Culpepper’s location: 312 S. Kirkwood Rd. (314) 821 7322
What a difference a day makes. For example, this recent Saturday morning it snowed and thoughts were about as far from top down driving as you can get. But Sunday the sun came out, the snow was gone, the temperature rose and it was such a lovely day I washed two cars. One of them was British. This brings to mind the coming driving season. With the Polar Bear just around the corner and the Endurance Rally coming in March it is time to start checking tire pressure and battery charge ‘cause before you know it you'll have to gas up and go.
Speaking of going, I've just made hotel reservations for the Champagne British Car Festival in Champaign, IL and the VTR in Rockford. The Champagne show registration shows a shuffle of events this year. The Friday night party has been moved to Saturday, which probably means it is now the Saturday night party. But Friday night there will be a drive to Famous Dave's (not me) BBQ where you have the choice of dinner. You can opt for Moo, Oink or Cluck cluck. The usual raft of fools will hold court which means a good time will be had. The theme this year is "The Wild, Wild Brits" so dust off that old Stetson (or bowler for that matter) hat, kick the stuff off the old boots and mount up and ride to the big round-about, er round-up in Champaign.
There is a web site for the VTR at http://www.vtr2005.org where you can find hotel information (1-800-358-7666), an events schedule and a registration form. There will be the usual bill of fair with the Funkhana, TSD rally, Autocross, a Breakfast run, Craft-Model-Photo Contest, Concours d'Elegance, People's Choice and the Awards Banquet. Also this year is a day at the races (stock car), and Ice Cream Run, the Hotel Walking Rally (the Clock Tower is a sprawling complex that can take up a good part of the afternoon exploring - a good thing to do if the weather gets too hot) and all the other usual features such as tech sessions, and auto-jumble and the auction. If you have never been to a VTR Convention this is as close as it gets and should be on the to do list for this year. The dates are July 26 through July 29. The EAA Annual Fly-in is that week and into the following weekend and since Oshkosh is another 100 miles or so this is a good opportunity to take in both. Check out http://www.airventure.org/
On a more local note, now is the time to start talking about local drives. There has been some informal discussion of a call tree for impromptu drives which is a good idea considering how fickle our weather can be. This would be an opt-in list where members who wish to be notified of last minute drives would be called (or notified via the web site Email distribution feature). And anyone who gets a whim to drive to some place interesting (or at least reached via an interesting route) be sure to share this and we'll tag along and we'll all have a good time. The more the merrier.
The February meeting will be held at Culpepper's in downtown Kirkwood, 312 S. Kirkwood Rd. (314) 821 7322. They have a downstairs meeting room they will give us with all the accommodations to which we could become accustomed. Dave
<Polar Bear Run, Feb 13> - <Wash-up/Tune-up, March 26> - <Champagne British Car Festival, Champaign, Ill, May 27 – 29> - <British V8's, Terre Haute, IN, June 11> - <TRA, Branson, MO June 23-26> - <VTR, Rockford, IL, July 26-29> - <St. Louis British Car Show Sept 18(?)> - <St. Louis Scottish Games, Oct 8>
The Polar Bear Run is set for Sunday February 13th, 2005. Meet at Jack David’s at 10:30 AM – leave 11:00 AM. Bring a dish to share. Chili and soda furnished. Bring other drinks if you want. Drive will be 1 ½ to 2 hours starting and ending at the David’s home. Lunch follows.
The Davids live at 500 Marie Dr., St. Charles, MO. Their phone number is (636) 949-0825 From 370 exit on Elm/New Town. Go South to Marie Drive. Turn left (east) to 500. Numbers are not exactly sequential. (approximately 1 ½ blocks) -- From Highway 70 exit First Capitol Drive, north to Kingshighway (past Lindenwood College) to Elm – several miles to Marie Dr – turn right. (See previous.)
Triumphs have had a long and distinguished history in motorsports. Everything from Le Mans to all the classic European rallies of old to past SCCA championships here in the States. Triumphs have always been known for their rugged construction and bullet-proof motors. Yet, with all these genes of a thoroughbred, Triumphs have failed to successfully challenge the dominance of MG's in endurance rallies. The only explanation I can come up with is that Triumph owners just haven't rallied behind their marque to take on the challenge. Out of 19 teams on the full Missouri Endurance Rally last year, there were 16 MG's, 2 Triumphs, and 1 Jaguar. Even in the Missouri Mini-Endurance Trial out of the 11 teams, there were 7 MG's, 2 Austin-Healeys, 1 Bentley, and only 1 Triumph. Surely if the numbers were greater then more than likely a Triumph might end up on top.
Granted, these events aren't for everyone; but surely more Triumph owners would like to take on one of the two rallies. Even I who am firmly planted in the MG camp, would really like to see other British car marques - especially Triumphs - take on and give MG's a run for their money. I can only imagine how great it would be to do an event like this using that silky smooth 2.5 liter six that powers the TR6 or better still the 3500 in the TR8. I would even think that the great handling Spitfire would be fantastic on those great roads that the rally mostly travels over.
At your next meeting, talk to Creig Houghtaling. He's been an avid supporter of the rally for the past four years and has traditionally been the first person to sign up each year. His enthusiasm is very catching so listen up and join the fun!
MG Club of St Louis March 19-20, 2005: Open to all pre-1981 British-made vehicles. Teams will meet in St Louis, Missouri and rally around the state. For more information, contact Robert Rushing - email@example.com or call (314) 995-8664.
This year, the TRA National Meet is being held in scenic Branson, Missouri, from Thursday, June 23 through Saturday, June 25, 2005. To get a better idea of some of these attractions, spend some time at www.branson.com on the web. The host hotel is the Dutton Inn. Phone 1-800-942-4626 during the day only! Rooms are $40 and include hot breakfast. www.theduttons.com
For additional information: TRA National Meeting Coordinator Bruce Clough [firstname.lastname@example.org] President – Texas Triumph Register Jim Wortsman, [email@example.com]
The registration form for the 2005 Vintage Triumph Register national convention is now available on the VTR 2005 website at: http://www.vtr2005.org
Go to the Registration page to find a link to download the form in .pdf format.
Hope to see you here in Rockford next July!
2005 VTR National Convention - July 26-29 - http://www.vtr2005.org
Contact: Ann Buja, Convention Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org or at 815 332-3119 before 10pm CST.
This month I chatted with Keith Bester about his garage and cars. I hope you enjoy his comments.
Q Keith, you have a garage of which most sport car owners can only dream. Are you trying to build up to Jay Leno’s collection?
A It is hard keeping up. I can’t imagine warehouses of these things. The garage is my playpen.
Q Tell me about the garage.
A The garage will house 8-10 cars with room to walk around. In retrospect, I would have changed the shape to allow storage and an area to work. It was built in 1992 and is equipped with HVAC, one lift, beer box and wheelchairs.
Keith Bester in the garage with his 100-4 Austin-Healey
Q How do wheelchairs fit this picture?
A I have 5-6 wheeled toys. They are fun, comfortable, and roll between the workbench, beer box and toolboxes.
Q Now, the good, stuff: Tell me about your cars. What sparked your interest?
A I started collecting by default in the early 60s when I was in college. Many sport car owners had trouble keep their cars running. I learned how to make them work - in particular the carburetors. Students and others brought their cars to me. Sometimes, they didn’t come back for them or sold them to me. My first sports car was a 1961 Triumph TR3. Since then I have had many cars, including Triumphs, Jaguars, Austin Healeys and MGs. Currently, I own ten cars: Two big Healeys, one Bugeye Sprite, one Jaguar Sedan, two Jaguar XKEs, one Tiger, two Triumphs (a TR6 and a Stag), plus a Mercedes Limo. No idea why I have the Limo. The cars are stored in various garages. My other cars, the Dodge Van and Tempo, reside outdoors year round.
Q What are the pros and cons of each make?
A They are remarkably similar. Not as serious as people make them out to be. One must be aware to use common sense and smell, hear and feel changes. You must respond to the car’s needs. I have had good luck driving my cars, I think once or twice a car had a melt down on me. I usually get the cars back home for repairs. All the cars are pretty, lovely and enjoyable to drive, some more so than others. The Jag XKE is more fun than a Sprite, but all are fun in their own ways.
Q What car is your lifelong favorite?
A Tough question, but the Jag XKE Roadster or Coupe is the most elegant in looks and most comfortable for riding. I had a Bentley once, but it was not as much fun as I expected. I constantly had problems with it and it was expensive to maintain. It is reasonable to say the most expensive cars are not necessarily the best. Triumphs are fun.
Q Any purchases in the future?
A No future purchases planned. Perhaps another restoration, but nothing specific. I just enjoy working on them and they keep me out of the bars and dance halls.
Keith Bester and a 100-M Austin-Healey
Q What car remains on your must have list?
A Let me think about that question. I suppose a 427 Cobra would be great. But, it costs a good half million or more and that is not within reach. For me, the Jag is as good as it gets.
Thank you, Keith, for sharing your enthusiasm about cars with me. It’s obvious you enjoy them!
"In the Shadow of my Father & Life at Triumph" by John Macartney [(C)1998]
Book Review by Howard Baugues, Editor Spitfire & GT6 Magazine www.triumphspitfire.com
This book is in two parts, the first, "In the Shadow of my Father", starts off by taking you back to the end of the nineteenth century, to a time much different than our own, and in places many of us have seldom heard mentioned. "In the Shadow of my Father" is a chronicle of the life of Charles Macartney, the author's father, who was born on Christmas Day, 1898, in the most unusual of circumstances. Charles worked at Standard Motor Company from 1920 to 1945, then again from 1954 to 1961.
Charles wore many hats within Standard during these times, some of which were Field Service Engineer, Service Manager, Chief Inspector, a dual role of acting Works Manager and Quality Manager during World War II, and finally as Quality Engineer. His thoughts and insights are shared with us through his son's remembrances of life during that early time in British automotive history. This insight tells you of what life was like in those early years, the hardships that men of Charles caliber dealt with on a daily basis. It shares with the reader, the pride that Charles had for each car that rolled out the door. Charles served in the RFC during WWI (Royal Flying Corps, later to become the Royal Air Force) and his discipline carried with him into everything he did at Standard.
As you read through Charles life at Standard, you see many famously familiar names, such as John Black and Harry Ferguson. Charles Macartney worked for and with them as Standard Motors grew and eventually became Standard-Triumph. Charles retired from Standard-Triumph in 1961, just after Leyland had taken control. That was to be the start of the end, as mergers and changes at Triumph were set in motion.
"Life at Triumph" is the second part of the book. It picks up not long after Charles retirement from Standard-Triumph, when the author, John Macartney, started working there in 1966, first in the Export Sales Department at the factory, then at the company’s only showroom in Berkeley Square, London. "Life at Triumph" is a collection of short stories about the author's experiences during his tenure with Standard-Triumph Sales Limited from 1966 through 1972, along with memories of several others that worked for the Company during that time.
When you read these stories, you will realize how snakes had a re-occurring role in the Macartney family's life story. You will share the feelings that John experienced when he damaged the front wing of a Triumph 2000 Wagon, only hours before he was to re-deliver it to Royalty. This writer was so intrigued with this particular story that I had to write the author to find out "who" the Princess was that took possession of the once damaged 2000. It was Princess Grace of Monaco (aka Grace Kelly). You will also ride along in test drives taken by American tourists and travel through "The Hurtler" as one GT6 owner experienced his test drive in a Herald 1200 with extra pep.
John shares with us some company documents and procedures that were commonplace during his time with the Company. In reading the order acknowledgement procedure for new Triumphs, is hard to imagine how a company as large as Standard Triumph ever stayed in business as long as they did. It also explains why delays were common in those days, and how John and the staff had to deal with American tourists, passing through to pick up their new cars, that weren't always there. In 1972 John left Leyland and joined BMW, where his career was centered around replacement parts for the automotive industry. Later, John worked at the British Motor Industry Heritage Trust, caring for some of the very cars his father and he had a hand in making and selling.
The Macartney family shared in the Triumph experience through two lifetimes, and this book shares with us the inside story of how our favorite cars were made and sold; and how honor, and "fair play" were a way of life for Charles and John. The end of the book lists some e-mail queries received via Internet by John. Now retired from the BMIHT, John Macartney enjoys his leisure time in England as a writer and as a consultant on several e-mail lists concerning Triumph automobiles.
"In the Shadow of my Father & Life at Triumph" contains a section in the middle with period photographs of some of the people and automobiles that were present in Charles & John's life. One photo shown here is the Standard Triumph Service Department on Western Avenue, London. The other photo is of Charles with John nestled in front, "in his father's shadow".
I consider this book a must have for any Triumph auto collector. It shares a side of the British automotive history not given in any other accounts.
John sells his book directly and can be contacted at 2 Town Farm, Stretton on Fosse GL56 9SB, United Kingdom - email email@example.com
Hi Creig, here are the pics I was talking about. The TR4 was is in for a complete engine rebuild and internal speed equipment. As you can see the carbs have been up rated as well. It has an electronic ignition, headers, and a full dual exhaust system (hand made) to give the engine unrestricted flow. This TR4 is going to be an awasome car, it will soon be finished. As you may have noticed the Testerosa, it is in for the big 30000 mile service, that starts with dropping out the engine and drive train, leaving the car a two wheeler for a time. Big Job. I know it's not British but other car owners need help too.
About the pictures of the TR4 and Testarossa, I am sending another pic of the two cars I think even better. I call it "TR4 into Ferrari" A TR will fit nicely in the engine bay of a Testarossa, that big flat 12 cyl. really takes a lot of room to live in the car, but it can have all the space it needs, it will push the car to the 200+ mph mark. You can get one of these engines for about $40,000 but then you will need the gearbox as well. Now another answer for the need for speed is to build your Triumph 4 cyl to run like a V-8. This little TR4 does just that! Cost of this engine is greatly smaller compared to the Ferrari and it is a great performer, the only other steps needed to make this a super fast car is to build the suspension and handling to higher levels so the car can run at well over 130mph without problems. It is good bang for the buck!
Oh, here are some tidbits about the goings on at BCA. Bob Horzmann has joind the firm a couple months ago bringing all that great British car knowledge and ability to the company. Also like to let everyone know we have the factory computer diagnostics for all Land Rovers and Jags, so we can do all the services Plaza and Moore can do, and for a lot less money.
We just got in a new car rotisserie to better restore cars. It makes it so much better to be able to get at the bottoms for much better repairs. The machine we purchased will hold a Rolls Royce so all the sports cars are not a problem. We have two Jags in restoration right now, 67 XKE and an XK120 M roadster. also the 36 MG PB, 73 MGB roadster, 60 MGA. and a very special build car that will be in the SEMA show in LasVegas this coming Nov.
Classified Ads: Contact Creig Houghtaling at the address listed below, or firstname.lastname@example.org or 636-305-1143 to place a free ad in this newsletter.
61 TR3, Call Joe Mann, (618) 357-8168, email@example.com
Wanted: TR6. Call Kevin McMahon (314) 997 7752 (O), (636) 207 6838 (H)
Cars for sale; Charlie Key, British Cars of America - 314-428-9335
TR7 convertable, original red paint, no rust, needs brake work. asking $2700. 314-428-9335
TR7 coupe, low miles, paint needs to be polished, has a dent in left front wing, rare car. asking $2500. 314-428-9335
Spitfire windshield aluminum surround for sale. This is brand new, never been used. It was bought for a 1500 Spitfire, but never installed. Karl Schmitt (636) 797-4203
1980 Triumph Spitfire for sale. Fire. Call Terri at (618) 281 5125 (O) or (618) 2814579 (H)
1974 Triumph Spitfire, White, Two door, Convertible, new chrome header with new exhaust, dual carbs (needs tuning), straight body with some superficial rust (very minimal) It has been parked in a barn for 8 years, the gas tank was drained, It needs new interior, slave cylinder, carb covers, minor engine compartment wiring, this car would be a great project car with some time and effort $800.00 OBO contact John Nielsen @ firstname.lastname@example.org I have plenty of pictures and will be happy to email any of them
TR6 LH and RH "Door Skins" for sale. They are still in the box and purchased from TRF. They are currently selling at TRF for $129.95. I am asking $80.00 for each. Mark Marshall (636) 928-6289 (Res) (314) 862-8000 ext 631 (Ofc)
St. Louis Triumph Owners Association
Creig Houghtaling, Editor
36 Copper Mountain Court
Fenton, MO 63026