It was enjoyable visiting with you yesterday in KC. Here is some added information on what has become an epic car project as well as an ongoing epic road trip.
The Triumph began as a basket case that my son found advertised as an unfinished project. The previous owner had the car for 9 years with little progress made. The best we know, the owner before that had it for 8 or 10 years, building the engine and doing some high quality metal work on the body tub floor pans. It was (to the best of our knowledge, based on the documentation that came with the project……) last licensed in Illinois in 1983…..
We started in 2006……..
Improvements came in fits and starts, as time and money allowed, and as life’s ever changing events unfolded. Sometimes the car would sit untouched for months…..sometimes it became an all consuming effort…….sometimes it was love……sometimes it was therapy in some of life's darkest times…..through it all, it revolved around road trips to come…..
Throughout, two dreams were a constant……one, the first major road trip would be with my youngest son, from the mid-west to Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico……and the second major road trip would be to North West Canada, to take a picture of my oldest son and I at the Artic Circle…..
The TR went on the road the first week of March, 2014, and the trip to Carlsbad Caverns has been realized! Just over two weeks of summer travel, 3500 miles, with my son Ben, including stops at Mesa Verde, Colorado, and many other National and State Parks in New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado…...the Artic Circle should happen in the next couple of years….
In the almost 7 months the TR has been on the road, over 15,000 miles have been registered on the odometer (…….we built the car to drive, and hope to continue to rack up the miles…..) It is not a show car, it is not a trailer queen, but rather a “stock on the outside, highly modified under the skin, serious road machine…..”
Here is a listing of some (perhaps not all…..) of the changes and improvements that have been incorporated:
TR4A Engine with 86mm pistons, hardened valve seats and stainless steel exhaust valves, thirteen row oil cooler with inline oil thermostat, 6 vane water pump, electric fuel pump powered through an oil pressure sensor(for safety reason) and multiple fuel filters, carb heat shield, 55 amp alternator, high torque gear reduction starter motor, dash vacuum gauge, HVDA transmission adaptor with hydraulic annular clutch throw out assembly, through a TR6 diaphram sytle clutch, putting power into a mid-1980’s Toyota five speed transmission…..
The front suspension and steering is as follows: rack and pinion steering conversion(based on a 2009 Mini-Cooper steering rack), TR4 upper wishbones, TR4 upper ball joints, 1 1/2 degree negative caster Vertical Links, TR4 3 degree camber Trunnions, poly bushings, upgraded front stub axles with spacers for zero play front bearings, and four piston brake calipers sourced from a 1980 four wheel drive Toyota pick up truck (direct bolt on using TR6 mounting bolts…..)
Bronze bushings with delrin spacers at the rear leaf springs is all that has been done to the rear suspension, but perhaps this winter the lever arm shocks will be replaced with a modern shock conversion kit……
60 spoke wire wheels with Firestone Radials keep it on the ground….
All metal was stripped bare, beaten on and hammered on, to the point that minimal filler was used. This was followed by several coats of epoxy primer and several coats of old school paint, wet sanded and buffed until it looked presentable…..all in a home garage home made spray booth….the passenger compartment and firewall has been 100% lined with dynamat for sound and vibration dampening…..
Electrically, no Lucas parts and pieces remain, and the electrical system was based on a book given to me by my younger brother……”How to Wire Your Homebuilt Experimental Aircraft”….needless to say, grounding will never be an issue with multiple ground blocks throughout the car…..all high current devices feed through relays…..and there are two fuse blocks, one hot all the time, and one fed through the ignition switch and through a relay, to provide power only when the key is on….interior lighting has been added and is an ongoing project…..including underhood lighting and trunk lighting…..
As I tell folks, this Triumph TR3 is a testament to perseverance……many years and much effort…..with the rewards being a classic daily driver to enjoy with family and friends……there are many roads ahead, hopefully over many years to come…..
I hope this helps tell the story of a basket case becoming a road warrior…….and how the love of one’s children and the love of old British cars (and lots and lots of perseverance) can be an incredible journey…..
John B. Perry