James TenCate 1980 TR8

Back when I was in school in Austin, Texas I had managed to scrape together enough money to get the air conditioner repaired on my TR8. I was pretty pleased with how well it worked and with temperatures nearing 100°F every day that August. I was looking forward to using the air conditioning frequently. Occasionally, I'd cruise around with the top down (because I had to look cool) and would use the air conditioner to chill myself when the baking sun got too unbearable.

I cruised up to a light one steamy afternoon, top down---the A/C keeping me comfortably cool---when I noticed the girl in the Nissan next to me eyeing the car. I caught her eye looking the car over and smiled, she smiled back and JUST at that very moment the engine exploded, right there at the traffic light. It was truly a magnificent event, steamy clouds of stuff billowing up from under the hood. The girl looked horrified, and drove straight ahead as soon the light turned green, eyes locked on the road ahead and moving away from me and the venting TR8 as fast as traffic allowed. I've never felt so many staring eyes on me and my poor Triumph. Embarrassed beyond belief I limped the car into the nearest parking lot and looked under the hood. The A/C shop had used the wrong superheat switch (English vs metric) and the switch had chosen that exact moment to blow out and vent all that precious R-12 into the atmosphere in one fabulous embarrassing FWOOOM!

Photo caption: Photo of the car in Austin TX, around 1988, 108 degrees in the shade! This car was one of the first images of the TR8 to appear on the internet back then.