Patrick Fox 1970 TR6

I bought the 1970 TR-6 in September of 2014 from the original owner who bought it in Spain while serving in the USAF. My wife and I both thought that the car, though rough in many ways, had probably been well taken care of by the long time owner. As it turned out, that was not to be the case. In the course of four years, I spent countless hours and dollars replacing worn out and jury-rigged parts and pieces of the car. I should have paid attention when I asked the owner what the strange contraption was mounted in front of the crank where the engine fan would normally be. When he said "That is the reason you will probably not buy this car" I should have gotten his explanation and walked away. Alas, I did not. The contraption was a welded frame with a throwout bearing mounted in front of the crankshaft. The owner explained that the thrust washers had dropped out and this device allowed him to drive the car without destroying the crankshaft!

That episode should have prepared me for 4 years of surprises but, I guess even at 66 years old, I was more than a little naive. There was a fairly good 4 speed transmission in the car, however, the car came with an overdrive transmission and a 4.11 rear end. Without the overdrive, it was very challenging taking that car on the highway. My first major project was installing a Toyota 5 speed transmission in the car using the HVDA Toyota modification kit. After talking to Herman van den Akker and getting some good advice I got the job done over the course of several weeks in a very tight garage. The transmission I got ended up having an electronic rather than a mechanical speedometer so I decided to replace all of the Lucas gauges when installing a new electronic speedometer. Of course the previous owner had made the oak dash himself and, though it looked pretty good, it was too thick to allow a proper installation of the new gauges. A new mahogany dash panel was ordered to correct that issue and eventually the Toyota modification solved my highway cruising woes.

The following year, I decided to drop the pan and look at the issues with the thrust washers that the owner had identified. I did so, found the washers in the sump and also replaced the main bearings and oil pump while in there. New thrust washers were fitted and everything was bolted back together. The washers stayed in place for less than 1,000 miles and fell out as I was rounding a corner in second gear, stalling the engine and scaring the living heck out of me! Upon dropping the pan again and closely examining the surface of the crankshaft and the block, it was evident that the block was chamfered where it should have been flat and that was why the thrust washers were not staying in. I tried another set of thrust washers and drove the car very carefully but lost them at 200 miles. Time to think about replacing the engine.

Changing an engine requires a lot more space than I had in my two car garage area so I somehow convinced my wife to buy a 12 x 24 portable Lark shed that I placed in the yard at the end of my driveway. I then built a ramp into the shed, insulated the entire interior, and put plywood up on the walls and ceilings. With the great assistance of my cousin's husband (an ex VW dealership mechanic) we were able to pull the engine out and get a rebuilt one installed. The engine that was in the car (150 PSI of compression!) would ping even running 93 octane and this new one, purchased from Coventry Motors in Phoenix, AZ, ran stronger and better on 87 octane.

When I finally thought most of the mechanical issues were resolved, I decided to take a shot at replacing the rocker panels which "appeared" to be the only real body issue that the car had. I soon found out that, while I am a semi competent mechanic, I am probably never going to by a body man. Recognizing my shortcomings, I took the car to Drop Dead Customs in Titusville, FL, where the owner gave it the once over and estimated that $12,000 would fix the rocker panels and get me a very high quality paint job (the original owner had painted the car several times in his backyard and it looked good from a distance). That odyssey started in early November of 2018 and continued through late February 2019. I grew to dread my phone displaying Drop Dead Customs on an incoming call. Every one of those calls, and there were many, seemed to cost me at least $1500. Charlie, the owner of Drop Dead, began to think that my wife hated him (not true) but the curses he had for the previous owner were real. He found piles of resin poured into cavities of the fenders, the doors and finally, on the hood (which I thought was going to be fine). At the front edge of the hood, he found over 1/4" thick resin across the hood. Charlie said the hood weighed almost twice what it should have there was so much resin on it! I was lucky enough to find a local guy parting out a 74 TR-6 and got the hood and latching assembly for $500 (previous owner had cut a hole in the old hood to disengage the latch when the cable broke, he then installed a hood latch from a Volvo with the release in the right front wheel fender well).

I would say, with the body work finally done and all the thousands I have put into the car over 4 1/2 years, I probably have the most expensive TR-6 in FL. It does look very, very good and I will probably never sell it but I need to work on getting the triple carb setup working right and I am thinking seriously about converting to the Mikuni carbs. At this stage of the game, what is another $2,000?