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Triumph - That was a year that was..


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That was a year that was..


This was the year in which Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral took place in London.   This same year,  Lyndon Baines Johnson had been sworn in as President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy (a tragedy which had occurred some fourteen month earlier).

Stanley Mathews played in his last 1st division game, and the unmanned lunar space probe Ranger-8 crashed onto the moon.  The USA sent their first 3,500 combat troops to Vietnam and instigates Rolling Thunder (almost 3-years of sustained aerial bombing).  While back home in Alabama - State troops lay mercilessly into a peaceful protest march (known as Bloody Sunday).  Ironically this happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge which was named after a former Confederate Brigadier General,  and also Grand Wizard of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.  Following graphic television coverage of that event,  Lyndon Johnson implemented a Bill of Rights for American Negroes.


Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov leaves his spacecraft for 12 minutes to becomes the first man to walk in space.  ‘My Fair Lady’ wins 8 Academy Awards, and ‘Mary Poppins’ takes five Oscars.   Intelsat-1 communications satellite is deployed - marking a turning point in television, telephone, radio, internet, and military technology.  While down on earth - the Pennine Way is officially opened.

Racing driver Jim Clark wins the Indianapolis 500, and then goes on to win the Formula one championships.  Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in a world heavyweight championship rematch, while the Rolling Stones “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is released. The Beatles second movie Help!  premieres and they perform the very first ‘stadium concert’ playing before a 55,600 audience at Shea Stadium in New York City.  




Cigarette advertising is banned on British television, and Singapore is expelled from the Federation of Malaysia. And then recognised as a sovereign nation.  After almost two years the Auschwitz War Crimes trials in Frankfurt are concluded. 66 former SS personnel receive life sentences and 15 others receive lesser sentences for their doings.  Bob Dylan releases his influential album ‘Highway 61 Revisited’

Incredibly all of the above happened in the first 8 months of that year ..even before Tom & Jerry or the Thunder-Birds were first aired.!  


But then.., around about this same time a small sports car was sold ..to an American working in England.  His name was E. Crawford Morten. And he came from New York State. At that time, he was assigned to work in Britain & Europe for the International Paper Co. of  Ticonderoga, NewYork.  

The year was 1965, and so this particular story starts some 54 years ago.  The car he chose  was British Racing Green with a light tan coloured hood and leather seats. It was the new independent rear suspension Triumph TR4A.  And aside from its Laycock type-A overdrive, and it being a Left hand drive car delivered to a customer in England - it was unexceptional. 

Well that is as ‘unexceptional’ as any gleamingly brand new TR4 sports car might be ..when owned by a wealthy American living in Britain during the swinging sixties.  So, Crawford (as his family liked to call him)  took the car to Standard-Triumph’s authorised specialist tuners ; SAH of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire ..for a few ‘enhancements’.   



Sid A. Hurrell  (SAH)  had made a name for himself preparing and successfully racing a TR2,  indeed his performance tuning parts were used in Triumph’s work’s cars, with aspects of those carried into subsequent production.  The Triumph TR2 soon made a name for itself in both club and International racing events, in sprints, hill climbs, and in rallying.  SAH had a catalogue of special parts for the Triumph Herald (which made also quite an impact within international rally circles) and Vittesse (competitive in saloon car racing).  Parts were developed for the 1300 and 1500cc Triumphs, the Bond, and for the Triumph 2000 and 2500 models. Naturally each model from TR2 onwards were tuned, tweaked and lightened..  If you're not aware of SAH., they later became Triumph-Tune.      

E. Crawford Morten was a great enthusiast of motor racing and whenever an opportunity arose he would take off to a Grand Prix event ..anywhere across Europe.  Apparently he was not only a spectator but according to his nephew Fletch  “Crawford never raced that TR, but he was a very fast and skilled driver who used all of the cars capabilities on those lovely New York Adirondack roads” 

Clearly a man of discernment who also appreciated the advantages of  lightweight components in racing &/or in a true seat-of-the-pants sport-cars, because one of the things Crawford really wanted of  SAH was a set of their knock-on  JA Pearce magnesium-alloy wheels (Magna alloys).  A set of these make wire wheels, alloys and even the works perforated-steel wheels appear heavyweight and/or fragile.


This is a TR4,  so not the same car but coincidentally is in the same colours and with (bolt-on) magna wheels.

Of course, as the car was to be left with SAH  anyway -  then the engine might also be tuned, an oil temperature gauge, cooler, and filter fitted.  A Girling ‘brake booster’ and additional driving lamps were also fitted.   It is believed the engine received a Stage-1 tune : for fast road use.  In petrol-head terms that’s raising the TR4A's standard 104bhp to a modest 135bhp - without loosing around town low rev’s driveability.  What’s that 30% more power ?

This was achieved mainly through camshaft and cylinder-head re-work, carb jetting and filters, ignition electrics, and the standard exhaust manifold being swapped out for SAH’s four branch extractor pipes.  It is probable that the engine was also balanced for endurance ..to survive his high-speed jaunts to GP events across Europe.

What's certain is that the wheels and tyres selected to transmit this performance potential to the tarmac were of wide profile.  And, for road use throughout Europe, that meant the wheel-arches needed extending.  Remember we’re talking about a brand new car here.  Incredible as it might seem nowadays - Crawford had SAH replace the TR4’s four wings with fibreglass ones.  These not only had extended wheel arch brows but I understand saved about 15lb in weight ..off each panel. 

That weight saving may not seem very much, but from a standing start in a quarter-mile acceleration run ; a 30lb weight saving would equate to 0.1 seconds difference. Again seemingly not worth the effort, but.. with two otherwise identical cars side by side - the lighter one would be 12-foot in front.!  And aside from aiding acceleration - such weight saving at the extremities also help to centralise the car’s mass for crisper handling. 

These Triumphs aren’t a heavy car anyway,  the weight distribution is also pretty good on the 4-cyclinder model,  and then of course the C of G is very low too.   With IRS and a 30%  increase in power ..and also factoring considerable weight saving in having magnesium-alloy wheels and a little tweaking of the suspension parts, then we’re beginning to talk about a road car that not only performed exceptionally well but also handled better than most any other on the road at that time.   Jaguars and Astons would have had much more power but a lightweight TR  might well take the inside track ..and be whole lot more fun as well.

Anyway, I’m rambling..   not least because much of this SAH special equipment has been lost to circumstance and the financial needs of the car’s more recent owner. 


Unfortunately this car’s history, subsequent to Crawford,  is at present a little vague - except that there were three further owners, and whatever we might gather from a bumper sticker, believed to be a pass to a military installation - dated 1982.   So let's fast forward to  June 1998  when the present owner - a Mr. Raymond Lucas Hatfield of  Little Rock, Arkansas  bought this very same TR4A.    " I rescued the car from what was basically a junkyard - a garage that had many old cars abandoned behind it.  My wife said the I was giving it a second 'chance' at being used, and the name stuck ".   Apparently it had been there as junk for years. 

Mr. Crawford passed away before I bought the car, but apparently he told the second owner that he had rallied the car in England for several years before returning to the United States, bringing the car with him.  There is evidence on the car that it had been driven hard at some point and suffered some damage ; dents to the frame, some holes and dents in the body.

 I spoke to the second owner, who states he only drove it on the road until about 1980 when he started tearing it apart to rebuild it.  The rebuild stalled and he finally sold it to the individual I bought it from in 1991.   There it sat until 1998 when I bought it "  . . Judging by the bumper sticker,  that might have been 1982 or 83 when he started 'tearing it apart'.  Perhaps this was the last time the car was together and on the road.?

The car when bought by Mr. Hatfield was collected from Birmingham, Alabama  (some 375 miles away from Little Rock, Arkansas).   Unfortunately on the way home, with the car on a tow dolly - it dropped off its rear right wheel.   While loading the TR on the dolly,  I noticed that the 'spinner' was missing off the right rear wheel, but thought it of no consequence since I  (and the seller)  were under the impression that these were bolt-on wheels.  In all fairness, I do not recall seeing any part of the spindle showing on that rim to clue any of us to the fact that it was a knock off wheel.

…    I'm quite sure that all of you know what happened now. I made it from Birmingham, AL to about 50 miles from my home in Arkansas before that wheel came off. As it came off, it tore the fiberglass rear fender off.  Fortunately, that was the extent of the damage to the TR, but now I am stuck with the car on the side of the freeway in the middle of the night! "


Raymond in his forum posts and in correspondence with myself tells us that the "engine was seized up from being parked in a junkyard for 10 years".   In due course the motor was removed from the car and stripped down,  with the offending piston released from its bore ..courtesy of a big hammer smashing the cylinder liner.

On the four banger TR’s these are wet sleeve (dry on the six cylinder), and rather than simply replace the liners, the owner acquired another short-block TR4 motor.  But in his heart of hearts - he hankered for a Triumph TR5 with its smoother and more powerful six cylinder sea anchor.  And so is found investigated, on American brit-car forums, the options of a more powerful engine to drop into Chance.  

V8’s as well as straight-six Toyota and the 2.8 ltr BMW motors were each considered for  “a sleeper Vette killer”.  At the same time he was also considering selling the overdrive transmission in favour of a modern five-speed box.,  but after much deliberation he opted to buy a six-cylinder TR6’s engine.  In the same transaction came a TR6 chassis - which still appears to be in good shape.  The replacement 4-cylinder short-block was sold on, and the original engine remained in bits.




Over the past, almost 21 years of present ownership, the car’s  Second Chance  hasn’t yet come to realisation.  The front brake callipers have I’m told been swapped out for Toyota four-pot items, and the rear suspension has modern shock absorbers in place of the original Armstrong lever arm types.   Raymond  has his own TR enthusiast website which recall some of this car's history (last updated  c.2005 ).   Unfortunately  there is not one photo of the car nor any part of it.   

Below is a recent photo from the for sale advert to which I replied.  


The exceptionally lightweight and strong knock-off Magna wheels were sold for $800, to an English guy in 2003.  And bolt-on Mustang Bullitt (c.2001 model) aluminium alloys fitted instead. The Englishman who bought the wheels was a Mr. Roger Butt “who then restarted the company and made new wheels on the same pattern. The company he worked for (Rotex Developments) had a factory/warehouse here in Arkansas 

Tidbit : Roger Butt was Company Secretary to Osprey Marine Ltd between February ‘94 and March 1998.  He was appointed Director of Rotex Developments Ltd (Company status : Dissolved ) in August ‘05,  and again appointed Director of J.A. Pearce Engineering Ltd  (Company status : Dissolvedin 2012.   The latter is of course the same name as having originally made racing and sports wheels.


The car has been stripped out of its interior.  I’m told the original leather seats didn’t withstand being out in the elements ..so they have gone in favour of a pair of high-back Mazda Maida seats, not yet fitted. The dashboard timber, light-tan door cards and carpet set have been replaced, but again not refitted.  The black steering wheel looks like an SAH one (it’s leather rimmed with slotted aluminium spokes). And little niceties like the SAH embossed ashtray and the engine’s SAH cast-alloy rocker-cover have also gone, as has the car’s oil cooler, temp gauge setup, and quick change filter. Non have been replaced.  




The fuel tank  and under-bonnet space are also stripped out, but most of those parts are with the car,  albeit in unknown condition after having been stored for the past 21 years,  plus another 10 years " parked in a junkyard".

From what I can see in photos and has been discussed in email correspondence with Raymond, around the bulkhead’s battery tray is rusted,  as is the lower forward edge of the boot floor and spare wheel well.  These have in part been patched by one of the interim owners,  as has one sill.  Both sills have holes to their inside rear corners, and the floors show sign of nature’s aeration.  The paintwork is scruffy, apparently looking better in the photos than in life.  And the bumpers, like pretty much everything else, are off the car and have seen brighter days.  Most probably there are numerous minor bits missing or beyond repair,  but as an optimist - I’ll presume 90% of the car is there and might be reusable,  if enough time and money is spent in their recondition. 

Oh btw.,  the car is still in Arkansas, which in case you are unaware is 450 miles sorta north of Huston, Texas and similarly from New Orleans.  This being west across state from Memphis Tennessee  ..so not exactly close to any coastline or shipping port.    So, as a largely dismantled non-runner, the overland transport and shipping freight is going to cost £-thousands.   However, even factoring in the transport cost - this TR4A is as cheap as I could find (..cheap is a relative term !).  And unlike most cars from the States ;  it does has an interesting history.  Although not at this time paper-documented ;  the (three remaining) flared grp wings and other remaining SAH parts, as well as email correspondence from the nephew do confirm the story.   Accordingly,  a week last Friday I put a bid on it.  And then I had a counter offer, which I accepted on condition that he’ll prepare and pack the car (together with the 'spare' chassis)  for transport (my proposal below) .   Last Monday evening I received an affirmative response.  

517087242_chassisontopofcar02ds.jpg.3412df5aedf8038b1325bb8c45e37c90.jpgNo, I promise to NOT paint this TR4 red.!

So there we are,  I have to sell a motorcycle or two and my Ami-super  but.,  despite it being ridiculously too small a car for someone as old, or tall and broad as myself (6’-5” with the accumulative effects of gravity for 60++ years) - it is what I hanker for.  And if I don’t do it now then I don’t suppose I’ll ever have the chance  again.  

BUT.,  Is this too fashion-taxed a topic for ye  Autoshiters,  or would my reckless abandonment of any last remnant of common-sense ..and the consequential issues I’ll have to deal with over the next couple of years be of some passing amusement to you all. ?



p.s.   This restoration / recommissioning will be a diy job on a very tight budget.   As mentioned I'm also very tall,  so concessions to those factors override any idea of originality.   I also have no qualms at all in using second hand seats out of a Triumph Herald or an MG.,  or an Austin 7  for that matter ..if they are suitably period styled, available cheaply,  and better accommodate my freak-sized frame.   So, this will not be a car for the TR purist. 

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It's easy for me to say do it, so that's what I recommend. One of my big regrets car wise is missing out on cars that I wanted, but was too risk averse or got talked out of them by other people at the time and now they are completely unaffordable. Biggest regrets a Swallow  Doretti  (a sort of fancy pants TR) and a Bristol 405, neither of which will ever be within reach again.

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Thanks to all for your support, encouragement, and in the case of mitsisigma ; bewilderment.  ;)  

I have plans for the car which will shock many.  But the first thing to do is to find a transport company overland across States, and a sea freight shipping company.   ANY  HELPFUL   CONTACTS  (for such services !)  would be greatly appreciated.  

In the meantime I'm looking out for used / missing bits (things like a rocker cover)  in the US.,  which the seller has kindly agreed to pack in with the car, to save international postage and individual import taxes / VAT.        


On 5/13/2019 at 12:57 AM, mitsisigma01 said:

6ft 5 plus width into a TR4 = painful surely ? would you be wanting some Traction magazines to be reading whilst waiting for the shipment to arrive? 

 I learnt to drive in a Mini Clubman, then my first car was an 850 Mini,  I later owned a Triumph Herald and MkII Spitfire. When I worked in Virginia my daily (only car) was a TR3 without a hood, and then later on I had TR4 (which I restored in the early '90's).  I helped with the design,  build, and subsequent road testing of the Steven's Cipher, and then I designed and made a series of 2cv based kit cars.   Yep, they are all little but somehow each and every one of those cars I remember as being fun to drive. 

I also had a Vauxhall FB,  a Ford Cortina,  Renault 25,  Volvo 245,  BMW 520 and the 733i,  plus a host of other mainly good and capable cars ..but somehow these lacked that fly-in-your teeth-fun element.   

I know a TR4 will be very small for me.   I tried a TR5  last Tuesday evening for size ..much to the amusement of all those around,  but if there's a will ..then there's a way..   Reading up on other individuals who have the same issue and ;  extending the seat runners back, a lower slimmer seat, and using a smaller diameter but more dished steering wheel are the usual solutions.  I have one or two other ideas to add to those in due course.   Once installed, then with the seat right the way back, things aren't too bad.   But getting in and out may call for a lifting mechanism or ejector seat !      :D

Yes please to the Traction mags, if they can be posted at a sensible cost.   I've joined the TSSC but am not a member of the TR registry.  I'll drop you a pm.  Thanks. 


On 5/13/2019 at 9:16 AM, somewhatfoolish said:

Are they still making those spiffy wheels then? How much for a set? They're great.

Must admit I have no idea.  Certainly I haven't seen them.  Magnesium may have given problems in manufacture otherwise probably far too expensive for the average road spec car owner.  Never as popular as the Minilites.   Nowadays of course so many cars have alloys that a second hand set and stud-pattern adapters will do.  In 1965 Minilites were around but very few road cars had alloy wheels. 


23 hours ago, Nyphur said:

Good lord. 

I should imagine it will be quite a tight squeeze in there, what with those enormous testicles you must have to cart around with you. This should be some thread.... Any idea at all as yet when the pieces should land in the UK?

   ..that did make me laugh out loud  :lol:   

The first four pieces are not far away .. courtesy of delivery by  si1881 and 95-quid-Peugeot.  These are four scruffy wheels (standard TR4 steel ones) I picked up cheap via ebay  ..a few weeks even before agreeing a price or committing to buy the car !  


The rest of the car is having its big lumps (engine block and gearbox, diff.,  radiator, petrol tank, roll bar, etc.)  loosely assembled back into place for transport, and all other bit's wrapped in bubble wrap and placed inside the car.  Then the timber A-frames are to be built up from the bumper irons to support the spare chassis over the car.   The present owner has agreed to do this within the next 8 - 10 weeks. 

And then I need to get the car collected from Arkansas to a sea port, and then again shipped across the Atlantic Ocean  ..hopefully to Felixstowe or thereabouts,  ready for me to collect.  

So.,  it'll not be this coming week !


20 hours ago, anonymous user said:

It's easy for me to say do it, so that's what I recommend. One of my big regrets car wise is missing out on cars that I wanted, but was too risk averse or got talked out of them by other people at the time and now they are completely unaffordable. Biggest regrets a Swallow  Doretti  (a sort of fancy pants TR) and a Bristol 405, neither of which will ever be within reach again.

I can relate to that, as I'm sure many other can too.  either the Swallow or a Bristol would be very nice to own now. 

My own biggest regret was enforced upon my by redundancy though. I was working in New Orleans and once made redundant I had no visa to live there. 30 days or else your in breach of immigration laws.  The car I was restoring then was a dark blue 3.4ltr XK150s roadster.  Having just lost my job I was unable to afford the shipping costs so I had to quickly sell.  I got $6000 in 1999.  The prices since then haven't stopped spiraling upwards to dizzy heights.


18 hours ago, colnerov said:


 Hi, To be pedantic, he is describing 1965 and in the first sentence he states that Kennedy died fourteen months previously. ?


I put my hand up, 5speedracer was right -  I got it wrong ..and have since corrected the OP.   Lyndon Johnson stepped in as interim President after JFK's assassination, but then in 1964 there were elections and Johnson won with a fair (61%) majority.  Then at the beginning of '65 he was formally sworn in.    


p.s. I apologise to all ..for my using a serif Font,  but it is very much easier for me as a dyslexic to read. 

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Excellent write-up, BFG, and one that leaves me waiting for the next instalments.....Got fond memories of four pot TRs from my school years, a fella up the road from me was into them and restored quite a few.    You should be able to get the interior right for you - they are actually quite roomy although lack the elbow-room of the 2/3 with their cutaway doors.   Shouldn't think the rollbar will help you there, though.....

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 Hi, To be pedantic, he is describing 1965 and in the first sentence he states that Kennedy died fourteen months previously.
My pedentary has bitten me on the bum slightly here. I missed the 14 months line but picked up on LBJ being sworn in which happened the 1st time on the day JFK was assassinated.

Sent from my Redmi 4 using Tapatalk

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On 5/13/2019 at 9:13 PM, eddyramrod said:

Ha brave*  eh ! ?     An old English giant buying a diminutive young man's car from Arkansas,  in condition unseen and without even a decent set of photos, in bits,  a twice abandoned project that's been kicking around for donkey's years, together with a full size appendage of a spare chassis, without even having made transport arrangements,  and at the moment (before I sell a motorcycle) having no money to pay for it,  and then knowing that it'll be like fitting my size 13's into a size 10 sandal  (it is open topped after all.!)....  Why what could possibly go wrong ?   

Thanks for the suggestion and link to Kingstown shipping - I'll contact them and see what they say.


On 5/13/2019 at 9:29 PM, mercrocker said:

Excellent write-up, BFG, and one that leaves me waiting for the next instalments.....Got fond memories of four pot TRs from my school years, a fella up the road from me was into them and restored quite a few.    You should be able to get the interior right for you - they are actually quite roomy although lack the elbow-room of the 2/3 with their cutaway doors.   Shouldn't think the rollbar will help you there, though.....

Thanks,  The cutaway doors do make the TR2 / 3 work pretty well.  Mine was a black TR3 (small mouth) a little scruffy but with wires of course, and red trim.  Because I had no hood on the car I used to drive with a tonneau cover over the passenger side and a fabric 'door' press-studded to the outside besides me.  Fortunately that car had a heater fitted so with that blasting out, even in the snow it was acceptable - when wearing a sheep skin jacket and a motorcycle helmet.  My drive to work at that time was down the old Route 29  (General Lee Hwy) from Centreville to Gainesville, VA and the car was too nippy to worry about things like monster trucks or hicky West Virginians in their crusty old pick-ups. 

You got to laugh though ..when people fit a roll bar, bolted to the floor panels, for protection.




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History 101

.  .  .         it's not about things, it is all about the people.

In correspondence with this  Tr4A's  seller Raymond,  I felt he was reluctant to tell me straight what the car's condition was,  where things got lost along the way,  and how things never worked out.    Personally speaking I was disappointed that important aspects of the SAH 'enhancements' which made Chance  a bit special - had been lost to the ravages of time or sold on (recycled-up !)  but I came to accept that.  It's all part of this particular car's history.  

I wrote to to Raymond to try and explain this,  and also the fact that he himself ; Raymond L. Hatfield was now an inseparable part of that car's history.  And then how their story is of great interest to the car's new owner (right now that'll be me,  but in due course it will be someone else).   I reasoned that times change,  and what we once had was worth almost nothing..  And in line with the culture of the day we start to play around with things like our old cars.   In his case,  some 15 or 20 years ago - he hankered for a TR5.    So when the original engine needed too much time and money spent on it - he decided to go with the straight-six lump.  Thereafter the four-pot engine was kept, but essentially.. dumped in a back corner of the garage. 

Now me being me,  I love the background story - so practically pleaded with him to pass on what he has.   Today I received the first of several email correspondences.  I thought you might enjoy reading it too.. 


- - -

Sent:  Sunday, October 1, 2006, 9:55:58 AM PDT
Subject: Emmett Crawford Morten

Recently I heard from Fletcher Veitch (..the Nephew- that you have my father-in-laws TR4. You can not believe how happy I am to know that the car is still around. In fact, a bunch of us here in Ticonderoga are thrilled.  Fletch mentioned that you would like to know a little about Crawford. I could go on forever if you were here but you are not so I’ll just jot down some quick thoughts.

After quitting West Point and getting married, Crawford moved to Ticonderoga and decided to buy a sports car. After much research he decided on a Peerless. It wasn’t too long when he discovered that the English had not mastered fiberglass and his cars had to always look good, so he made a deal for the dealer to take the car back and give him a TR3. LOADED. He loved it, so a bit later he sold it to his nephew Fletch, ordered a TR4 out of Rutland, Vt. (Russ Smith Auto), had it shipped to SAH, blue printed, and he flew to England to pick it up. He drove it around to a couple Formula One races and sent it back home.


Let me describe Crawford…..

Crawford was a big man, wicked smart, eccentric, and when he spoke, you listened. He loved cars, guns, wines, gourmet cooking, astronomy, and reading. He hated improper English but some four letters were quite OK. I am sure I am missing other hobbies of his.

He was the 1955 US Muzzle Loading Pistol Champion.

During the 1950’s and 60’s, he was know at Watkins Glen for his reciting of poems, songs and jokes. 

When the British told him that a carb did not fit his Land Rover, he went to his shop and milled a plate that made it fit.

His Grandfather led the charge over San Juan Hill, not Roosevelt . It is a fact.

Morten Salt ! Sterling Salt ! His relatives.

Around Christmas he would drive his Land Rover to Md. , load the back with oysters and seaweed. I would get a call when he got back and we would deliver oysters to friends and relatives. They knew that they had to serve us a good wine or a single malt scotch. I could be made happy with a cheap beer but Crawford educated me differently.

After Crawford’s funeral, we all went out to his farmhouse and had a party in his honor.  Many people, many drinks, and many many Crawford stories.

My wife is looking for pictures of the TR and her father for you but I got anxious.  We will keep in touch. AND thank you.

Terry Smith

- - -

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^ anecdotes like that are great and are little bits of history to cherish with the car. Love your old TR3, years ago I used to see an older (than me at the time) chap with a mostly BRG, partly red lead and partly grey primer TR3A, in what I call galloping wounded condition. He didn't hang about in it, never saw it with a hood on it, he always looked happy. Hope you get to that point with your new one.

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(.. Oops - my mistake) ..   History 101  involves a little time travel today  ..to just before the above correspondence was received on 1st October 2006.

The following  ..which appears to be in reply to something Raymond posted on his own website,  goes back to 25th August 2006.  

First Contact   .. 

- - -

-----Original Message-----

< F. Veitch >   wrote:


I know your SAH tuned TR4A - In fact I drove it The day I was married.!

The car belonged to my uncle, E. Crawford Morten And he purchased it new in England tuned by SAH.  The car was not raced in England, nor while he was the owner. It was a real screamer, I had a stock TR4A-IRS and his ran circles around it.  Original color was BRG, and it had Laycock OD.

I do have some original photos of the vehicle, Both exterior and under the hood.  If you finish the beast and wish to sell it to someone who will care for it as it deserves, please let me know  before putting it on the market.

Additionally if you know the whereabouts of a TR3-A S/N TS53537-LO or know how to see if it still exists, I would love to know where it is. That was my first TR, also owned by Crawford.  I did autocross that one, and it was a world beater!  The fastest damned TR I ever drove, and I have had 5.

Crawford also had  Peerless GT (TR engined) and Herald 1200 (POS).  His daughter Christine Morten Smith also had a Spitfire.  A real TR family!

Regards, Fletch.

> Fletcher P. Veitch III

- - -

-----Original Message-----

From: Raymond

Sent: Monday, July 10, 2006 08:23

To: Fletcher Veitch

Subject: Re: SAH tuned TR4A


Hello Fletch,

Thank you for writing me,

I'm glad to find out additional information on my car, do you have any other details that you could share with me?  The stories about it being raced came from the person I bought the car from, and I must admit it bears signs of having been driven hard.  Would it be possible to scan any of the pictures you have of the car and send them to me?

It would be a great bit of history to add to my website.

The car is still BRG at this time, though I am thinking of painting it blue once the restoration is finished.  Still has the Laycock OD.  The interior is being redone in light tan, which should make it much more comfortable during the Arkansas summers.  I did sell the wheels that it had, because I didn't feel I could trust 40 year old mageseium wheels on a daily driver, which is what I plan for the car when it's complete.

I don't know anything about the TR3-A, but you could check the TR registry website (www.trregistry.com), they may have it listed if someone owns it.  Also, you might join the Vintage Triumph Registry's mailing list and make inquires.

It was great hearing from you, and if you have any interesting stories or information concerning Mr. Morten or my TR, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for writing,


- - -


< F. Veitch >   wrote:

Ray, I forwarded your email to Chris Smith who is Crawfords daughter.  She may have more information including original purchase stuff.  Crawford never raced it, but he was a very fast and skilled driver who used all of the cars capabilities on those lovely New York Adirondack roads.  He was a fanatic about car care, so if it was damaged or not maintained it was by someone other than him.  When I say fanatic, I mean just that - you had to see it to believe it.  My TR3 which I got from him when it was 7 years of age looked and drove like a new car.

I probably have 2 pictures which I will try and find and scan for you.  The SAH was what the TR4A should have been - My 3 ran circles around my TR4A-IRS untill I ripped out the polution control crap and rejetted the carbs properly.  Milage went back up to 27-28 MPG from about 23.  Performance greatly enhanced.  The 3 still kicked it's ass in an autocross, but that was an exceptional car and it didn't beat it by much.

Best regards - good luck with the restoration.  It doesn't seem like that car has been around over 40 years....


- - -


-----Original Message-----

From: Raymond

Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 15:20

To: F. Veitch

Subject: RE: SAH tuned TR4A


Hi Fletch,

Thanks for forwarding my email, one of the things I find fascinating about the car is the history - even with all the missing pieces.  I really appreciate you helping to fill in the blanks.

One thing I am very curious about the story about how Mr. Morten went to England  and purchased the car, including getting the tuning from SAH.  My guess was that he was in the service at the time, but it would be great to know what actually happened.


I guess it's my turn to fill in the history after that, according to what I've been able to find out :

Mr Morten sold the car to Ronnie Van Zuphen (sp?) sometime in the '70s.  Ronnie drove it in New York for a number of years (and from your comments apparently abused it quite a bit), Then moved to Tupelo, MS.  He continued to drive it, finally taking it off the road around 1980, disassembling it to restore it.  That restoration effort never took off. 

The car was eventually sold to Russ Hepp of Birmingham, AL about 1995.  Russ stored the car uncovered behind his restoration shop and never touched it, where it deteriorated quite a bit.  I came along in 1999 and bought all the bits and pieces and brought them home.

It's been a slow, agonizing process trying to resurrect the car, but I'm getting closer all the time to the day when it'll run again.  At least now it's stored out of the weather and not deteriorating any more.  I hope to have it running again by this coming spring.

Thanks again for writing


- - -


- - - - - Message - - - - -

From: F. Veitch

To: Raymond

Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 2:22:46 PM PDT

Subject: RE: SAH tuned TR4A


Ray, the SAH was a follow up to my TR3.  Let me put things in sequence.

Crawford was in the service - he was a Marine on Tinian during WW2 with the first Marine radar fielded.  C came from a long line of military officers and West Point grads, his G/father being the longest continuously serving combat officer in the AUSA when he retired. 

He fought in every war from the opening skirmished of the Civil war through the end, was appointed to West Point, served in Texas and the Arizona territory and the indian wars under Gen Crooke and later in China, the Phillipeans and San Juan PR (Puerto Rico) .  He was the combat officer (Br.Gen) who actually led the troops up San Juan hill after their CO was wounded and was unable to continue. (Note, there is no mention of TR there - we have the original transfer of command signed by all parties including TR. (Theodore Roosevelt  )

His son retired a Col in the quartermaster corps.  With this for a recent military history, you know Crawford was pushed into the Point where he ended flunking out to marry Christine's Mom.  He ended up at Parris Island (South Carolina)  as a DI (Drill Instructor)  and then in the Pacific. 

He always loved performance cars and the Triumph string began with a Peerless GT, TR-3, Herald (side car) TR4A (SAH) and then a string of Mercedes.  He worked for International Paper Co in Ticonderoga NY.  He followed racing avidly, used to go to Europe to watch the GPs, and on one of these trips he picked the TR up, having ordered it prior to leaving.

Keep me posted


- - -


So there we have it.  First Contact,  where the car was ordered,  Chance's  First owner and even an obtuse link to the American Presidency,  plus second & third owners,  and then Raymond..  the present custodian and now seller..   The pieces of its history are coming together !  And is possibly more complete than the car is itself !

Bfg ;)

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You see I'm not the only one to have old number plates hanging in their garage. !! 


History 101 continued ..   And the latest news from Raymond we have is this little gem..  

      Ah, Here's one I was really looking for - the original plate on the nephew's wall
- - -
( interestingly this email was date stamped some 4 +  years later than the previous from Terry ) . .
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Smith,T
To: "Raymond
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 10:03:37 AM CST
Subject: garage wall

Hi Raymond ,

I am pleased you enjoyed the snapshots of the TR. Attached is a shot of the wall just above my work bench.

My wife is a collector. Big into family and local history.


- - -


My reply to Raymond :

Raymond - that's brilliant - Chance's original registration number : DWK 741C

I'm not sure it is possible to get the same number back on the car,  but I'll make some enquiries as I have just checked on the department of transport website and that number doesn't seem to have been otherwise allocated to another vehicle.   It is possible in some instances to buy registration numbers in this country through specialist agents but I've no experience of doing that.  And a number like that would probably cost about $250 plus the registration fee.   So it's a lot of money for a number ..but it might be nice !

I can also check with the TR register to see if anyone has any record of this car.  Again it's unlikely because those who now own TR's weren't driving in 1965 !   ..but it is a good place to start.   If the car had been raced or rallied then there might have been a record, but from what I read in your emails that doesn't seem to have been the case with Crawford's Tr4.     Might I ask,  did you every get an authorised dating certificate for the car.?

As I'm sure you are aware ; the registration numbers signify where and when the car was first registered for road use in this country (not where or when it was made).  The suffix letter 'C' is for the year 1965,  and the second and third prefix letters ' WK ' signify the car was originally registered in Coventry.  Canley being a south-western suburb of Coventry, is where the Triumph car factory was until 1980.

From what your prior correspondence said ;  the car was ordered through a US dealership, but it would appear the car was actually collected by Crawford directly from the factory itself.  I wonder if he was privy to a guided tour to see cars being assembled along the line ?

I am enjoying this - THANK YOU.


- - -


from Wikipedia :
Canley is known as the site of the main factory of the Standard Motor Company and was all open farmland before 1916. The initial factory was built around ' Ivy Cottage', near the Canley Train Halt and was first used in 1916 to build First World War fighter aircraft. 'Standard' cars were produced there from 1918 onwards. The factory continued to expand over the site throughout the 1920s and most significantly just before the Second World War when two additional Shadow Factories were added. Production of Standard and Triumph cars continued until car production ceased in August 1980 as part of British Leyland's rationalisation, although the Triumph brand survived until 1984 with the last cars being built at other British Leyland factories.


Some of the Triumph car factory site was retained as a technical centre until the mid-1990s but was successively demolished thereafter. A commemorative sculpture of the Standard-Triumph badge now stands on the site of the works, on Herald Avenue, close to the Standard Triumph Club, which is now the only remaining building of the industrial complex where thousands of Coventry people once worked."



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Time to play - What would you do ?   to a basic criteria of  building a seat-of-the-pants TR4 daily driver, with its four banger motor, lightweight GRP panels, and a wish for the car to look basic sports and very 1960’s.    


I ask because ;

v                As is clear from the above correspondence, this car was modified from the outset.  

v                I’m stuck with being 6’5” tall.  So I’ll need to make some changes to better accommodate me.

v                I’m on a low budget and buying the least expensive Tr4 I can find.  But as it has not been on the road for about 37 years, many of the components will be unserviceable and perhaps uneconomical to repair. This is a project-car needing everything restored or else replaced.  

v                I want to drive the car ( in all weathers),  rather than show it.

In short ; it is not a precious car,  nor is it original, and nor will it ever be. Therefore I’m inclined to feel free and ‘update’ certain systems..  


Systems :

I’m thinking things like screen demist and windscreen wipers, battery and charging system. To swap these things out for more efficient and lighter weight components.  What might you suggest ?  And what else ?   

Motor :

I did consider dropping a suitably period V8 Daimler 2.5 V8 (140bhp / 155ft.lb @ 3600rpm) into it.  This is a really good motor, and the car’s original lump has laid dismantled for donkey’s years and so most likely is going to be expensive to restore.   

However, as this particular Tr4 was tuned by SAH to perhaps 135bhp / 140ft.lb @3350rpm., it seems to me that swapping it out would  a.) loose something more of the car’s history,  b.) loose something of the raw TR4 I like,  and c.) not be worth the considerable effort ..for the resulted gain.  

I also had the option of a TR6 motor (US. carb spec. : 126bhp / 132ft.lb @ 3500rpm) with this car,  but have rejected it because although very tuneable - it would again loose the crude feel of the four banger, and because the six-cylinder’s additional weight ..and weight distribution, are each counter to nimble handling.

In short :  I’ll stick with the original 2.1ltr TR4 four pot motor, with its twin carbs and four-branch extractor exhaust.  Likewise, the four speed manual gearbox with overdrive will be used.  But where practical and within a small budget,  I’ll do what I can to enhance performance potential, driveability, reliability, and oil-tightness.   


Power to weight / weight distribution :

SAH’s  GRP panels on this car save weight and centralise its weight distribution. These are the direction I’d like to pursue further.  


Style :

Formative years or what ?  In 1964, my Dad was a competitor in the East African Safari Rally. I was an 8-year old kid.  Perhaps because of these things I now prefer the early Tr4 style as a fun-spirited rally car, more than the more glitzy image of the Tr4A.  So I’d like to retro back to basic  by removing its superfluous chrome trim and side lights. I’m also inclined towards the original TR4’s painted white dashboard rather than the 4A’s wooden facia.  To me, timber  finishes work great in a comfortable saloon, but less so in a sports car.  And I’ll use the original steel wheels, as I feel Mini-lite style alloys are sorta like a silk purse attempt to make these cars appear more refined than they are.  

In short : I’d like an almost spartan early 1960’s look.  


Brakes, Suspension and Chassis :

From what I understand,  this car's front brakes have been up-rated to twin-pot Toyota calipers.  At the rear are the original 9” drums.   I don't know about the front shock absorbers, but the rear suspension dampers have been changed.. from the original Armstrong lever arms to  Moss  bolt-on conversion brackets and modern upright slider shockers.  I’m not sure about this,  as it seems like just added weight, when the original dampers work well and their rating could be changed just by going for a different weight of oil.   Am I missing something here ?

- -


So, what would you do ?   to a basic criteria of ; a nimble handling TR4 road car, with its four banger motor, lightweight GRP wings, and a wish for the car to look basic and very 1960’s..  to best achieve a fun (nimble and quick)  road TR4   .. able for daily duties  ?

I invite your constructive and perhaps imaginative suggestions.!  B)


0692 - 20th May

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Today, I'm back on this transport and transatlantic shipping lark .. I really hate admin ..but its got to be done to get this car from Arkansas..


1.  Schumacher ; Ian Jeffreys <ian@scluk.org>                 I first wrote on  4th April - no reply.  And again two weeks later - no reply.  So again today : 25th May

2.  Sea Kargo                                                                                     I first wrote on 4th April  - no reply          So again today : 25th May

3.  Ross and Jennifer Lilleker - contact via Jim the transport      I first wrote on  5th May - no reply.   So a reminder today : 25th May

4.  STS   were very quick to reply with    £2,200 for sea-freight if I get the car overland to their depot in North Beach, Florida or (possibly) the same from Huston


Today,  Saturday, 25 May  I pulled my digit out and sent details and  requested a quote to the following :

5. Global Container Services Limited          - Chris, recommended by an old friend from work.

6. US-CustomerService@Cevalogistics.com -  My email bounced back saying emails for quotes will not be forwarded.  So I sent it to their UK office . .

7.  SH-NE-UK-info.uk@Cevalogistics.com

8.  info@kingstownshipping.co.uk  -

9.  rstrohecker@cfrrinkens.com          - recommended by Ken (TSSC)


I also filled in a quick 60-second Auto quote from

10. www.autocarshippers.com  - 60 second quote auto reply was ..they will contact me within 24 hrs. !


I'll let you know how I get on.


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I have just had this thread pointed out to me by Mrs6C and love the TRs.


I have a friend who has a beautiful TR4A, it is mildly tuned and maintained to a high standard, I have been on several driving trips to Wales in its company and my Vitesse and the TR4A seem to have about the same performance.


I guess it is going to be a while before you have the pleasure of driving yours but they are like giant Meccano kits to put together!

P1150856 broad.jpg

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..excellent.  The TR4 looks very small compared to your Vitesse,  and perhaps even a little smaller than what looks to be a red MX-5.?   

Must admit I was very tempted to buy a Vitesse with its more space inside,  but having owned and restored a TR4 sometime back in the early 90's - I knew I really liked that car and its four banger lump. 

Yes,  I like chassis car Meccano kits,   but as you know - I personally suffer from being over-sized for them.  It's going to be a challenge to make it work,  but I think one of the first modifications I'll make will be to raise / mount the windscreen on an 1½”  plinth.  These Triumph windscreens are bolt-on anyway so nothing irreversible.  I can make that and paint the plinth body colour so it should look tidy.   Mind you looking at your Vitesse I have to wonder if that that's a deeper screen.   I'm a member of the TSSC so someone will have one to try.


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1 hour ago, Bfg said:

^These Triumph windscreens are bolt-on anyway so nothing irreversible.  I can make that and paint the plinth body colour so it should look tidy.   Mind you looking at your Vitesse I have to wonder if that that's a deeper screen.   I'm a member of the TSSC so someone will have one to try.


The bolt-on windscreens were for the Spitfire 4,  4Mk2 and Mk3 and GT6 Mk1 and Mk2 (and TR4, TR5 and TR6 from memory). Later Spitfires, GT6s and the Herald/Vitesse range all had their windscreen frames as an integral part of the bulkhead assembly.

I may have a spare one you can borrow but I'll need it back for my Spitfire 4 Mk2 rebuild!

You could always go for small aeroscreens and not even bother with a windcreen! This advert shows how it could look... http://car-from-uk.com/sale.php?id=305563

Interestingly and continuing on the Triumph theme for 1965, the day before Winston Churchill died, the M6 Preston bypass was opened. The car that opened it was a 1964 Bond Equipe GT4S. The Equipe GT4S was made in Preston, using a modified Herald chassis with a nice fibreglass coupe body built around a Herald bulkhead, doors and floorpan, with a Spitfire 4 engine and running gear. There were two Equipe GT4S cars in the opening 'convoy', with the lead one being ARN 176B, the Motor Show car and one of the two Press & Publicity cars that Bond used for advertising. ARN 176B was the fourth production car and used for road tests and driving publicity, while ACK 888B was the first production GT4S and used for static advertising.


Both ARN 176B and ACK 888B now reside in my own collection. They both need restoration, but at the end of the day they are big Meccano sets as well, so it's not too daunting a prospect.

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20 hours ago, Mrs6C said:

The bolt-on windscreens were for the Spitfire 4,  4Mk2 and Mk3 and GT6 Mk1 and Mk2 (and TR4, TR5 and TR6 from memory). Later Spitfires, GT6s and the Herald/Vitesse range all had their windscreen frames as an integral part of the bulkhead assembly.

I may have a spare one you can borrow but I'll need it back for my Spitfire 4 Mk2 rebuild!

You could always go for small aeroscreens and not even bother with a windscreen! This advert shows how it could look... http://car-from-uk.com/sale.php?id=305563

Interestingly and continuing on the Triumph theme for 1965, the day before Winston Churchill died, the M6 Preston bypass was opened. The car that opened it was a 1964 Bond Equipe GT4S. The Equipe GT4S was made in Preston, using a modified Herald chassis with a nice fibreglass coupe body built around a Herald bulkhead, doors and floorpan, with a Spitfire 4 engine and running gear. There were two Equipe GT4S cars in the opening 'convoy', with the lead one being ARN 176B, the Motor Show car and one of the two Press & Publicity cars that Bond used for advertising. ARN 176B was the fourth production car and used for road tests and driving publicity, while ACK 888B was the first production GT4S and used for static advertising.


Both ARN 176B and ACK 888B now reside in my own collection. They both need restoration, but at the end of the day they are big Meccano sets as well, so it's not too daunting a prospect.

I didn't know the earlier Spitfires had a different windscreen, apart from them being slightly lower I thought.  The GT6 windscreen surround I understood was a bolt on affair but with bolts to the scuttle top rather than shafts through it ..so it comes out by undoing those bolts and sliding it forward.   Only what I hear like, as I have no direct experience of the 6.

Thanks for the offer of windscreen loan, that's very kind of you.  Should I explore that route I might well like to take you up on it. 

I have driven a car extensively with just aeroscreens, and a motorcycle helmet for longer, colder journeys.  Back in the day I've also used aeroscreens in lieu of a windscreen to get a car through an MOT where the car's wipers didn't work. :rolleyes:   I'm a bit soft for aeroscreens nowadays, and even have a windscreen on my old Sunbeam motorcycle.  

Arn and Ack are a great bit of surviving history.  Were the Bond Equipe also made using the Vitesse chassis and motor ?  Either way,  excellent to have them in your collection.  Where they are in the pecking order for restoration - within the foreseeable future ?   It would be great to see them on the road.

I'm pretty sure you must be fully aware of the TR4 equivalent - the Triumph Dove





^ Looks nicely done to me, and said to improve the aerodynamics / top end performance.


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3 hours ago, Six-cylinder said:

I think the size thing is just the angle of the photo.

P1150814 broad.jpg

Yes I see what you mean..  That is a very nice example indeed.  8-)   and I really like the Surrey hard top.


3 hours ago, Six-cylinder said:

According to the internet the MX5 is exactly the same length as a TR4 and 2 inches longer than the Vitesse.  My MX5 feels smaller when driving it compared to the Vitesse, they are all small cars by today’s standards.

IMG_20190423_131157 broad.jpg

Interesting to see these cars out in the street and/or side by side like this.  One tends to forget the Vitesse convertible was a small but four seat car and so the windscreen is relatively further forward than the 2+ 2/2 sports cars.  The Mazda in that colour and with its hood up sure does look like a Steven's Cipher.

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