Wednesday, 4 October 2017

1970 Triumph 1300 fwd

Wow, it is five years since I last wrote anything on here. I suppose there hasn't been much to say. The Triumphs haven't been used as much as I would like and they haven't required any major work.
The weather hasn't been great for the last three summers, which doesn't encourage me to take the old cars out. The TR3 lives in the garage next to the house and my other two Triumphs are kept in a rented barn on a nearby farm.

I moved the Herald to the farm from a rented lock-up in a bid to save some cash, but the barn isn't as clean as the lock up and has a resident population on pigeons. It was nice having space to work on the car and the use of the farm workshop, so I made progress, fitting a reconditioned radiator and painting various components.

The paint on the Toledo is very faded and almost porous, which means I really don't like taking it out in the rain! I kept it off the road for a couple of years, but once it was eligible for Historic Status and therefore no road tax, I MOTed it and is has been road-legal for a couple of years.

A few months ago, I thought that I should either repaint the Toledo, or change it for a car with decent paint that I can drive in all weather. I have been longing for another front wheel drive, so searched the internet for Triumph 1300s for sale. There were quite a few available, varying from complete wrecks to immaculate cars. Eventually, I decided on a car to bid on and managed to get it for its reserve price.
"Betsy" has had two previous owners. Her first owner kept her until 2008 when he stopped driving. She was then bought by Dave, who did some work to get her running again and had her painted a couple of years ago to use for his son's wedding. I was assured that there was no rust on the car when it was re-painted and that the car would drive anywhere. However, the day before I was due to pick her up, I received a phone call from the seller telling me that there was a new oil leak from the timing cover seal, so the car wouldn't be available for a few days. A few days later I received another call telling me that the leak was actually from the timing chain cover, so I would have to wait for that to be repaired.

By that time, we were about to go on our summer holiday, so I wasn't able to pick up the car until a month after I had bought it! When I arrived at the station I discovered that the seller was Dave, but the car had been listed by his friend, also called Dave! This explained my confusion with some of the answers I had received about the car!

The car generally seems very straight and solid, but Dave, the seller, told me that there were a couple of areas of rust before the car was painted.

The journey home didn't go quite as expected. 62 miles into the 250 mile journey the car spluttered to a stop. I suspected a fuel issue but elected to call the breakdown company. They arrived an hour later and said that if it was dirt in the fuel line they couldn't guarantee they could resolve the problem, so elected to recover the car on the back of their truck. At least this saved some petrol and wear and tear!
The following day I blew back down the fuel line and managed to get the fuel flowing again. So first job on the to-do list will be to take the tank out and give it a clean. I have found quite a few other tasks to add to the list, which I will talk about in a future post.

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Club Triumph Round Britain Reliability Run

There hasn't been much happening with my Triumphs for a while. Just routine maintenance and not enough driving, mostly due to the terrible weather we seem to be having these day!

I thought it was time I posted something, so here are some pictures of the cars competing on Club Triumph's Round Britain Regularity Run 2012. They started on Friday afternoon and 430 miles later, on Saturday morning between 1.00am and 3.30am, they arrived at Edinburgh Airport. I have marshaled for the last three events and really enjoy seeing the teams arrive, full of excitement and adrenalin! This year there were 96 Triumphs taking part.

I was back home and in my bed by about 4.30. Later this morning they were at John o'Groats and at about 6 o'clock this evening they were crossing the border back into England. Tonight they will be driving through the mountains of Wales and then on to Land's End. By tomorrow afternoon they will have returned to London after 48 hours and 2020 miles. They must be crazy!!

There was a great variety of cars taking part from Heralds and 1300s to TRs. Some of the cars were in immaculate condition while others were a little more "used" looking. Triumph 2000 and 2500 saloons seemed to be a very popular choice.

The Triumph 2000 estate in the second picture is an original prototype with a Stag V8 engine and four-wheel-drive. What a shame that didn't go into production!

Friday, 30 April 2010

Triumph Toledo

Well the empty space in the barn didn't last for long. Later in November I spotted this Toledo advertised on eBay. After receiving a lot of very good photos of the car, and a period of negotiations I made an offer for it. A couple of weeks later I boarded an easyJet flight to Bristol and was soon driving my Toledo back up the M6 to Scotland. The car ran faultlessly for the 404 miles home and I have been using it regularly this spring.

Although it could do with a little more power the Toledo goes very well and has been attracting a lot of favourable comments.

The car was bought new by a lady in Leigh-on-Sea in 1973 and she kept it until 2004. It then went though a couple of owners before being bought by the person who was selling it on eBay. He had spent a lot of time and effort putting all of the mechanical components into shape even though it has only covered 38,000 miles.

The interior is in fantastic condition and the only aspect that lets the car down in the paintwork which is very flat and patchy.

I really would love to have the car painted, but that may have to wait until funds allow this expense. In the mean time I intend to drive and enjoy the car.

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Sad departures

Last month I went up to the barn to drop off some logs and I was saddened to see the Triumphs covered in dust and pigeon poo. I realised that they hadn't moved all year and I wondered why I had them if I wasn't going to do any work on them.

Previously I had thought that as long as they weren't deteriorating I would keep hold of them until I had a chance to get them back on the road, but the way they were looking I thought that it wouldn't be long until they rusted away to nothing.

I made the decision to try selling the 1300TC and the Herald Estate. Because the Herald Saloon is in bits it wouldn't be worth much, so that would be kept. This was a difficult decision because I much prefer the other two and they are much rarer, but this may mean that they would be easier to sell.

I put a message on the Dolomite Club's forum saying that I had decided to sell the 1300TC and a small ad on Club Triumph's web site. I thought that if I managed to sell one of them I would be able to concentrate my efforts on the other. However, before I knew it I had been made an offer on both cars.

Suddenly I had to clean up the cars and get them started. The 1300TC was reluctant to fire, but after fitting some new spark plugs and cleaning the points it started and drove fine. I gave the car a good wash and clean up and found, to my relief that the pigeon poo hadn't affected the paint.
The Herald started almost as soon as I turned the key once I put a new battery on it. It drove as though it had never been off the road and again cleaned up beautifully.

Someone came out and saw the Herald Estate and gave me my asking price for it. Someone else offered me a good price for the 1300TC without even coming to view it. He sent me a deposit, but the car wasn't picked up for some weeks.

When I cleaned up the cars for sale I realised that they had in fact not deteriorated at all! I regretted even more selling them.

So naturally I have started looking for another Triumph that has an MOT and that I can use as a summer run-around, while slowly improving it. I have always kept an eye on what Triumphs are for sale, but of course now I am in a position to buy a car I can't find anything!

I would be interested in a Herald Estate, 1300 FWD, 1500 FWD, Vitesse or Toledo. Preferably a pre '73 tax free model, but I think the condition of the car will be the deciding factor.
I have been looking at a lot of cars on line, but my idea on values seems to differ from many sellers.

I would have thought that as we enter into winter in the middle of a recession I would be in a good position to buy, but so far I haven't seen any bargains. I am enjoying the hunt, though.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Wolseley Club of Ireland Rally 2008

In preparation for my annual pilgrimage to the Wolseley Club of Ireland’s annual rally I gave the TR a thorough service. This included a change of oil and filter, greasing all suspension and steering joints and new plugs, points and condenser.

The tyres on the car were 15 years old, but only about half worn. They looked to be in perfect condition, but I was concerned by reports of tyres over ten years old failing and I didn’t want to chance my luck. After consultation on the TR Register’s Forum I ordered a set of Vredestein Sprints, which at £38 each seemed to be very good value. They were fitted by my local garage two days before I left for the rally.

On the way across to Stranraer to catch the ferry I was concerned that the engine seemed to be misfiring when accelerating from low revs. This seemed to be getting worse and I suspected the new condenser or rotor arm. I stopped on the hard shoulder of the M8 and quickly changed over to the old condenser and rotor arm. Although this improved things slightly, I was alarmed to notice that under hard acceleration the car backfired and left a trail of black smoke.

I stopped at the next services and took out the spark plugs from number one and four cylinders to see if they gave any clues as to the source of the problem. They both looked a healthy colour, but then I noticed that number four spark plug had an enormous gap. It looked as though the centre electrode had disappeared inside the ceramic part of the plug. Stupidly, I hadn’t taken any spare plugs with me, so I bent the top electrode round as far as I dared and continued.After that the misfire was much less pronounced, but then the overdrive started cutting out and in. Luckily this seemed to resolve itself after five miles, but because we were paying attention to the problem rather than the route, we missed our junction. Once back on route progress was slowed considerably by five sets of road works and a convoy system. As a result of all of these delays we missed our ferry, so arrived in Ireland three hours behind schedule.

We continued south, where after a night in a lovely hotel we bought some new spark plugs from a little motor factors. Plugs fitted and the misfire was solved.

The rally started in Mallow, County Cork and continued to Bantry where it was to be based for the next three nights. The scenery in this most south-westerly part of Ireland was breathtaking and the rally organisers surpassed themselves with the roads and locations they used.

The new tyres proved their worth with lighter steering and much better grip. There was no more spinning the inside wheel at junctions and apparently stronger sidewalls, as the tyres kept a better shape during the driving tests.

The rally consisted of mostly regularity average speed sections, although with the standard of some of the roads some of these were more like hill climbs. There were also a few driving tests thrown in and I managed to get the fasted time on three of the five tests.

After 350 miles of rallying along small bumpy roads we were delighted to end up first in class and third overall and we managed fasted time on three of the tests.

The next morning we set off early on our return journey and with light traffic we managed to arrive at the ferry two hours early! The total journey from hotel to home took 14½ hours! Our average speed on the road was just over 50 mph and the fuel consumption for the journey was just over 30mpg.

The TR ran like a dream and it never fails to amaze me that a fifty year old car can take such punishment and manage to cruise comfortably at 80mph. I will forgive it the minor indiscretions on the way over. After all it was the spark plug that failed, not the car!

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

1969 Triumph 1300TC

Here’s my little front-wheel-drive Triumph 1300TC. There are only thought to be about 30 Twin Carburettor models left on the road. I bought this car in 2006 mainly because I was intrigued with the mechanical layout of the car. Unfortunately, it is not sound enough to pass an MOT and so I am currently storing it, waiting for restoration. I do occasionally take it for a drive around the farm.

I bought the car having been told that it had just failed its MOT, requiring a bit of welding to the front subframe mount. Unfortunately, I have since noticed corrosion in various other locations with MOT tester’s yellow crayon marks around it. There is nothing too large to repair, but many areas of corrosion are quite complex, such as the rear of the sill where the jacking point is.

Lack of work space makes the repairs even more difficult. I currently keep the car in a barn on a nearby farm, were I don’t have any electricity. I will restore the car one day, though!!

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

1962 Triumph Herald Estate

Now this is where the story starts to get complicated. When the previous owner of the green Herald (below) decided that he would buy it back, it looked as though I was going to be left with the blue Herald requiring a new bonnet.

One day I spotted this Herald Estate advertised on eBay. It didn't look very good in the pictures as the wheel arches had been repaired, but not painted, one door wasn't fitted and there were various areas painted with grey primer. I managed to buy the car for less than the cost of a bonnet and thought that the car would yield various other useful parts.

However, when I picked up the car it seemed to be too good to dismantle. Once back in Scotland I took the Estate to the local garage to have a look at it on the ramps. I was a little disappointed to find a couple of areas of rust in the floor pans. The mechanic got very excited, though and persuaded me to put the car through an MOT. He welded in two small patches, replaced the rear silencer and a headlamp and then phoned me to say that it had passed!

The problem with the car, though, is that it needs to be painted before it can be used on the road. The dilemma is whether to do a thorough job on it, which would end up as a total rebuild, or just patch it up and use it for a while. Given my lack of time and other projects the Estate is now waiting in a barn and my intention is to carry out a full rebuild in the future.