Beginning in the 1970s, I have owned many old British Sports cars. This collection included two Austin Healy 3000 MKIIIs, a 1965 Series 1, Jaguar Type
E Fixed Head Coupe, a Sunbeam Alpine, an Austin Healy Sprite and three TR4s. The TRs were always my favorite cars.
There was a period from 1985 to 1998 when I did not have one of these odd little cars. With the coming of the internet, I thought it might be interesting to search for one that
was very special.
I started searching for a car that would be unusual enough to be worthwhile, yet easy to repair and find
parts for. I started searching for a Triumph TR4 with the three main option groups. Surrey Top, Chrome Wire Wheels, and the Electric Over-Drive.
Amazingly, I found such a car for sale in the small Virginia town of Farmville. This was located about 1.5 hours
west of Richmond. When
I called the fellow who owned it, he gave me the history of the car, as he knew it and it sounded just what I was looking
for. I made arrangements to fly down on the Friday before Thanksgiving, 1998
and check it out that weekend.
I arrived on Saturday morning;
he threw me the keys and said, "Bring it back in a few hours.” It was a
cool crisp fall day with nary a cloud in the sky, so I took it out into the astounding rural and historic Virginia countryside for an extended run.
I actually came upon a "history trail”. The route Confederate General Lee took in his
last retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox.
That was memorable trip. Cruising in central Virginia
in an old TR on the route that the remnants of the Confederate Army followed and stopping to read all the markers made
for a memorable afternoon.
The car ran very well, but was repainted sometime in the 1970s into a hideous royal blue that was now faded
and chalky. I checked-over the car looking for rust, but there didn't seem
to be a lot and everything seemed to work so I made a deal with the owner and told him that I'd be back in a couple
of weeks to trailer it back to Western Mass.
As promised, my friend and I showed up with his new F-350 diesel pickup and trailered the TR back in one
marathon 20 hour run. Once back, I sorted out what needed to be done.
I intended this car to be a 'daily driver' and did not want to invest much time and treasure in an 'off
the frame' restoration. I did want to arrest any rust however, so it went into
the body shop under the directions to remove every body panel, strip all paint, look for rust and throw away any rusted components.
They were then to re-prime the metal, paint in the original recipe of Triumph Racing Green (this recipe
was found on the internet), replace all chrome and all rubber trim. After disassembly,
they did find one rusted fender and one rusted rocker panel--that is all.