Edwin Fenollal Negron's 1976 Triumph Spitfire
Full Restoration; Pleasant and Safe Drive... in a Paradise called Puerto Rico
I am a “freak” of the eBay store, buying a lot of stuff for my home, garden, camera, stereo system, car spare parts, you name it, everything. Nevertheless, I never imagined that I was going to be able to purchase a vintage car from the eBay auction process. I was extremely nervous to purchase something “old” by just viewing photos on the computer, especially those carefully taken by owners to show the beautiful side but not the “ugly” one.
Being far away from where the car was being sold (Kentucky, USA) made me unable to examine/inspect the car, especially for rusty areas. Therefore, I followed my instinctive thinking and entered the auction process.
The day when the auction ended, I woke up very early and ran to the computer, making sure that I was going to win the car. I left my finger over the “enter” key during the last minute of the auction. I jumped from the chair when the clock ticked zero; I won it! The car owner called me immediately after, asking about the shipping procedures to Puerto Rico. At that point, I had no idea, not even a clue of such procedure. Keeping a close communication, we found the links and carriers to proceed.
Releasing and driving the vehicle from the port area was another challenge due to heavy traffic of trucks, containers and cranes. Driving this tiny “thing” there was a little bit scary. Convincing my wife, who was so skeptical of my recent purchase, took me a while but it did not stop me from doing a complete car restoration/enhancement. I neither underestimated nor minimized any effort in this restoration process, since I wanted full reliability while driving a vintage car on the island roads. Therefore, we took care of every single vehicle detail from corner to corner. Fortunately, I found a technician who has been more than a car mechanic, he is my friend. We did the restoration at my home garage (my wife was still not very happy!). Victoria British was my main source of restoration parts. The restoration process included, but was not limited to, the following:
• Trunk panels and trunk carpeting
• Luggage rack
• Rear axle joints, bearings, oil seals and gaskets, shock absorbers
• Transmission gaskets, clutch, clutch disc, bearings and oil seal
• Front axle joints, cross drill rotors, stainless steel braided brake lines, links, rubber boats, bearings, shock absorbers, ball bearings
• Engine bearings (main and rod), crankshaft grinding, rings, gaskets, oil seals, oil pump, water seals, cam sprocket, timing chain and tensioner, performance valves, performance springs, performance camshaft, lifters, roller rocker shaft, electric fuel pump, electronic ignition, water pump, Weber carburetor and snorkel, exhaust headers, oil cooler, stainless steel radiator, electric cooling fans, chromed generator, chromed valve cover and stainless steel gas, water and air lines
• All electrical components such as fuses boxes, relays, flashers, etc, were relocated to car interior.
• Car painted including chassis and engine interior. All rubber gaskets were replaced.
• Interior flooring carpet and door panels were replaced. Racing seats installed, as well as car radio and sound system. Stainless steel roll bars fabricated and installed.
• Tires and rims replaced.
The restoration process took almost a year, but I am very proud now of the final result. I’m also very pleased knowing that the car was fully restored by dedicated local guys living in the mountains of this great island. Now, I have joined the PR British Car Club and my wife always accompanies me during car shows and club “chinchorreos,” which is a native word to denote a fun ride stopping in small beverage and local food stores, where we share stories with the rest of club members. The beautiful island country roads, friendly and humble people, and the sunny weather help you to collect unforgettable moments and memoirs.
This story is proudly presented by a happy owner and enchanted wife from the mountains of my lovely Puerto Rico.