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Triumph - That was a year that was..

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This is my Dad's TR4, as you can see he bought it from TRGB just before  Christmas. He paid £18,000 for it, which to me is a crazy amount. But it seems that's quite reasonable compared to a lot out there.

He particularly wanted a left hooker as it will live at his house in Brittany, the lack of overdrive doesn't bother him either as it'll only potter about locally to the beach or picking up his morning croissants from the village 5 miles away.

TRGB reckoned if he hadn't bought it they'd have converted it to RHD, fitted some chrome wires and an o/d box and tried their luck at £27500 this summer.

its from Arizona and has a pretty folder of pictures from when it was rebuilt there about 10 years ago and certainly seems solid , we had it on a ramp and there were plenty of rusty examples around to see where they rot.

iI'm only 6'3" but I'm a fat fucker , so found it a bit of a tight fit, but I'm sure I'll manage when I'm down at his house and feel the need to go to the seaside or something( more room than the only other car he keeps there- a S1 Land Rover!)

Hes wanted one since he was 17 in 1963, but couldn't have one as he knocked his girlfriend up , seems apt that I went with him to buy it and encouraged him( I was born in Feb 64!)image.jpeg.2accf4f06429ca60101d0ba3387b2188.jpeg

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Thanks, Bfg....  What an absolutely STUNNING thread, so much detail, I have only skimmed through it right now,

needs re-reading more slowly, to absorb all the details..... !

Keep up the good work,  my past was involved with Sunbeam Tigers, but a friend had a nice TR5 which used to

adequately keep up with my spirited driving, in the pre-camera era  :)

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.

This week Arkansas river through Little Rock has burst its banks and homes are in flood.  Another 4" of rain is forecast.  I think Raymond's home is safe at the moment but roads are being closed and of course preparation to get the TR ready for transport is of lowest priority. 

In the meantime business here as usual  ie.,  most companies haven't yet bothered to reply to my request for a quote :?

On 5/25/2019 at 10:36 PM, Bfg said:

 

1.  Schumacher ; Ian Jeffreys <[email protected]>      I first wrote on  4th April - no reply.  And again two weeks later - no reply.  So again today : 25th May       29th :  No Reply

2.  Sea Kargo                                                                I first wrote on 4th April  - no reply          So again today : 25th May        29th : £595 overland + £675 sea freight + £375 UK dock charges 

3.  Ross and Jennifer Lilleker - contact via Jim the transport      I first wrote on  5th May - no reply.   So a reminder today : 25th May                                              29th :  No Reply

4.  STS   very quick to reply with  :  £2,200 sea freight ..if I get the car overland to their depot in North Beach, Florida or (possibly) the same from Huston.  with no breakdown of costs

5. Global Container Services Limited          - Chris, recommended by an old friend from work.                                                                                                                              29th :  No Reply

6. US[email protected]Cevalogistics.com -  My email bounced back saying emails for quotes will not be forwarded.  So I sent it to their UK office .            29th :  No Reply    

7.  SH-NE-UK[email protected]Cevalogistics.com                                                                                                                                              28th :  Business and volume only -  Not interested in one offs

8.  [email protected]kingstownshipping.co.uk                                                                                                                                                            28th : £1000 overland  + £1800  sea freight and UK dock charges 

9.  [email protected]          - recommended by Ken (TSSC)                                                                                        26th : £476 overland  + £980  sea freight + £380 UK dock charges.

10. www.autocarshippers.com  - 60 second quote.  Their auto reply was ..they will contact me within 24 hrs. !                                                                                         29th :  No Reply

These price (most likely) do not include insurance.  Rinkens says theirs is an option @ 2% of the replacement value.   They also don't include UK import VAT @5%  of the value.   There may be other costs - inevitably this will become clearer when I ask for a definitive 'amount I need to pay'.   But at the moment it seems as if  Sea-Kargo are at the forefront with £1645,  which is almost £200 better than  CFR Rinkens with £1836. 

Just goes to show how it pays to shop around..  Of course this does not say which company provides a better service, only their response times and prices.

Bfg.

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Being inexperienced in this game I had a few questions to  Jason Hemming at SeaKargo  re.  their quote . .   his reply in red

 

Hello Jason,

I just wanted to thank you and acknowledge receipt of your quote for transport & shipping of  "1x Triumph sports car with roof Rack ( Non Runner )"  from home to home Little Rock Arkansas to IP6 9JB.   Your quote is looking very competitive.

1.  Even though I have notebook and Microsoft Word, your booking form attached as a .docx  does not convert on my computer. Can it be sent as a Word.doc file or else in another format please. Attached as PDF

2.  Unfortunately the car will not be ready for collection for another eight weeks, not least due to torrential rains and the flooding around Little Rock at the moment. Is that  OK ? OK

3.  Insurance :   Am I correct in thinking the overland hauliers include insurance against any and all damages in their existing quotes ?  With the agent that we use for this routing you would need to take out marine insurance,  there marine insurance covers the vehicle from the door in the US to unloading of the container in the UK

4.  And so, the optional insurance is to cover damages or loss : in the container ports, your depots, and at sea. Can you give me an indication of the cost of such insurance.?

5.  An overview of what that cover includes, and does not include, would be helpful.  Please advise the value of the vehicle

6.  And a question for your HMRC liaison.  Although left hand drive, the car I'm buying was first registered in 1965 in Coventry. Registration number DWK 741C.  Subsequently (unknown when because the original owner is deceased and the car has had three subsequent owners) the car was shipped (exported) to New York.  Do I still have to pay the 5% VAT ?  YES you will have to pay the 5%

7.  And if is this 5% VAT  on the value of the car itself,  or the value of the car with overland transport,  dockyard handling & admin, and shipping costs ?

See example of how the taxes are calculated

  • Vehicle Value =                 10,000 GBP
  • Freight (sea) =                         675 GBP
  • VAT Adjustment                     300 GBP     
  • Total                                      10,975 GBP
  • 5% VAT =                                  £ 548.75

8.  Will your agent require a Heritage Trust certification of the vehicle's factory dispatch place and date from me ? Our US agent will not need the heritage certificate,  however they will need the Title and bill of sale for the vehicle

9.  I presume Notice of Vehicle Arrival (NOVA) is still applicable to a UK registered car which was exported and is now returning. ?  YES

10.  Please advise what "Any customs inspections, either in origin, on route or at destination"  I might expect with your door to door service.  Customs could pull the container at any location along the way,  the charges will vary depending on what they are doing

11.  Please confirm there will be no Demurrage (Storage Charges) with your door to door service.  I cannot, if the container is pulled by customs then demurrage will apply  

12.  Are there any other costs I might incur ? if the title has the wrong vin for instance, a Title application would apply this can vary again

Thank you Jason for your kind assistance in these matter.

     

NB he replied within 2 hours of my asking these question.  Such prompt service is confidence inspiring. 

- - -

 

I wrote to thank him and found myself with a few more questions, which I've now asked him . .                                                                         30 May 2019 at 19:55

" Thanks Jason for your prompt reply.  That is confidence inspiring. ;) 

The concerns / answers are now pretty clear (I hope),  but just a few more questions at this time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              31 May 2019 at 13:05
1.   What is "VAT Adjustment " ?   is the figure the HMRC ask us to put in to the clearance screen,  this is for the currency fluctuation due to HMRC fixing the exchange for a calendar month

2.   "Please advise the value of the vehicle"   I'll be paying $ xxxx  (approximately £ yyyy) for the vehicle including its roof-rack and loose bits boxed inside the car.  However finding another at this price might prove nigh on impossible (..its an abandoned project that came to light through correspondence in a forum rather than an advert),  so I'd most likely prefer to insure it for a sensible 'replacement value' at £ zzzz.   However I'm wary that the import VAT might be reflected in its insured rather than the actual price I pay.  Can you clarify which is the case.?   Thanks

3.   Are there  'Act of God' get out clauses (I have visions of storms at sea,  or a lightening strike to a steel container) that an insurance company might use to avoid paying out.?
  There is clauses with all insurance companies regarding act of god,  however I can ask the insurance company for the full wordings

4.   Is there an insurance excess with sea-freight insurances ? $500

I appreciate your help with these queries -  Good service Sir.    

Peter  "

MOTOR VEHICLE CONDITIONS - FULL COVER :  Against all risks of physical loss or damage from any external cause from the time of pickup to destination port, excepting those risks excluded by the F. C. & S. and S. R. & C. C. warranties.   However, each claim shall further be subject to a deductible $500 of the total insured value.  This deductible shall not apply to claims for Total Loss or Constructive Total loss, General Average or Salvage Charges or claims recoverable under F.P.A. conditions.

Excluding : rust, oxidation, discoloration unless caused by direct contact with sea water.

 Excluding : loss of spare parts, tool kits, radios, tape players, CD players and the like unless lost with the complete vehicle.

 Excluding loss and/or damage arising from freezing of water in the radiator and/or cooling system.

 No cover whilst on tow or under own power, except whilst being towed or driven on or off the vessel, or into or from the container.

This insurance does not cover any loss or damage which at the time of happening of such loss or damage is insured by, or would, but for the existence of this policy, be insured by any other policy or policies except in respect of any other policy or polices had this insurance not been effected.

Should any claim arise for loss and/or damage to any part of the insured vehicle, the underwriters to be liable for the cost of repairing or replacing the parts lost and or damaged plus cost of re-forwarding such parts to destination if necessary.

Premium Cost -    £ 105.00

Documentation Fee £45.00

                   Total £ 150.00       (IN FULL)

- - -

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Panhard65 has experience of importing and shipping cars from the USA. You might like to ask him for some pointers and suggestions for shipping companies?

There is Ship My Car in Milton Keynes, but I don't know what they are like. Might be worth a look, though. Their website is here:

https://www.shipmycar.co.uk/about/

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Thank You both.  I have now sent an email to  'Ship my Car'  and will let you know how i get on.

For those interested I have also added replies to my subsequent questions in the post above - also shown in red as promptly answered by Jason of SeaKargo.

Bfg

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Ding :rolleyes:  I've had an idea !

As some of you might know I'm a BIG old giffer, and am about to buy this old Triumph TR sports.  And because I'm so flipping big, and getting less agile in me old age, and because said car is so low awkward to get into, especially with its top in place ..then I'm looking around for ideas.   Jumped in me old Chrysler the other day and adjusted the steering column (for motorway driving position rather than town).. and then it clicked :  Why not have an adjustable steering column in the TR ?   ..one that goes In n Out  (but doesn't wobble all about :P)  and also which tilts sharply.   That way I could tilt it up to aid my gravity bulge, bandy legs and size 13's when getting in and out, but then also be comfortable when driving.

So the existing steering column is one piece from the wheel to through the bulkhead, and then a double UJ coupling piece from there to the steering rack mounted in front of the engine.   

  PIC_0798.jpg

and although I don't know what I'm talking about .. I'm thinking something like this 

s-l1600.jpg

..with the Triumph switches and steering wheel spline grafted on.  

Can anyone advise which second-hand column I might best look out for.. it being particularly compact, reliable,  easily adapted, etc.  ?

Thanks.

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11 hours ago, Mally said:

Fits a Minor rack

just for clarification .. that's a Nissan Micra and a Morris Minor ?

Thanks.. I'll check em out on fleabay

. .  .

. .

just had a quick look.   oooow super compact, has tilt ..and it's got power steering too !    dat is sooo posh  :P    I like it !

s-l1600.jpg

excellentante..  I'll have to find a car to jump in and play with .. see if it does what I want it to..

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Looks like a promising suggestion.  I was going to suggest an easily removable steering wheel but, apart from the horrendously complex aircraft type 'wheels' fitted to F1 cars, I have not seen any advertised for normal cars.  I wonder if specialists that convert cars for disabled drivers might have suggestions.  Such drivers often have access problems.  Also, just thinking aloud (as if you can't tell 😀) , will current regulations interfere with your properly engineered modification by insisting on some form of inspection and approval?   

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" I wonder if specialists that convert cars for disabled drivers might have suggestions.  Such drivers often have access problems."

Good suggestion, and yes (aside from aids for wheelchair transfer) there are such things like these clip-on handles .

s-l300.png

There's also swivel seat cushions, and these straps (if you have something solid enough to clip it to).. 

s-l225.jpg

 

9 hours ago, RayMK said:

will current regulations interfere with your properly engineered modification by insisting on some form of inspection and approval?   

As far as I'm aware the DVLA would not be interested in such minor modification to an existing vehicle.  But the MOT inspector would of course check that the steering controls are appropriate.  If they are unsure - they should fail the car for road use ..in effect insisting on a more thorough inspection.  Of course, insurance company should know of any modifications made to any car. 

In reality this rarely happens., with owners covertly changing suspension spring rates and dampers (commonly on the later TR's changing from lever-arm to telescopic), ride height, changing to poly-bushes,  solid mounts for the steering rack,  changing the wheels and tyre ..sizes, their offsets and camber angles, etc.  And in the classic car world changing from steering box to rack & pinion.  Under the bonnet numerous changes are commonly made to enhance performance &/or bring things into line with modern practices.   Fuel systems (carburettors or fuel injection) and filters,  as well as under-bonnet and in-car electronics are fitted (radio interference in type approval terms). Inside ; seats are frequently changed and fitted to different runners / seat mounts. Under the car the exhausts are frequently changed and aluminium or other fabricated fuel tanks are used.  Usually such modifications are not carried out by trained* professionals*.   And often such changes happen over a number of years / vehicle owners.  But still - very few if any at all of these changes are type approved (for that vehicle) ..and yet every one of them can seriously effect the vehicle's operation and safety. 

Fortunately, most of those who do such modifications - then drive the car themselves and want to feel reasonably safe.  I'm sure many 'modified' and kit-cars end up not being used very much, then not at all, and subsequently junked..  simply because the driver didn't really trust their car.   So., innate self preservation is most probably the best safeguard the rest of us have to dangerously modified vehicles (car, pick-up trucks, motorcycles, etc).

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As far as I know the early Micra spline fits a Morris Minor rack,  I may be proved wrong. How this relates to a Triumph rack I'm not sure though..

Will MOT be required? How old is the Triumph, and presumably you can prove it?

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Brilliant.., just absolutely bloody brilliant ! 

Although not a member,  I was invited to the Essex branch meeting of the TR register club, held at the Alba pub,  Copford, near Colchester  last Thursady evening.  I had only met the one chap (Rich) once before but was made as welcome as any old friend might have hoped for.  BIG Thank You to all there.  I don't know exactly how many TR's were there but I believe there was a TR2, a TR3A, several TR4's,  two TR4A's (which is what I'm trying to buy) and then a couple of TR5's, perhaps half a dozen TR6's and just one TR8..

P1310779.thumb.JPG.57e0338b9b5b98de2c385d16eb88fec6.JPG

^ the little car sneaking into the photo’s background to the left is not a Triumph.  I can't imagine what sort of person drives one of those to a TR club meeting.! 

P1310784.thumb.JPG.316f19c89ccbf295ece67f91bb01766d.JPG

^  two TR5's parked along the road, and the equally gorgeous red car parked on the grass is a TR4A with Surrey hardtop fitted. When Rich introduced me to the owner, Mike, as being someone who was buying one,  he (Mike) looked up at my broad 6'-5" stature and simply said "you want to try it ?"   Well naturally I assumed he meant for me to sit in the car for size  "Thanks ..yes that would be great, I would.”   Then he handed me the keys and said something to the effect of "take her down the road then" !  ..and set about adjusting the driver’s seat as far back as it would for me.

Well to be honest I had a bit of difficulties getting in. Surprisingly, it wasn't a lack of headroom with the Surrey top on, but it was managing to get my legs and feet in. This car is fitted with Mazda MX5 shallow-bucket seats in leather.  In retrospect ; very comfortable and supportive, but these were limited by the runners not going back as far as they might have been.  The only way it was possible for me to get in was to exaggeratedly twist my knee under and the around the steering wheel ..fortunately a smaller diameter leather-rimmed one with a nice grip, but unfortunately with very shallow dish so it seems tighter to the dashboard. My leg had to fit between the wheel and the gearbox tunnel's H frame bracing ..and then to press the clutch fully to the floor as I lowered myself into the seat.  

There was no room in that car for me to slip my size-twelve brogues around the side of or under any pedal.  I grabbed and pulled my right knee up towards my chest to clear the relatively short sill.  It more easily unfolded again down around the wheel.  Once installed I could barely move.  Conversely, Mike slipped into the passenger seat as easily as if it were his favourite slippers.

My mind zapped with unspoken thoughts of whether it would be possible., let alone responsible for me to even try and drive this immaculate TR4A on a public highway.?  The sole of my right shoe was almost exactly the same width as the gap between the brake pedal and the outside face of foot well (Rhd car).  And to lift my foot off the clutch was to pull my thigh tight into the corner of H-frame and the dashboard.  Ok, it might just be possible to drive the car ..but what would happen in an emergency situation, would I be able to get a foot onto that brake. ?

I later discovered this car has a USB socket fitted just under the dash where my left leg needed to be.  Mike uses it for a digital ammeter, but for me it looses an inch or two of space into that corner.  My right foot would lift only as far as the pedal was off ..only by ankle movement. Thankfully the throttle movement is relatively short travel.  Still that amount of lift is just sufficient to then slip the foot sideways and across to the brake.

With the seat in that position, the steering wheel was possibly 12 - 14" off the Michelin tyre I wear ..so not exactly a straight-arm driving position for me.  And my right was tight against the padded-roll capping along the top of TR4A doors. I'm not sure Mike appreciated quite how tightly I was installed, but from his perspective I must have seemed like an old cloth sack over-filled with expanding foam. Looking on the bright side of things - I wasn't likely to slide about around corners. !

Here I was face to face with the TR4A's beautiful wooden dashboard and chrome rimmed 5" speedo and rev counter, each situated immediately in front of the driver, with minor instruments clustered central to the car with the black row of switches and ignition below.

With a blip of throttle, the motor burst into life. Two and a quarter litres of 4-cylinder long-stroke, and a slightly sporty camshaft - the orchestra was glorious.  The exhaust a nicely rounded tone, with a powerfully strong and discernible beat. Very nice indeed. 

It's been 25 years since I owned / drove a Triumph TR4 ..and momentarily I forgot about their fly-off handbrake. Nevertheless with that politely corrected I tried to smoothly (read : gently) Mike's immaculate car forward across the grass.  Of course most of the rest of the TR group gathering stood immediately behind us ..watching and listening.  With ankle movement only and it being an unfamiliar car I stalled it.  

“It likes a few revs” Mike reassured me.  Restarted (oh I do love the way these engines burst into life) and revs duly raised ..the car smoothly eased its way across the grass.  Remarkably controllable, easy and compliant, I followed Mike’s prompt and guided her down to the next driveway. Very tentatively I poked the car’s long bonnet out into the road so that I  might see around the row of parked cars, and then we were onto the road. 

I looked to where I was to go and depressed the volume control and we were there. No drama just a firm push of acceleration through the comfortable armchair ..and instant transportation. From where I looked to where I was, every straight and every corner, road positioning was faultless.  I wasn’t even thinking, the car just moved itself in an unprecedented manner - reassuring, precise, super quick, fabulous acoustics and yet extraordinarily comfortable. 

I’ve heard the impression “just think and it would take you there” ..but this was a just matter of looking ..without even time to consciously think, and we were conveyed.!  There was no hint of the car’s handling, chassis or rear axle being upset, nor of under or over-steering, nor brakes not doing exactly what they were meant to ..so progressively, despite the road’s undulations, adverse cambers and the sometimes increasingly tightening corners of this tiny little Suffolk back road to nowhere.  This car was utterly exhilarating.   

Now into my sixties, I’ve owned and otherwise driven a number of very nice motorcycles and cars.  In fact as a (very much) younger man I used to design, build and drive very quickly, sport cars with a super low c. of g. and a terrific power-to-weight ratio ..and then I moved on (?) to driving decent production cars. Most memorable / favourites were the 850 Norton Commando (motorcycle), the 1125cc MkII Spitfire (car), a 1000cc Mini Clubman, a 3.3ltr 7-series BMW, a 911 Porsche, and a few (now classic) Jaguars.  And of course I’m well enough versed with (..what used to be) modern cars of the 90’s and hereafter.  But somewhere along the line I’d lost the joy of driving.  I put this down to restrictive speed limits and traffic, boring motorways, and otherwise sub-conscientiously recognizing that I must have lost the touch in my old age.  But after driving Mike’s TR4A I instantly realized that its the cars which have most changed.  I’m still that same foolish young man inside this greying outer persona.

As a self made businessman I went up-market in the type of car I drove, and as technology and design moved on, the more modern car became so capable and yet so insular that the driver in me was designated passenger doing little more than avoiding other users and giving directions.  In truth these modern cars don’t handle and steer so very well as Mike’s 1960’s TR.  Indeed their lack of feedback, the roll and easily induced tyre squeal, and the vagueness of the steering and unsupportive seats necessitate you back-off to a safe and controllable, sensible place.  In terms of top speed, fuel economy, highway comfort, safety and reliable practicality, ingress and exit - they are a best compromise. But man ! ..they are also nanny state mind-numbingly soul less.

From my admittedly short drive, it seems to me that the TR4A can be all absorbing to drive, as you feel everything but the discomfort of vibration and nasty noises.  But that ‘feel’ is a direct feedback to the driver.  Each and every very slight nudge in the seat of your pants or to your leg, shoulder, or finger tip ..caused by road irregularities or change in direction triggers an instantaneous response of subtle correction to the steering &/or the throttle. There’s no thinking involved it’s purely interactive (although that’s probably too modern a word for it) ..but whatever the word is, there’s a connection to what’s going on at every instant. That’s not easy or relaxed driving, but it sure as hell is FUN.

And the car is not so powerful (..as some I have experienced) which toys with you for control. But still., it’s more than adequate for spirited driving, and it looks after you. It let’s you know what’s happening in a calm and collective manner, to trigger your reflex response. And that’s positively stimulating.

We returned to the Alma (public house) and the car very quietly sauntered across the grass, back to the TR party.  If she were a mare then I think she’d have given a last shake of her mane.  I can barely remember such a great drive.  I want one ..and I want to head out to find many, many miles of still-unspoilt roads. 

Getting out of the car seemed much easier than my getting in. And as I later pointed out to Rich, I was surprised that headroom and visibility were not an issue for me, even though the roof was in place.  First impressions were that the interior of the car was rattle free, pleasantly quiet of mechanical and/or wind noise and very comfortable, although I suspect I would have liked more room if I were to be stuck in a summer-hot traffic jam.   

Massive thanks to Mike for his generously allowing me to experience a superb TR4A from the driver’s seat.  It reaffirms my decision to own one.  Only now I’m a little less patient.!

 

But the story doesn’t end there.. 

Mike suggested I ask Rich if I might possibly sit in his equally gorgeous ’62 TR4, which is fitted with later (slightly deeper padded) seats ..by way of direct comparison of the seating positions and the fact that the roof was down.  Rich was engrossed in conversation but half an hour later cleared a cardboard box out from behind the driver’s seat and invited me to try it.

Phew, I was being blown away by these guys kindness to me ..almost a total stranger. As I approached the car he handed me the keys.  ..Again I could only have hoped to be allowed to sit in the car, to try it for size, but no..  he had placed the box on the passenger seat and encouraged me to take the car for a spin.  WOW !  on my own ?  “without you ?” accompanying me ?  I was anxious.  This was huge responsibility.

I soon settled into the driver’s seat. With its full size steering wheel it was even further a twisted knee to get my leg around the wheel but without a roof I could stand taller and with the seat being slightly further back (perhaps a couple of inches) ..overall ingress was much easier.  Without such things as the aforementioned USB port being fitted to the underside of the dashboard, I had more room to move. Not a lot but still an inch or two when there was none feels like liberation !

The right leg was similarly pulled in and unfolded down to the throttle, where I found half an inch clearance between the brake pedal and the side of the footwell - ample !  This seat was only a tiny bit further back than those on Mike’s car but every fraction of an inch helps.  Rich helped with the ignition key (a matter of knowing the technique) and then I started her up. 

What a difference !  ..the audio arrangement peaked to a brief crescendo of revs with the sharper tones of a stainless exhaust system. Throttle pickup seemed quicker but in truth I couldn’t say that was fact or just that it sounded so, with the louder tone and it being an open top.  It wasn’t at all offense a sound track, just a very different orchestra with more brass rather than bass guitar. 

First impressions of Mike’s TR4A was that the clutch was heavy to operate, but perhaps that was because of my being so tightly confined, because I never noticed it as soon as we were on the road.  Rich’s TR4 didn’t seem so from the outset.  I soon found reverse and eased the car out into the road.  Rear visibility wasn’t of course an issue but I was trying to pull out from between parked cars.  Someone kindly stepped out into the road to guide me, again I think that was Mike. Thank you Sir.  And then I was gone.. I had looked 200 yards down the road and I was there, spot on where I wanted to be ..correctly positioned to see further along the road.  It seemed like an instant and the thought crossed my mind that I might have seemed a bit reckless in someone else’s car, so I eased off.  

The feel of this car was different.  No better and no worse than the 4A  just very different. Perhaps that was because of it being open, the rasp of the exhaust note and the seemingly faster engine pick-up (both cars have lighten flywheels), or just because I felt more anxious about driving someone else superb-condition TR4 for the first time on my own.

An oncoming car sped around a corner and seemed very much over the middle of the road to me. The leather sleeve over this steering wheel moved a little as I responded, and then the branches of hedgerow trees seemed a little close.  I slowed a little to ‘be sensible’ ..but in truth I was a little too anxious to enjoy this drive as much as I had been with Mike’s quiet reassurance.  

Mike had been chatting as I drove his car, and I gathered by the tone in his voice that he wasn’t terrified.  But now I was driving Rich’s car and if something happened, even if that wasn’t directly my fault, then how the heck might I explain it.?  

Still it was great fun and exhilarating. Still it was great fun and exhilarating. Does this car have lighter handling,  or was the live rear axle not quite as surefooted on these undulating sometimes adversely cambered unclassified roads ?  Just a degree difference in the steering tracking adjustment can make such a difference.  My test drive was too short to ascertain what was what. The word, reputedly from the racing boys, is that the TR4 chassis is better when pushed hard.  Perhaps the 4A’s IRS is more forgiving for the novice ..but in skilled hands - has its limits.?  Conversely I might just have felt a bit more vulnerable in an open top.?  Although I ride motorcycles, I’m trying to remember when I last drove an open top car ?  Many years ago it seems.

Certainly Rich’s TR4 was more spacious ..both physically and visually airy (white dashboard ..which I do like) ..and equally as comfortable as the 4A.  So I relaxed a little and enjoyed the drive and this engine’s superb response.  I felt an instant rapport with Mike’s 4A but perhaps the TR4 takes a little more getting used, or was it that by now I was just thinking too much, and felt someone else’s car in this sort of condition was too precious to really enjoy ?

I returned in a civilized manner and easily turned in to park.  The engine ticked over beautifully before I switched off.  The handbrake lever in the foot well was (again surprisingly) not an issue for my long legs, and its operation felt perfectly natural to me. I lifted myself out of the car with ease.  With the seat runners just 2” further back then I don’t think I’ll have serious issues with living with a TR, but the full-size banjo steering wheel, even though I prefer its look - feels less responsive to drive with. It is easier for tight parking-speed maneuvers, though.

All in all - each car is BLOODY FANTASTIC !  ..no doubt it is the car I want.  I’m of a freakish size but even with inappropriately wide shoes and restrictive seat runner positions I can drive these cars safely and have more fun than I’ve had (when driving) for very many years.

As and when I get my car (which is an abandoned-project 4A)  I can make things easier for ingress and getting out :  the size and dish of the steering wheel, the padded capping on the door, the choice of seat and its runners, clearing the underside of the dashboard, the door handles positions, and the pedal spacing., are the most obvious.  All in all the TR is a seat-of-the-pants sports car which is so incredibly capable.  My Jaguars were elegant, comfortable, fast and sublime ..but the TR4 / 4A communicates directly with me ..and is just so much fun.

Massive thanks to both Rich and Mike for letting me experience their fabulous cars in person. My own car will never be as pristine (..nor so precious) as theirs, but I would hope to achieve similar mechanical competence as their cars amply demonstrated.    

I'm smitten !

Bfg

 

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A lovely write-up of a wonderfully unexpected experience, thanks to the trust the owners had in you and their cars.  Here's to continuing good luck in your herding of your project back from the USA.

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Not a whole lot to report, but the deal hasn't fallen through yet.  The seller just has just had a tough year with his wife's fall, followed by floods n' storms, and then also working sixteen hours a day, and having kids who can't fix their own cars etc.  Bottom line is that he hasn't yet prepared the project TR4 for shipping and as anticipated the £ is devaluing.   But as I can't find better at the price, and I cannot afford more - then I'll just have to be patient ..and hopeful !

Still, I'm keen and have spent many a happy hour learning much about the TR's and also exploring prospects of (day-dreaming) what I might do with such a car (..modifications to help accommodate my 6'5", and at the same time to stiffen the car's chassis a little, etc). 

But this post is really just to advise anyone interested in Triumphs (cars) of all models age and condition that there's a big  " Inter-club Triumph Weekend " event this coming weekend  at  Stratford-upon-Avon Racecourse.  Celebrating 60 years of the Herald and 50 years of the TR6.   It should be a good event.

My own plan is to go across for Friday afternoon (rain expected) and to camp there for the weekend (Saturday 40% chance of rain ..likewise Sunday afternoon.). 

Pete.  

.

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..I've just had a great weekend at Stratford-upon-Avon for the Triumph inter-club meeting. 

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It was something else ..with Triumphs as far as one could see.  With the TSSC together with the TR Register there was lots of interesting cars to see and keen owners to share their knowledge and enthusiasm, and then of course ten times as many non-standard  'personal touches' ..as one massive 'spot-the-difference' game.

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Despite the weather forecasts for a wet weekend - it turned out breezy but otherwise good weather on Saturday and Sunday.  ^ This photos was taken on Saturday during the 'Pride of Ownership' competition, not realising the absolutely gorgeous familiar midnight-blue TR4A which had caught my eye had a registration number to me as a club member who uses his car frequently for touring.

Just last week he and his wife were traveling around Ireland accompanied by a TR4.  So personally (..as a non-participant in this years event myself !) ..and bearing in mind how that car gets around a bit and is obviously just so very much enjoyed - I was delighted to see it taking 1st Place in that competition.  That was a truly a sterling-silver achievement with so many cars entering and of all different Triumph models.

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However, it was equally as wonderful to wander around the camping site to quietly chat to owners and to see what delights they had brought out to show us..  ^ This piccie shows a Triumph Herald, three Peerless, a Vitesse and a Stag.  The Peerless was TR3 based.   Another low volume coachbuilt sports car was the Doretti, based on the TR2 power train and chassis (below).

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^ Sunday was less packed but being the 50th anniversary of the TR6 there was a fabulous turnout of that model, and then I was astounded by how many TR5 and 250's I saw over the weekend. I'd never imagined so many had survived and were cherished. I'm old enough to remember the day when nobody wanted such "gas-guzzlers" !

Being a prior owner of a daily driver TR3 - I'm a big ban fan of TR2 and 3 cars, so i spent quite a while looking and taking photos of those.  And then again because I'd restored a TR4 (in the early 90's) ..and am still keen to buy 'Chance' - a fair amount of my interests was focused on the TR4 and 4A models too.

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^ This event also celebrated the Triumph Herald's 60th anniversary, and again as a prior owner, and also a member of the TSSC and having a friend with a Herald estate, I was delighted to see those in abundance. I could easily envisage having a Herald estate (station wagon) as a nice & practical town car and the 4A for spirited cross-country jaunts and touring.   Similarly the Triumph 2000 / 2.5 estates always catch my eye, and whenever I see Triumph Stags - I think back to my dear old Mum, who I think was quite disappointed when I bought a '64 Daimler 2.5 instead of the Stag (always a favourite style for her).

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A few oldies of the Standard and Vanguard marque were a welcome sight and the 1948 motor-show Triumph (?) roadster was there too, with features reminiscent of a post-war Frazer Nash but very much more bulbous a car.  The body is all alloy so I guess not very heavy (and despite not having been restored looks to be in really good condition)  Its headlamps have pop open covers (think Lotus elan and you'll get the picture of how the covers look when closed) and the car also include many hydraulically operated features including its hood (soft top).  This is a fascinating vehicle and snapshot of the era in car design trends in response to 'Export or Die'  British post-war politics and steel rationing, is looking for a kindly benefactor-enthusiast to restore it.

There was so much to see for a returnee to the Triumph marque (after my having been away for many years) and so I had a great show.

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^ TR4 with slightly later-period performance and other enhancements.  TriumphTune followed on from SAH ..which would have been correct for the early to mid sixties. 

As for my own self..  Well, I camped next to the very gentlemanly Yoop Van Liempt (a Dutchman) and his dearest wife Connie ..who have been frequent visitors to international TR events over the past 20 years.  I understand Yoop has some 40 cars including a collection of TR's 2 through to TR7 models and a Stag. all in very nice original specification condition.  We spent a very pleasant time sitting in our garden chairs drinking coffee and watching the many and varied Triumphs parade passed us into and out of the main arena field.

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^ the now mega valuable and always gorgeous Triumph Italia.

Talking of mega amounts of money ..I spread a little wealth around the various auto-jumblers.  I'm well-pleased with what I bought - a pair of black with whit(ish) piping TR4A seats and their runners for £40,  and a brand-new aluminium rocker-cover at half price - for £55  ..Both of course for 'Chance'.  I also picked up an instrument panel from a TR3 for £10.  More about plans for that at another time.

My faithful 228-thousand-mile Chrysler Voyager LWB served again as both economical / reliable transport, camper and kitchen,  so with £32 entrance fee for the weekend and £10 for 2-nights camping - it was a cheap weekend (..my annual holiday this year).

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I left soon after 3pm on the Sunday.  Even so on the return from Stratford to Suffolk  I stop-started passed the M1 roadworks at a slug's pace,  rather than go around the A14 roadworks and Cambridge at a snail's pace.   On-route via Stotfold in Hertfordshire I stopped to pick up a TR3 gearbox cover in steel, which I want to use on my car ..to help stiffen its body tub up.

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Aside from the motorway the drive across country to home was great. Perhaps a little fast ..but fun and "only to the speed limit Officer" as a golden sunset illuminated the fields all around me.  Autumn is fast on the way.

I arrived home soon after 9pm, so thanks to the roadwork : 6-hours for a 160mile trip.  And to think we actually pay good wages to civil servants to manage our road network.!   It's not as if roads are a new thing in this country.  I'm sure 2000 years ago or thereabouts the Romans popped across here for a week or two and built the Fosse Way. That's a decent road which for all its years - has probably had less roadworks than the M1.  Or perhaps we should just get rid of our civil servants, concede to being European, and invite the Germans to replace our motorways with Autobahns  [ end of gripe ].

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Anyways up.,  I could babble on and on,  show dozens of photos of car details and deviations from 'standard'',  but I'll not bore you with that at this time.

All in all an excellent a gathering of Triumphs  ..sorry you missed it

Pete

p.s.  Friday was heavy drizzle (rain) all afternoon, and I was camping there. So, bearing in mind I'm a towering 6' 5", I'm broad and have a short but scruffy greying beard.  I strode into the marquee which was the beer tent..  from the dark and literally dripping-wet, dressed in my summer clothes befitting that evening's British weather ..ie. size 13 wellington boots,  a XXXXL sized dark brown cape-like waxed cotton Driza-Bone full length coat,  and a flat wide-brimmed waterproof hat ..of a style not dissimilar to that of the witch-hunter general  ..and this guy just looked up at me and froze ..so I walked straight faced in his direction, then I lent over the top of him and quietly asked him in a low gruff voice  "Have you seen where I left my chain saw.? "    His eyes visibly went round, jaw dropped, and his complexion drained to pale grey.  I solemnly walked away ..leaving his mates (sitting around the other side of the table) cracked up with laughter.

 

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- - -

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