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Missed Opportunities #1

Posted by RedTR250 on April 24, 2011 at 7:48 PM

It's not like I didn't have enough to worry about. I was halfway through the 5-year restoration of my 1968 Triumph TR250, with plenty left to do. The problem was enduring the YEAR my car sat in a body shop (a story for another day), waiting to have sheet metal replaced and a comprehensive re-spray. After expending all the energy and momentum to produce a dipped, repaired, and rebuilt rolling chassis, it was difficult for me to sit still while waiting for my car's return.


At least there were a couple of Triumph gearboxes down in my basement workshop, but that was just a winter project. I embarked on rebuilding a TR250 gearbox that ended up going into the car, and I also did an early TR6 box simultaneously. That one went into my collection of "reserve" parts. Since I had no prior experience rebuilding transmissions, the second one was my backup in case the "primary" TR250 gearbox stripped all its teeth and ground the bearings into silver-gray mud. Ten years later, it's still working.


I had a habit of scanning the local newspapers for interesting cars and parts—yes, we did it with newspapers back then—and came across a local 1973 Triumph GT6 mk III. The car was only five minutes away from where I worked, so I had to see it. As my TR250 had also been, it was a failed restoration. The owner and his brother had bought a lot of parts but then became too busy with their families and jobs, and they lost interest. The seller was only asking $750, and better yet, I was able to persuade him to trade the car for some high-end audio equipment I had. We swapped a classic British coupe for a nice stereo.


I had the GT6 flat-bedded home and pushed it into the garage. I played around with it for a few months, sorting parts and getting to know the car a little better. It was in fairly decent shape overall, but the engine and gearbox had been completely disassembled and it needed a new driver's side floor pan welded in. When the TR250 finally came back, the GT6 was pushed to the rear of my 1-1/2 car garage, which was just deep enough to fit two Little British Cars nose-to-tail with a piece of paper in between them.


That arrangement did not last very long before I regained my sensibilities. I cherry-picked new GT6 parts that were useful to my TR250 restoration (a surprisingly high quantity) and put the rest of the project on eBay. A nice couple from North Carolina (or maybe Virginia) hauled a trailer and their two kids all the way to Ohio to pick up the car. I sold the GT6 for close to what I paid for it, plus I kept the new parts I wanted.


I always liked Triumph's GT6. Maybe I'll have another chance some day. The Michelotti styling and sporty fastback coupe design call to mind a "poor man's" baby Jaguar E-Type. They're quite small—you don't really sit in one; you more or less wear it. The tilting front cowl is super-cool, and sitting on a tire while tuning the car is a big plus. I gave up the GT6 because the return of my TR250 made me realize I had more than enough to do, and there are limits to time, money, talent—and in the case of car restoration—love.

Categories: Triumph TR250 Restoration, The Classic British Car Obsession