It’s occurred to me that, notwithstanding its title, this blog has been lamentably short on Triumph material of late – so I thought that I’d provide a quick summary of recent progress (or lack of it) with our four cars which, by the way, now have a combined age of 206 years!
As the most recent member of the family/fleet the Herald has had the lion’s share of attention over the past couple of years and is now, at last, approaching completion. The cancellation of Classic Le Mans for the past couple of years provided a convenient breathing space (and excuse) for taking the final stages of the rebuild quite slowly, but with the rebuild of the overdrive completed (thank you Eric) and the replacement seats (from an MX5) installed, the car was finally ready for a new hood to be fitted by Cliff Griffiths. It now looks the business and just needs a bit of fettling to make it completely ‘match fit’.
Towards the end of last year the GT6 and Stag moved barns and unfortunately attracted the attention of the local rodent population. This provided the incentive for me to bring them back to the house (the cars, not the mice) – which in turn has made it easier for me to get to grips with their maintenance and repair. Over the past couple of months I’ve rebuilt the Stag’s front suspension and fitted the two new exhaust boxes that I bought a little while back. While spending some time under the car I couldn’t help but notice a couple of bodywork problems and as I write the car is spending a couple of days in the body shop having those sorted. With that done I need to get to grips with the hood frame with the aim of getting Cliff to fit a new hood later in the year.
Despite having a brain the size of a planet I’ve been known to do some stupid things from time to time. Whilst working on the GT6 engine a couple of months ago I allowed the bonnet to drop from a great height, with the inevitable result that several small dents will need to be repaired and the bonnet resprayed. That done my intention is to sell the car – partly because it isn’t getting enough use, and partly because it’s so low that I now have trouble getting in and out!
Finally, the TR3A continues to provide great fun whilst needing little or no work other than routine maintenance (famous last words!). An oil change and coolant flush will be due shortly and we may consider selling it later this year or early next to provide funds for something slightly more civilized or exotic!
When it comes to attending outdoor events during the English ‘summer’ timing is everything, and for once we seem to have got our timing spot-on. Our trip to the Goodwood Revival has been planned for months; in fact, ever since Denise bought me a couple of tickets to attend Saturday’s activities for last year’s Christmas present. At the time it was a bit of a leap of faith because I was really quite unwell at the end of last year and the beginning of 2017, but the big day eventually dawned and fortunately coincided with the ‘Ewbank Remission’ (an event of equally epic importance as the Revival!).
Whilst some gentlemen may be deluded into thinking that the Goodwood event is all about motor racing, the ladies know different. As probably Britain’s, and possibly the world’s, largest vintage fashion event it really is all about what you wear. After months of angst and countless hours of research and trawling the local charity shops we (that is to say Denise) finally decided what we would be wearing at the eleventh hour. I, on the other hand, simply had to dig out one of my older suits, source a waistcoat from a well known internet auction site, and doff my panama – who says that fashion’s a young person’s game? If only I could have found my flared jeans and US Army surplus jacket I would have felt right at home back in the sixties . Fortunately the TR3A needed no ‘fancy dress’ and was completely at home in ‘memory land’.
As far as timing goes attending on the Saturday turned out to be an excellent choice as torrential rain and prolonged drizzle were the fate of Goodwood goers on Friday and Sunday. We, on the other hand, stayed dry and saw some excellent racing – not to mention more than a few vintage fashion victims.
….and treat those two pretenders just the same…. (with apologies to Mr Kipling – that’s Rudyard, not the chap with the cakes). Well, I’m pretty sure there weren’t any pretenders at the Triumph International meeting held at Malvern last weekend, but if there had been they would doubtless have been overwhelmed by the number of lovely Triumphs (and their owners/masters) that turned out for the annual gathering. As the Three Counties Showground is virtually on our doorstep it would have rude not to have gone along to admire the cars and pick over the usual junk, sorry, autojumble that was on offer to those of us with more money than sense.
Fortunately the weather was kind so we enjoyed a nice run out in the TR3A which behaved itself impeccably throughout the day – perhaps it was just happy to be among so many close relatives or maybe the fact that they were celebrating the 60th birthday of the TR3A had something to do with it?
The weather for our trip to the Waterperry Gardens today wasn’t quite so clement but it was good to meet up with the Wigmores and the odd shower (that’s precipitation I’m talking about – not our good friends) didn’t spoil our enjoyment of the lovely gardens. That said we were perhaps a fortnight late with our visit; next time we’ll aim to visit in June when the herbaceous borders will doubtless be at their spectacular best.
Today (Sunday) we spent a really enjoyable morning at The Classic Motor Hub which we’ve just discovered tucked away in the depths of the Cotswold countryside, about 10 miles up the road at Ablington near Bibury. As it was a warm and sunny day we took the TR3A; fortunately I’d given it a bit of a ‘spruce up’ in preparation because the general standard of the cars there was fantastic. We joined perhaps two hundred visitors, most of whom arrived in or on classic vehicles – everything from Massey Ferguson tractors to vintage Bugattis – and spent a couple of hours wandering around oggling the carson display as well as those in the car park.
Nineteen sixties Ferraris at several million pounds a go, Italian boy racers at extravagant prices, quirky French veterans, monstrous Americans, stately Bentleys, fabulous Aston Martins and even a canary yellow Rolls Royce fit for any pop star! You name it and it was probably there. Well worth a return visit on the first Sunday of the month.
Yesterday was ‘collection day’ for the latest member of the Ewbank fleet. After an early morning start, and a two and a half hour drive across to Huntingdon, the sun was more or less shining when we arrived at TRGB’s premises, though the forecast threatened rain for the return journey. The first and only real problem of the day came when we realised that the colour of Denise’s jacket clashed violently with that of the car – fortunately she has more than one jacket, otherwise a full re-spray might have been on the cards!
TRGB had kindly erected the hood for us in anticipation of the weather, but they also advised that we do without the side-screens until such time as we get used to the car. As we drove the 125 miles home I thought for a little while that we might avoid getting rained upon, but this is England in April and sure enough the heavens opened big time as I took my turn behind the wheel down the Fosse Way. I’m sure that the hood must have offered some protection from the elements, though the rain seemed to have no difficulty in getting me thoroughly soaked and cold in record time. That said, driving the TR3 is just so much fun that you can’t stay miserable for too long when you’re behind the wheel, no matter what the weather has in store.
We spent much of today cleaning and finding our way around the car. Considering that most of the rebuild seems to have been done around 18 or so years ago it really is in great condition, though there again perhaps that’s not too surprising when you consider that the car has only done about 5,000 miles since most of the work was completed. Anyway, the bottom line is that our third Triumph is now firmly ensconced as one of the family – all we have to do now is find somewhere to keep it!
Now, I’m not yet admitting that its become an obsession, but owning four ‘classic’ cars, three of which happen to be Triumphs, should, I have to agree, probably be thought of as something more than an ‘ enthusiasm’. Of course, on the positive side, with interest rates routinely running some way below inflation, buying cars that we can enjoy and which will hopefully increase in value could be thought of a sensible investment. On a rather more negative note, finding somewhere to keep these investments warm and dry is starting to prove a bit of a problem. No matter ….. as Wilkins Micawber so prophetically said, ……..’something will turn up’!
In point of fact this latest extravagance is really an early BIG birthday present for ‘er indoors’; and as Denise has promised that she’s going to be responsible for everything short of major repairs and maintenance, I probably won’t even get around to opening the bonnet from time to time. Fat chance! Just look at the little beauty!
1960 Triumph TR3A, originally exported to the USA before being re-imported and completely rebuilt in the early nineties. Around 75,000 probably genuine miles on the clock. Standard other than the change to an overdrive gearbox (apparently from a TR4), the engine capacity increased to 2.2 litres (as per the TR4), and the addition of a rollbar, full harness seatbelts and Minilite type wheels. The missing bumpers will be replaced with stainless steel versions as part of the purchase.
….holiday blogs, motoring obsessions and a look at our family history