View Full Version : The Best Of PO and CO stories

08-29-2006, 10:44 AM
The posting about Spitfires and TR6's started me thinking about different PO and CO (current owner) repairs and stories. I thought it might be interesting to offer the opportunity for everyone to post their best (or worst) PO story as well as baring their souls and posting their own favorite roadside repair or unique approach to solving a problem with their LBC.
I'll start it off with an emergency repair we made to an AH3000. This was in the early '70's. I was in my '71 TR6 and my brother was in his '67 3000. We crossed a set of railroad tracks and his throttle died. Pushing the pedal had no effect. The car would only idle. After a few minutes under the bonnet we realized that a post supporting a major part of the throttle linkage had broken. I believe it was a nylon piece that wore through such that it no longer held a shaft in place while it rotated. The failure allowed the shaft to flop around instead of rotating. We had nothing in my tool kit to substitute for the broken part. So we started walking along the side of the road hoping to find something. I noticed an aluminum identification tag nailed to a wooden power pole. We cut, drilled, shaped and bent it to approximate the broken piece. Disassembled the linkage and installed the makeshift support. It worked like a charm, so well in fact that we never replaced it.

08-29-2006, 06:28 PM
The PO of my car was actually pretty good. A couple of acts by me that put me in the DCO category: When I first got the car many of the rubber suspension parts were pretty worn. On the drive home, the ball joint connector from the right rear lever arm shock to the trailing arm lost all its rubber, so the ball would clank inside the socket over any bump. When I got home, I used a vinyl polysiloxane dental impression material to inject into the socket to replace the rubber. Not a long term cure, but sure worked pretty well until the new connector arrived! I also got stranded at McDonalds one day when my rotor cracked (the only time I've ever been stranded by my TR in 4 years, btw). Luckily only about a mile from my office. After work, i repaired the rotor with some dental resin and a brass screw. Again, not a long term fix, but lasted well past the time I got the replacement rotor. I'm sure if i'd used something better like epoxy or JB Weld, it could've lasted even longer, but I used what I had ready access to at the time. My third confession is that my hood release cable is actually a Schwinn brake cable, but as near as I can tell, it's actually an improvement from the original!

Don Elliott
08-29-2006, 06:58 PM
I never had a PO to blame. I'm an original owner so everything that has happened . . . .

Don Elliott


08-29-2006, 07:03 PM
John MC,
I surmise from your repair supplies that you must be a plumber. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif

08-29-2006, 08:48 PM
I thought that he was a dentist!

And I'm like Don, anything that is done incorrectly is my fault.

08-29-2006, 08:53 PM
My award for DPO moves goes to the PO of a 73 vette I had...EVERYTHING had been 'touched', a pickle jar lid as a coolant overflow tank cap, alarm system module installed using RTV are the two repairs that stand out the most too me although there where alot more.
The CO award is given to my 85 Jeep Cherokee Wagoneer...Again I had Mcgyver-ed alot of things together on that truck...But the best; when the CV joint boot on the front axle split allowing all the grease to flow out I took an old pair of boxer shorts and tied them around the joint...Held up for many years until I sold the truck...If it's still on the road(I doubt it) I bet that those boxers are still there.

08-30-2006, 07:11 AM
The DPO of my Herald had glued the Engine HEAD on using RTV RUBBER!!!!
As soon as I got it I had to pull the head off to have the valves redone. This is EXTERMELY difficult when the head is glued in place /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif
Apparently he did this to make up for using the wrong type of head gasket. The head gasked was for a 1500 block with recesses cut around the cylinders. The engine had a smooth deck. So he just gooped up a bunch of RTV.
Surprisingly it actually ran well enough for me to drive it home nearly 200km.

08-30-2006, 07:57 AM
The best part of the PO story I have is not about how he butchered the wiring harness nor the rusted strut towers with bondo in, it is more about him. I went and looked at the car and it was basically junk. the owner wanted $1500 for it and I told him I would not go that high but I gave him a card and told him to call if he changed his mind. The next day his wife called and said he agreed to my price but I had to come get it the following day. My brother and I showed up, paid his wife and as we were loading it on to the flat bed he pulled in. I could tell by the look on his face that it was his wifes deal. He came up and looked at us and said "my wife sold my car, didn't she" when I said she had, he proceeded to tell my how she had sold his harley the same way while he was gone. He went over and put on his leather harley jacket and was telling us how after she had the kids his "toys" were sold to buy a mini van and kids clothes. He told me of how the 8 had to go to pay for the kids tutition to pre-school. My brother commented as we left that he beleive she may have sold the family jewels first cause he was whipped.

08-30-2006, 08:02 AM
Ted Schumacher in Ohio used to have a TR3 in his junkyard that had some type of small block Chevy V8 in it. To clear the engine, the PO had made cable and pulley steering (like a boat)! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif

Don't know if it was ever on the road, but maybe that's why it was in the junkyard /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif


08-30-2006, 08:44 AM
What a humorus bunch of stories. Great read to start my day.
Major Scott's story reminded me of the PO when I bought my second TVR. The car was only 4 or 5 years old, the paint had faded from a red to a very dull maroon. It ran, but not well and the carpet was stained and curling. My sweetheart (now my wife) and I went to look at the car. After checking it over the owner pulled me to the side to express his disappointment in the car. "I thought I would get more girls when I bought this, but nothing changed".

08-30-2006, 02:57 PM
Although not a Triumph story, when I met my wife she had a 70's Chevy Monza. At some point a motor mount broke, ( how much can that cost?) My father in law "improvised" by welding a garage door spring from the frame to the block of the engine. I can remember laughing till i cried when I saw it,but it worked! I don't let him around my cars. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif

08-30-2006, 03:19 PM
This is a great thread!

When I think DPO it reminds me that my car was supposedly "set up" for autocross when I bought it. Hey, I was young and knew little more than squat about cars, and so just thought, "Cool!" (making me the DCO right off the bat).

Might say the DPO was a "budget racer"! Don't know how he got the car past any tech inspection anywhere.

There were "lowering blocks" under the TR4's rear axle, a pair of short pieces of 2x4. (Only the best, clear pine will do!) Thankfully, there are no termites at high altitude in Colorado. Had it been me, I would have at least spray painted the blocks black to sorta resemble metal. But these still had all their glorious wood grain showing through greasy fingerprints.

The front springs had each been "stiffened" with a few of those twist-in "spring savers" that used to be sold, instead of installing a actual sway bar or anything normal like that. The alu spring spacers had been removed to lower the front, but left the springs in danger of jumping off their perches when going over any sort of bump. Thankfully the Konis were there to keep the coils from completely escaping! At least I found the spacers rattling around in the trunk, when it came time to reinstall them.

The car came fitted with 14x7" wheels that tended to rub the tires inside the fenders on moderately hard corners, but certainly lowered it a bit more.

Highway cruisin' was miserable higher-rpm stuff even at 60-70 mph, thanks to those smaller wheels and low profile tires. But the car got up to speed very quickly! Turns out that was an old, cheap-racer trick... Get more acceleration with smaller wheels and low tires, instead of actually changing the axle ratio.

Actually the car cornered suprisingly well and would really accelerate, too.... If you could just overlook the cracking wood, rattling springs and rubbing tire noises.

I almost forgot, the DPO had painted the car a lovely "Porsche Orange", too. Predictibly, he bought a 914 shortly after selling the TR4 to me.

My opportunity to repaint came around fairly quickly, when I got rear-ended by an unlicensed, drunk driver in a full size pickup truck (I was stopped in a left turn lane waiting for traffic to clear. There were a total of 11 people, including 4-5 kids, in the P/U.)

That was also the moment when I found out the hard way that the PO's anchor point for the shoulder belt wasn't a very good idea. The bolt through the roll bar close behind the driver's head was more of an Aztec brain surgery tool, than part of any "safety" system.

His buddy also had a TR4 and autocrossed it. The buddy's Triumph had gnarly fiberglass fender flares all the way around, super wide tires and a serious flame paint job on the hood and front fenders. I expected to see a V8 stuffed into it, but it was still a good old TRactor motor.

If only he'd cut a hole in the hood with a saber saw and strapped a blower on top of the motor, it would have looked just like an Ed "Big Daddy" Roth drawing come to life! In fact, if I recall the buddy sorta resembled Rat Fink... But that was a lot of years ago and I met him only briefly, so maybe I'm thinking of someone else.

After waiting a full year for a local shop to find a manifold, I converted the car to use a pair of Weber DCOEs I'd picked up. Packed up the old carbs, put them in storage and forgot about them. It ended up being 20-25 years before I looked closely at the "original" carbs, and realized something was out of whack. Eventually, with some help of other folks, we identified them as Hitachi SUs off a Datsun 240Z. I'm sure there is an interesting story behind that, too.

Not that I'm any less a DCO! My "tuning" of the newly Webers was all trial and error stuff. Lucky I didn't blow up the engine.

I installed an exhaust header eventually, and worked out my own rather crude "free flow" exhaust system which included a Ford muffler and some mystery piping. Didn't have a bender so I simply cut and welded up a strangely angular fixture that found it's way to the back of the car. Way heavier than necessary, but was actually still quite solid when I took a cutting torch to it a few years ago.

The Ford muffler made for a somewhat weird exhaust note, which wasn't as bad as the loud "clank" the pipe always made inside the frame going over the slightest bump. Thought about tapping a few pine wood shims in around the pipe to stop that, but thankfully never got around to it.

Let's not talk about Bondo and my "rolling restoration", okay?

Managed to drive the car for ten years, adding a few more of my own special DCO touches here and there, before carefully storing the car away so my nephew's Rotweiller could curl up and sleep on the hood during cold Colorado winters.


08-30-2006, 03:58 PM
Well, there was the time my best friend's Healey was having starting problems. A quick look at the battery terminals, showed the problem. The "helmet-head" wire connectors had been "fixed" with two roofing nails each. "OHMYGOD!! there's a fire in the trunk!"
The guy shoulda been shot!
Take care Bob

08-30-2006, 04:27 PM
When I purchased my first TR6, I was a true neophyte at this hobby. My car passed somehow it's first state inspection and upon leaving I went to straight to the local fast food joint. Sitting in the drive thru line behind a trailered boat, I realized that that the prop lined up perfectly with the hood of my car.
The DPO had mounted the slave cylinder on the wrong side of the mounting bracket, leaving me little clutch in first gear and nothing whatsoever for reverse. He used a piece of muffler hanger as an extension. Nothing urgent, because I could shut the car off to put it in gear. The other problem, he broke the ground wire for the horn at the rubber donut. But they were ingenious enough to wrap a strip of aluminum around the steering column and bolt it to the body.
It worked...sometimes.
Well, the reason I noticed the prop alignment was it was getting closer and closer to the car. I tried to get the car into reverse and got nothing but metal, honked the horn and it didn't. Gotta love these DPO's.

08-30-2006, 04:42 PM
DPO-I can't say anything about the previous owner because he gave me the car after he ran out of will to rebuild it and move it all over the tri-state area.

CO-ME-After starting over from scratch with a frame on I'm afraid to tell you all the things over the years I've done to keep it on the road and drivable. Primarily due to a compete lack of funds but the will to do everything myself. I look at it this way it's great practice for when I do it the second time around. After retirement I plan on stipping it down to the frame and starting from the bottom up. I will never sell this car! If I don't make it then it will be the kids problem provided the wife doesn't sell it first. In the mean time I will keep on driving it the way it is. Someday I'll post the owners history (I knew them all) and how I came to get it but that's a whole other thread.

08-30-2006, 09:35 PM
Just thought I'd share with you an experience with my '73 TR6.
I was replacing the bushings on the throttle cross-shaft, thats the one the transfers the gas pedal movement to the throttle linkage, it's a tough job getting those plastic bushings into the holes, anyway I managed that piece.
So after taking a break for a cup of tea and to settle down from the exertions of trying to get the shaft through the bushings again I started the car forgetting that the final throttle hookup had not been connected.
It started up fine, at about 4000 RPM!(the linkage was jammed) scared the **** out of me so I turned the ign switch off and the engine wound down. Unfortunateley my brain was not working well and I turned the ign on again at about 1000 RPM , that's akin to lighting the afterburner on an F14!, the resulting backfire through the exhaust rattled windows, started the neighborhood dogs barking and effectively decoked the whole exhaust system all over my driveway.
Unfortunately it also split the rusty silencer (muffler) seams so that had to get changed!
Anyway it's fixed and fine now but doesn't sound quite as throaty, no blowthrough now.

08-31-2006, 09:38 AM
let me roll up my sleeves and tell you about the gt6 i inherited...

first, the car was spectacularly original. after a quick look around, every part was original and included, except all the safety equipment. no horns or seatbelts to be seen.

from there i started the rebuild and found most of the frame had been knocked around, meaning i had alot of bending or replacing to do. also, i found a thick piece of angle-iron bolted on the front chassis crossmember. never could figure out what that was for. when i finally got to the chassis, i disovered a couple crinkles in the main frame rails, which led to the discovery of someone leading the frame in two different spots. not only was it leaded, but it was left rough and there were holes straight through the rail. i'm supprised the frame held the car up until i got it.

as for the parts gt6 i just got, i knew it was crap but was delighted to see that it had all the original glass. upon closer inspection though, someone had ground down the door glass to make up for a poorly working window mechanism in both doors. so much for a full set of glass. also, one of the steel wheels must have been from the wrong car because someone had cut out most of the center and had it bolted onto the car using the outside of the cut circle. i'm glad i took my own wheels to pick that car up.

back to the soon-to-be-working car, i've found so much silicone sealant all over the engine (at gaskets) that it's not even funny, and red paint overspray on parts you couldn't even imagine.

well...that makes me feel better to tell you all about my troubles. wish i dind't have to get a parts car.

08-31-2006, 09:59 AM
CO talking to DPO, any rust?

DPO no I took care of it all

very stupid first time LBC buyer CO Oh, OK

In my frame off restoration I have replaced 7 or 8 full panels and many patch panels, new trailing arm sections and diff repair. The DPO took care of the rust all right, encased it in bondo and fiberglass so that it would be protected and fester only to live and bubble up another day.

I was 19 and it was the best one I had run across, after a lot of junkers, should have kept on looking. But in it's defense it ran for 10 years (never leaving me stranded) before I took it off the road for fear of the trailing arms failing.

Attached is a picture of the way the car looked and tricked me into buying it. No regrets though.


Couple of weeks ago


08-31-2006, 10:13 AM
DPO-this one was a piece of work!!!!
appears he had the head ported,intakes only-which usually only need a little bit of port work-exhausts need most of the work,but not a bad job. he then obviously ported the stock intake manifold himself because he ground a hole right through it and ran it that way!!!!!! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/cryin.gif /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mad.gif
now i bought this car as a long term project so i am not concerned since i am building from the ground up anyways as a road/track car on pump gas.
i won't even talk about what was done to the wiring.

08-31-2006, 10:29 AM
Ok here's a couple of contributions to this thread:

Whe I bought my TR4A, the PO never informed me that the car had knock-off wheels. To be fair, when you looked at them you saw lug nuts, so I thought the spinners on it were purely decorative, and that one missing would be no big deal. I had arrainged to get an auto transporter from U-Haul there in Birmingham, but when I went to pick it up I got the runaround while the owner's buddy took off with it. I was stuck with using a tow dolly to pull the car from Birmingham to Little Rock with the expected results - about 50 miles from home the wheel missing the spinner took off on it's own path! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif Long story short, U-Haul paid me more to fix the car than I purchased it for, I found the missing wheel and sold the set to a gentleman in England who paid to have them shipped back there.

My second DPO story concerns the front suspension. I had decided to disassemble the front suspension to replace all the bushings. I had known something was strange about it when I bought the car, but never had pinned it down. My first clue was that the tie rod levers bent upwards .... I thought maybe the DPO had switched the levers from side to side.

After I got the hub off, I got my second clue ... the caliper mounting plate faced forward instead of backwards! I sat there scratching my head for a moment or two, then it dawned on me .... the DPO had switched the ENTIRE vertical link assembly from one side to the other, then flipped the tie rod levers over instead of fixing the problem! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/eek.gif In the process, he lost the distance pieces. A member of the VTR mailing list made a replacement set for me and I finally got it all back together.

08-31-2006, 02:17 PM
A gentleman I know has one of those German sportscars that doesn't belong on this site. But the story fits well here. The car suffered from rust and as the tub sagged, the DPO simply gound the bottom of the door off to allow it to close properly. Wasted an otherwise perfectly good door.

08-31-2006, 06:04 PM
Flinky's story reminded me of another story. In a previous life I installed fence. Spring was always a very busy time. We would hire a couple of extra guys to help with the overload.
We hired one guy who was a bit shady. In his younger years he stole cars to chop up and sell. His current automotive endevour was buying wrecked Spitfires, making the cheapest repairs possible, painting and selling them to unsuspecting buyers. Some of his cars were pieced together from several wrecks. He wasn't a good welder. When he spliced frames he would weld, grind the welds then bondo over the welds to create a smooth joint before painting the frame. For rust repairs he would stuff crumpled up aluminum foil into the holes then lay on the bondo. He used to use rags for fillers but changed to aluminum foil. For paint he had a source for Certauri (sp?) whose shelf life had expired long long ago. The only color was a dark copperish brown. I was maybe 20 or 21 at the time and didn't think to do anything about it. This all happened in Southern New Jersey in the early to mid '70s. So watch out for any Spitfires that may come on the market from the area.

09-01-2006, 01:29 PM
Although not an LBC, I always found this picture funny....

09-01-2006, 05:09 PM

09-02-2006, 11:13 AM
I was working on the engine of the project TR250, I was reinstalling the coolant hoses. I had purchased a "complete" set from TRF which had all of the hoses you need. I had installed them all and still did not have enough. I took out my Bentley shop manual and began looking at the cooling system. Something looked very different with the return pipe that goes from the control valve to the water pump. My return pipe had three hoses, and two bends. The hoses were red and black flexible hoses, one came around the the carbs, a second hose in the middle of the pipe where the pipe broke, and a third came back in to the water pump, where the fitting was completely rotted over. Looking at the manual I realized this was supposed to be one long pipe under the exhaust manifold. I had to reorder the pipe and the fittings, which took a month to get all these parts. Of course, I cheated and fit the pipe in from the top without removing the exhaust manifold. It took a lot of bending to get it to fit properly. Each setback on a project car eats away lots of time. I think this was a "lets do this until we order the parts in job". As in a temporary fix that never went away.

My current TR4A has two cuts in the frame rail outriggers, past the trailing arms. The PO had made his own set of sway bars (which I have) and cut through the frame. I will forgive them though, I'm the third owner, and the rest of the frame is completely rust free. I doubt the car was ever driven in bad weather. What I can't quite forgive is the "Nugget Gold" GM color that was sprayed on over the white in 1970. This color looks bad on a Vette, worse on a Triumph. I can live with out, I can drive this car!

09-03-2006, 07:30 AM
My brother bought a Jag XK120 FHC that they found in a barn and when we pulled it out into the light of day, we found that it was equipped with snow tires.

09-03-2006, 09:43 AM
/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/lol.gif well it is Canada....I had an MGA that the PO had equipped with snows

09-03-2006, 01:49 PM
Did he put the snows of the frint or rear? /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

09-03-2006, 03:29 PM
That would be the rear only in my case......

09-03-2006, 07:58 PM
My best buddy in High School Had a new MGBGT, He put chains on it one winter. It was awesome in the snow and ice. Back then an A or a 3 was a classic to be babied, The lbcs we had then we ran hard. As far as POs How does rubber fuel lines running across the top of the battery and The wiring harness had layers and layers of added wire and tape with splices just twisted together or wire nuts that you would find in houshold wiring. I had to tear it all out and put in a new harness. Phil