View Full Version : Can We Save them All?

06-16-2005, 03:22 PM
What to do what to do?

Last night I was walking around my neighborhood with my wife. We came across a garage on a side street. I saw lights peaking out of an open garage from afar.

Once I got close, Isaw a TR4 under a pile of boxes and stuff. It looked nice from afar. I found the owner, he invited me inside to look. I has 103000 miles on it. The body looks to be bondoed around the rear quarter, and there was rust at the sills. Worse was when he pointed out the floorboards. The passenger side is rotted away. He put a new dash and Had the mechnics and hydraulics looked over.

Here it is, a garage kept, possibly restorable TR4 (original patinaed wires) that he hopes to get to "someday" . He needs the money to have the rust dealt with. I don't know what the underside looks like, but it won't pass PA safety inspection.
**** shame he bought that whole new walnut dash, and its going to waste. He hopes his son who is 16 will get involved. Sure, with no one to show him. He needs a body guy.

What could be the plan to wear these people down and put the car into someone's hands who could use it? These situations drive me nuts.

Geo Hahn
06-16-2005, 05:57 PM
Perhaps one obstacle to saving cars like this is that it doesn't make economic sense to restore them so it is only a practical undertaking for a true enthusiast as a labor of love. If he gave you the car you could still easily put more into it than it would be worth... and most buyers would be reluctant to give him real money for it when there are restored and original examples aplenty.

If he hangs onto it long enough the values of TR4s may reach a point that changes that paradigm -- it happened for Healeys a few years back -- from that point forward it becomes possible to, as you say, 'save them all'.

06-16-2005, 10:30 PM
If he hangs onto it long enough the values of TR4s may reach a point that changes that paradigm -- it happened for Healeys a few years back --

[/ QUOTE ]

Geo, the sad truth, as you well know, is Triumphs were never on a par with Healeys when they were introduced. The big Healey was right below the Jaguar and the Triumph was marketed as a less expensive alternative to the Healey. When the last big Healey rolled off the line in 67, Triumph tried to fill the void with the TR6 but it never had the panache of a Healey. The TR6 was marketed to a younger group with leaner pocketbooks. The big Healey will always appeal to a more well-heeled crowd because of their exclusivity and rarity. Driving a restored BJ, with it's non-existant ground clearance and it's soulful wail costs money, and lot's of it. TR's were cheaper and more plentiful and their tacky ad campaigns and weird colour offerings made them an expendable toy that were never taken too seriously. Witness this by reviewing the resale value of the TR6 when it ceased production. Very, very low.
I enjoy vicariously reliving my youth through my TR6 and am happy that there is a boomer-driven
market economy that keeps the parts inventories full, albeit often with poor Asian reproductions. I shudder when I read a post of a newbie that wants to get into a Triumph to restore, not always knowing what they are in for. It is not uncommon to drop $30,000.00 into a TR6 and still only have a $15,000.00 car. Some big Healeys were approaching the $100K mark, but that has leveled off. Yes, the value of any Triumph will only rise, but they will never reach the plateau of the Healey. And they never were.


06-16-2005, 11:31 PM
But you know, I find quite a few "young" folks who know little about the relative value of these (or just don't know much about the cars, period) but they get enamored with them. My British car mechanic friend said a lady brought in a 74 Midget that was in the kind of shape you described for the TR4 and she wanted it restored. He explained what would be needed, what it would cost and what it would be worth afterward-- but she didn't bat an eye. It was to be her baby. Maybe one of those people will come along for this li'l TR?

06-16-2005, 11:56 PM
Oh well... at least if values never reach the level to match the cost of restoration that still leaves enough cars for cheapskates like me who would have no problem slapping some fiberglass over the holes and driving the h*** out of it.

And I have dibs on the TR4 sitting half under a tarp in a certain driveway in a certain town that may or may not be in Southern California. Never see a light on at the house and their trashcans are never out... one of these days.... one of these days...

06-17-2005, 06:53 AM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gifKinda sounds this poor car. The owner just got too old to work on it or put it back together...

Mental, another member on this board and I found this car and an equally sad Spit rotting on a back porch in Pa. The previous owner of the property had died and his children didn't want anything to do with them. The new owner of the house just wanted them gone and had posted them on the GRM board. The Spit, although complete, is pretty much done do to rust.(added to my pile-o-spit parts, mwhuhuh) The TR on the otherhand, though disassembled, came with a ton of parts, including a new top and interior. Really sad. other than the seat covers, everthing else is still wrapped in plastic. more here; https://evilallianceracing.com/ipw-web/gallery/album130?page=1 So Mental, you gonna let the same thing happen again? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

06-18-2005, 02:55 PM
Ole Ruby still has the PO fiberglass quarters and yes, I admit to "strengthening" the chassis. Ideally I can slowly bring it to race trim.

I try to Err on the side of caution. Safety is a factor and frankly w/ todays technology you don't end up pushin an old TR4a harder than it should be pushed.
Plus as long as I stay street legal I can still smile at the young ("tuner's) I believed their called and they really have no idea what their looking at or of what the car is capable.
A Frame off would be really sweet next to Ole Ruby but the wife well you all pretty much know................
Obviously I was (lucky?) when I found our 4a and had a lot more to work with from the get go,but it's still alot of fun and it keeps me out of trouble, I think.
I dunno just another guys opinion.

06-20-2005, 12:18 AM
Tonight I rescued this poor thing which has been open to the elements for a couple years now. I guess I felt sorry for it.


Geo Hahn
06-20-2005, 07:23 PM
That's a respectable looking Midget. A friend bought a set if used wire wheels for $200 a few years back... they came with a 68 Midget attached...


Now it's his daily driver...


If we can't same them all we can at least save any we really want to.

06-21-2005, 08:23 AM

06-21-2005, 09:20 AM
I am thinking about slowly working the guy down to buy it as a parts car for the 250. I loved his walnut veneer dash. I can part out some pieces, and keep the nice interior trim he had. I like the older look of the TR4 interior bits compared to the 250. It seems more complete than that 4 sitting under a barn.

Its a lot of work rehabilitating one of these. It isn't for the feint of heart. Last night I was laying on the garage floor, handling greasy rear axles, while my face was covered in spider webs. I can see how people just give up the car project over time. Without the wherewithal, and resources I don't know what I'd do. I borrow tools from the guys at work (like a dust cap removal tool), and can bring in parts to work on them in my shop. I wonder where people reviving a car would get access to this.

It takes a long time to wear these people out. At least this one is ensconsed in a garage, safe from the elements.