The Classic British Car

Website of Classic British Motoring Images, Information, and Links

1968 Triumph TR250

This page features my own 1968 Triumph TR250, The Sporty Red Car, purchased as a rolling basket case in the summer of 1996. The previous owner purportedly attempted an amateur restoration, a father/son project. After buying a lot of new parts and a couple of donor cars, badly welding a front clip onto the tub, and generally mucking about, they lost interest and eventually sold the car along with all its sundry bits and pieces.
At the time I acquired the TR250 I had never done automotive repair work more involved than a brake job or replacing an alternator, although I've always been handy with tools and rather mechanically minded. I had not yet driven a Triumph or any other classic British sports car.
I was naive enough to think I would give the car a quick going-over and put it back on the road before snow's arrival—two or three months at the most. As it turned out, I managed to start and run the engine before pulling it, separate the body tub from the frame, and commence what would turn out to be a five-year restoration…
If I can do it, you can, too!

1968 Triumph TR250 Chassis Restoration

Here are some clickable images of my TR250 that were taken soon after I realized the car's condition required more work than the "rolling restoration" I intended originally...

The pictures are scans of 35mm film photographs I took during the restoration, and I apologize for their slightly weird color and contrast. Digital cameras were not really a financially viable option for a schmuck like me back then. Besides, there were so many other things on which I needed to spend my money!

The Yin and Yang of a classic British car: if it ain't oily, it's probably rusted.

I didn't have to cut more than one or two bolts to get the Triumph's tub off the chassis, so at least I had that going for me.

It's easy to pull a Triumph TR250 engine and gearbox when the body tub is gone!

Yes, the dreaded Triumph IRS differential mount cracks. I was glad I removed the body tub!

Before sending away the body tub and other exterior parts to be acid dipped and repaired, I started on the Triumph's frame, suspension, and brakes. Almost everything was chemically stripped, and the chassis was painted with POR-15, top-coated with industrial enamel, and Waxoyled on the inside.

You can't believe how much nicer it is to rebuild brakes and suspension when you don't have that darned old body shell in the way!

It almost feels like cheating.

The lever shocks were rebuilt by Apple Hydraulics and upgraded to the Heavy Duty spec. They still work great!

Here's the Triumph TR250 differential, reinstalled after being cleaned, painted, clearances reset, and new bearings and seals installed.

1968 Triumph TR250 Body Repair

I hauled the TR250's body tub and exterior panels to MetalTek, an industrial metal stripping company in Springfield, Ohio. They did not specialize in automotive restoration but their rates were VERY reasonable. When your Little British Car comes home after being acid dipped, well, there's no place to hide. After the stripping process you just can't kid yourself about your car's condition.

If you look closely you can see the characteristic rust running along the fender (wing) attachment points.

You can't see it from this picture, but the floors and inner and outer sills were pretty much shot. They were replaced with British Motor Heritage replacement panels.

The funny blue "grid" lines were caused by the huge metal racks used to suspend the parts while they are being dipped in the acid solution.

I could devote an entire Website to talking about the year my Triumph spent at the body shop. But I'll spare you!

The tail light housings were nasty but the replacements were both inexpensive and nicely made.

...and then the TR250 came home!

1968 Triumph TR250 Re-assembly

The original engine was included when I bought the car, but an early Triumph TR6 engine had been installed. It was in decent shape so I decided to see if it could use it for a while. I didn't rebuild the engine internals, but all the external bits like the alternator, starter, and water pump were replaced or refurbished. I put in a new rocker shaft and rockers and rebuilt the Zenith-Stromberg carburetors and original fuel pump.

That's not orange paint, just crappy photography!

You can see the new, longer scuttle drain hose at the extreme left.

I sprayed some rubberized undercoating into the Triumph's wheel arches and inside the body panels. Just because.

The original TR250 3-spoke steering wheel cover is cracked and worn but it's funky and I like it.

I taped a temporary cover over the gearbox's selector opening to keep crap from getting in after I rebuilt it. Leaving the selector/top cover off makes it a little easier to get the engine/gearbox combo in and out of an assembled Triumph TR250...

The TR250's brake master cylinder was re-sleeved in brass by Apple Hydraulics and then I rebuilt it. You can also see the externally-located voltage regulator mounted near the fuse box.

Some Additional Triumph TR250 Restoration Images

Here's the TR250 while it sat in the body shop. The frame and suspension have been restored; the tub has already been dipped and is now waiting to have floor pans, sills, and whatnot welded in. The "temporary" wire wheels were some worn out beaters that came with one of the donor cars.

Home at last! Putting the shiny bits back together was when the fun really started! Working on the frame, suspension, and brakes had probably been my favorite part. Putting the body and interior back together...not so much.

1968 Triumph TR250 as Lawn Ornament

These images were shot in September, 2001. My 1968 Triumph TR250 was driven under its own power for the second time and parked for some beefcake pics. Still missing a few incidental items, like the convertible top, hub caps, and other bits and pieces. Oh, and license plates.

1968 Triumph TR250 at BCD 2005

Photo image courtesy of Ron Parks, MG Car Club SWOC

It is obvious that the car is rather attractive, but who are those good looking people riding in it? Are they movie stars? Eastern European royalty? Heads of state?

Don't you wish that you were famous, too?

That sporty little red car sure seems to get around.

There are a lot of covered bridges in Preble County, Ohio. 

The driver of that red car is quite handsome.