My Triumph Story…..
As a child I moved around a lot following my father’s various job assignments. At age 5(this would’ve been 1985), I moved from Greenville, SC to Portland, OR. After moving to the west coast, I would travel back home to SC every summer to spend several weeks at a time with my grandparents. My grandfather was a very interesting man to say the least. He always had several vehicles but I was always interested in was his 1962 Triumph TR3. British Racing Green and in complete and restored condition, the car was absolutely beautiful. As a small Child I would climb all over this car and pretend to drive and imagine what it would be like to cruise down the road with the top down and the wind in my hair. As I got older this dream my never dulled and I was always told that when he passed away the car would be left to me.
As time went on, my grandfather’s health steadily declined. Sometime in the late 1990’s he developed Melanoma and had to have most of the muscle taken out of his right shoulder. This procedure prolonged his life for 10 years. Unfortunately this procedure also took some life out of the Triumph as he could no longer drive the TR3 having to shift the gearbox. Around the same time, my grandmother remodeled the attached garage accommodate a new laundry room; which subsequently meant the TR3 was relocated outside under a car cover.
More time went by and my Grandfather lost interest in maintaining the car (he was unable to enjoy driving it anymore) the car sat idle outside and it eventually stopped running. During my summer visits, I would tinker with the car and make futile attempts to get the car running. (I was 20 years old and by no means a mechanic). I succeeded a few times getting the car running but it wouldn’t stay in running shape for long. By the time I would return the following summer, the car would be back in the same or worse condition. I would beg and plea with my grandfather to take better care of the car and get it back inside somehow, but my pleas fell on deaf ears.
I lost my Grandfather in 2009 after a prolonged illness and as promised, the TR3 was left to me in his will. Unfortunately by this point the car had been sitting outside idle for over 10 years, the weather had taken its toll on the TR3. The paint looked worn and weathered and the tires are dry-rotted. Must of the steel parts have a healthy layer of surface rust. Not having the funds or the time to start a restoration project, I put the car into storage.
It’s now 2015; I’m 35 years old and have 2 children of my own. Recently my car storage situation changed and I was forced to go get the Triumph and tow it to my house. It sits in my driveway under a cover as I don’t have a garage or shop to keep it in. I have been forced to look at this beautiful car in deplorable shape every time I get in my SUV to leave or go to work and it’s been driving me crazy. I’ve decided that the Triumph has sat idle for long enough. I am mostly self-taught on most things, why should working on the Triumph be any different. I’ve started to research to mechanics of the TR3, I purchased a Haynes manual and downloaded the dealer’s service manual. I’ve watched countless hours of YouTube videos on all things TR3 related. I decided to work on the mechanics of the car as the body and frame are still in fairly good shape. Up to this point I’ve completed tear down of the old parts and have purchased most of the needed replacement parts. The work on the car has been somewhat slow, but I complete a little at a time and have tried not to hurry thru anything. I watch my young daughters climb all over the car and pretend to drive and it always takes me back 30 years. It’s been so awesome to work on my dream car, I think of my grandfather often while I’m working on it and wish that he was around to see it run again. I hope to have the Triumph back on the road by the 4th of July!