December in the Midwest is a time of uncertainty.† The weather can be benevolent and let us drive our cars or it can turn nasty and keep our cars indoors.† But that only allows us to pursue the other aspect of our hobby.† That is, we can fiddle and fix and improve our cars not fearing the down time will prevent us from driving.† And with Santa's trip only a few weeks off we should get our wish lists off to the North Pole ASAP.
As far as the Massey fleet goes, the TR6 is waiting patiently for spring with no plans in the works.† After all, it has just received new springs, a new rear tube shock conversion, new tires and a four wheel alignment.† It is a sweet running car that serves willingly.† The TR8 is in need of a new battery.† The 5 1/2 year old Optima is showing it's age and needs to be retired.† But the car still runs swell, handles swell and the music system is working dandy.† Ready for yet another year of road burning fun.
The TR3 is well into the disassembly process.† As I write this I only need remove the steering box/shaft and then the body will be ready for lift off.† After that it is a matter of pulling the drive train and running gear from the frame and disassembly will be complete.† The expensive part comes.† That is getting the various components rebuilt/refurbished for reassembly.† But that is what restoration is all about.† My goal is to join the ranks of Chris and Arley by the summer of 2007.
It's a disease.††† Happy holidays.††† Dave
Another year comes to a close. It has been a pleasure to share various car stories with you this past year. Tell me which story was most interesting to you.
† Keith Besterís Cars
† Cars in Guatemala
† Gary and Chris Allgoodís TR4
† Joe and Mary Ann Mannís Car Collection
† John and Jan Loreís Austin Healey
† Karl and Barbara Schmittís Spitfire
† St. Louis All British Car Show Interviews
† Lou and Marilyn Saliniís Healey Collection
The car owners are delighted when their stories are published. Letís print your story! I can be reached at kakresser @ sbcglobal.net or call 636-394-3012.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine at work had a Datsun Z that he was trying to sell.† I considered buying it for a 5-speed transmission I thought might be used in a TR6.† It turned out that it had a 4-speed so I had no interest in it for myself.† But my friend still wanted to move the car so eventually I loaded it on my trailer, brought it to my house, took some pictures and put it on Ebay.† Jon Ochenas was the winning bidder so he drove to St. Louis with a tow dolly and picked it up.† A few months ago Jon sent me a picture of his finished project.† The photo on the left is the car when he bought it.† The photo on the right is the completed project.
I think people get involved with old cars and restoration because they are romantic, or naive, or both. Certainly the latter was the case for me. Shortly after my Grandfather passed away we were cleaning out his barns on the sprawling property he had in southern Michigan. One of the barns was a treasure trove of vehicles: A 40's Cadillac, a bone-stock 57 Chevy (Dad had dibs on that one), a bunch of motorcycles including the fearsome Kawasaki Widowmaker and many other exotic hunks of metal in varying states of disrepair. Of supreme interest to me was a white and primer 1976 Datsun 280Z, a tiny little car with classic lines and just the right mix of new/old to attract my eye.† Closer inspection revealed a host of problems, particularly some extensive rust in critical areas of the unibody - this car was shot and all that remained were legends from 15 years ago when the car was "a real runner".
I returned to Kansas City empty handed but had definitely been bitten by the image of that car and finishing a project that had been long abandoned by my Grandfather. Spending a ton of time on the net I read and read, learning all I could about these vehicles. There's a large community of owners and the knowledge base is extensive. I learned that the engines in the first series Z Cars were considered bulletproof with lots of stories about 300K miles plus on original equipment. I learned there was a great company right in Kansas City that specialized in replacement parts for Z's (and other cars) called Victoria British. I learned that I could get a Factory Service Manual on CD that would answer every question about how these cars come apart and go together. The final pieces came together when I discovered Creig selling a 1977 Z with a solid foundation, some rust and dents and a non-functional engine. There was little overlap between what was good on one car or the other and they seemed to be perfect compliments to each other for a project with my Granddad's car serving as the donor. After a long discussion with the Budget Subcommittee (My Wife) I bid and won on Creig's car and made arrangements to get it back to my home in KC. In parallel, I arranged a return trip to Michigan to pick up granddad's car and a van load of tools and equipment.
I first needed to strip the 77 shell of all components and concentrate on cleaning/patching/sealing the undercarriage. I can't say enough good things about POR-15. It works. Well. Through Victoria British I got most of the parts I needed to rebuild steering, brakes and suspension, along with all new bearings, seals, etc. The suspension is probably the best part of the car right now. It's an advanced handling package (springs and shocks) by Tokico with Energy Suspension urethane bushings fore to aft. I sat around for a good bit of time thinking about the car and all the parts I'd bought then I got a job offer in California that forced me to do all the above work and get the engine from the 76 into it. I also stripped the 76 of all useful/valuable components and packed them away for another day.
Flash to San Diego. The car starts and runs (more or less) but is still a shell. I decided not to do an entire strip to bare metal for time/cost reasons so I concentrated on cutting out the rust and sandblasting/mechanical removal on the bad bits. The 77 had these big crash bumpers that were a) ugly and b) rotted and c)VERY expensive to replace. I decided to use an aero package from Motorsport Auto (A west coast z shop in Anaheim) as replacements. Fortunately, most of the cosmetically bad areas would be covered by the kit so I decided to simply neutralize the rust that was there and patch with fiberglass as needed (ugly, but hidden, so what do I care?). All the visible areas were rebuilt with metal patching and I used another fantastic POR product called StraightLine body filler to smooth the rest out, particularly the wheelwell arches. I tapped out the hail dents as best I could and filled them as well.
My little company in San Diego gets bought by Yahoo! and I'm given another ridiculous deadline to move myself and the project up to Santa Monica, along with my newly pregnant wife.
Another furious round of prepping for paint. I had originally intended to shoot the car myself but was out of time, had little space and was not entirely confident of getting it right on the first try. I cleaned and painted the interior surfaces black myself. I decided to use Maaco for exterior paint and am really pleased with the results. They seemed to have the right blend of quality/price and were a national chain that would be accountable for the quality of the final product. The guy who owned the franchise seemed to be interested in the project and we worked from a budget of $2000 to see what we could do. I was incredibly concerned about corrosion returning so we put $$$ into a 2 stage epoxy primer to seal and smooth the body. They did some final filler prep and shot the car with a single stage paint so that I could put more of the budget into a color sand at the end, another step I'm happy I took. For simple colors base coat/clear coat is unnecessary and the savings you get from using single stage paint is a good compromise.
Once I got the car back I went nuts on reassembly. In about a week I got the seats reupholstered (bought a kit) and put in new carpet. Reinstalled all the door parts, windows, interior bits, lighting etc. and was ready to roll. I had a mechanic do a thorough check of my work for safety and faced the final challenge: What wheels and tires? I didn't want to alter the hubs so I went with a set of Panasports that fit off the shelf and I couldn't be happier with. Those are wrapped in Toyo Proxes tires so It's very grippy in the curves.
So now I'm tapped out and the car is as close to done as it will be for a while. Total (according to Quicken) was $13,000 (although that included some pricey tools like an engine crane). Time is in the middle hundreds of hours I'd guess. My situations required me to cut some corners here and there but the car looks pretty great up close and nothing I skimped on is visual/structural/safety related. It passed emissions out here and I drive it to work at least a couple times a week. It could really use some powerplant upgrades but that's for the distant future. In the meantime I love driving it and it really turns heads. I'd love to get it on a track to see what it could really do (I'm NOT a street racer).
Thanks for a chance to share the story...hopefully some members of the Triumph club can draw inspiration and motivation for their own projects. Happy motoring!
Jon† -† jon.ochenas @ gmail.com
Classified Ads:† Contact Creig Houghtaling at the address listed below, or 636-305-1143, or oldtoys @ charter . net†† to place a free ad in this newsletter.
This photograph was forwarded to me from Dave
Massey.† Here is the information that I
have regarding these parts:† E-mail
address: N197TR4 @ cs.com - Subject: TR6 Stainless Carbureter Steel Heat
Shield† -† Photograph: TR3/TR4 to the left TR6 in the middle Alloy TR3/4
front engine mounting plate.
† Club Discounts would be available, if 2 or more folks are interested in anything and it is shipped to one address.† I'm adding more and more stuff. I hope to make #197 faster.† Joe Alexander, TR4 racing enthusiast and long time Triumph owner.
Ł Looking for a Spitfire.† This is another item forwarded to the newsletter by Dave Massey.† hello my name is steve;†† I live near aurora illinois and im looking for an affordable spitfire.† I was 17 when i purchased my spitfire from elk grove h.s. in 1992.† I loved that car. I took it everywhere with everyone. †About 3 years later my son was born.† Money was tight and i had to sell the car for almost nothing.† Im not rich but if you know of anyone that has a spitfire that is in ok to good shape and they are not looking for a lot of money please post this message i hope to hear from some people.†† --†† In a later email he said he was looking for something in the $2,000.00 range.†† --†† NFI.† Contact him directly at sid1871 @ sbcglobal.net if you can help him get back into a Triumph!
Ł Original TR3 &TR4 tools: I have some original TR tools available, in very nice condition. Please contact Don Weinberger - email@example.com
I have an old Thor made in England hammer
that went with the very old Tr2s - it is in pretty good shape - copper on one
end and on the other there was leather insert that is missing but could be
replaced.†† --†† Do you know anyone interested in purchase of the same?
Karl M. Kindt III† 314 335 1159† 314 961 0987
Classic European Sports Cars†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† British Ė German Ė Italian - American
www.Wilson Motor Co.com
679 International Ave.† Washington, MO 63090
E Wilson, Pres.††††††††††††††††††† 636-239-6781
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org†††† Fax: 636-239-7873
Now with service and repair for your Triumph, MG, or Austin Healey.† Call today!
St. Louis Triumph Owners Association
Creig Houghtaling, Editor
36 Copper Mountain Court
Fenton, MO 63026