Mike Sportsman's 1973 Triumph TR6
The attached photos are of my 1973 Triumph TR6. I bought it about five years ago thinking it was in good shape. I could not have been more wrong. Basically, everything from the fan shroud to the tail pipe was either worn out, damaged or just missing. Driving the car just once told me that I had been had. The car lurched, clanked, sputtered, smoked and required the strength of the Hulk to turn the steering wheel or to put in the clutch. It had the original red stripe tires, all of which were firmly hardened, except for the one that was flat the morning after I bought it. On top of it all, it was painted a non-standard, peeling, obscene color of blue that does not exist in nature. I locked the car up in a storage facility for a year or so to allow me time to kick myself several times and to lick my wounds.
Some time later, I decided if I intended to drive the thing, I needed to have the transmission overhauled, the broken engine mounts repaired or replaced and the tires replaced. I found a guy to do this, and afterwards, one evening, I had parked it in the lot at our local hardware superstore. When I came out, there were people standing around the car, and I realized that a large truck that had been next to me when I had arrived had pulled forward to leave, and in the turning process his rear duals had run over the hood of the car, destroying the entire front end. Fortunately, bystanders had seen this happen and had gotten a license plate number from the truck as it was leaving the scene of the accident. (At least one of them also asked me why my car was such an ugly color.) This is when I decided it was time to either repair or get rid of the car for parts. I decided to have the car towed to Craig Vaughan’s Foreign Car Enterprise, commonly known as the best mechanic shop and restorer of British autos in the Kansas City area, for his analysis.
Seeing no rust and a clean, straight frame, Craig and his team recommended a frame-up restoration and began dismantling the entire car with the plan to replace, repair or reinstall nearly every aspect of it. We started by completely overhauling the tired old engine with new bearings, rods, pistons, rings, camshaft, valves, lifters and seals, replacing the differential gears and wheel hubs, and installing a new exhaust system. (The old one was rotted.) Craig enlisted his body team to straighten and align the entire body, which still bore the scars of an earlier undisclosed wreck. They replaced a front inner fender, both front fenders, fascia, bumper and hood. They also put me to work restoring/refinishing the wood dash, gauges, front and rear lamps, various frame supports, door and seat hardware, horns, trunk and interior.
There were lots of ups and downs and the work took about seven months, but the result is a beautiful BRG finish, a straight body, fresh rubber seals wherever needed, a new dash and everything dependable and running correctly. I drive the car in the area on nice days, and I get the occasional positive comment from guys of my generation, or the more common, “Whoa, dude, what is that thing?” from younger observers. But I don’t drive it to the hardware store any more.
Hats off to Craig “the genius” Vaughan, “Junior” the ace welder, Terry the body “wizard,” and “Inspector Number Nine” (“it isn’t done till I say it’s done”) at Foreign Car for making a good silk purse out of what was a real sow’s ear!