight this omission: the Jabbeke Tests, and early privateer rally victories.
Employing a production TR2 with optional streamlining equipment (Under-shield (Part #502122), Rear-wing spats, Metal cockpit cover), Triumph attained a speed of 124.889 mph on the closed Jabbeke motorway in Belgium in May 1953. The following March, customer TR2s took 1st, 2nd, and 5th places in the prestigious RAC Rally. The publicity derived from these accomplishments led the factory to establish a Competition Department under the leadership of Ken Richardson, supporting both works and customer cars.
In 1955, a Triumph works team of three modified TR2s (disc brakes, larger carburetors, Jabbeke windscreens) were entered in the 24 Heures du Mans. Reaching speeds of up to 120 mph on the Mulsanne Straight, the team would complete the legendary endurance race in 14th, 15th, and 19th positions. Some of the modifications on these cars (Girling disc brakes, carburetors) would subsequently appear on the Triumph TR3.