View Full Version : And so it begins…

09-12-2008, 10:45 PM
And so it begins…

I have finally started the process to rebuild my 1976 Triumph TR6. It has been dismantled for several years as I have struggled with numerous attempts to breathe life back into it. Here’s the story so far. Let me first apologize for this lengthy post.

In October 2003, while going out for one last test drive the night before my car clubs fall driving event, I pulled out from a stop sign and heard a loud breaking/grinding/metal hitting the pavement sound. The rear mounting pin for the differential had abruptly pulled away from the frame. This caused the rear end of my car to immediately begin jumping off the pavement as I tried to accelerate. I got out of my car and while examining the underside of my beloved Triumph noticed the differential was cocked at a 45 degree angle. I was able to creep home a few short blocks away as long as I stayed below 5 MPH. You read that correctly, 5 MPH in traffic. I didn’t do much for British Motoring public relations on that day.

I removed the differential that evening to discover I would not be driving my car the following day in my club event. As time went on, I began speaking to people in my club and others “in the know” as they say. I was told this issue was common for TR6’s. I started wondering why these “common” issues always seem to happen to me before I know about them.

I spent the next 18 months or so dismantling the Triumph. I figured as long as I had to remove the body from the frame to fix this “common” issue, I would do a complete frame-off restoration. Please note at this point that my workshop facility consist of a two car garage of which my wife only gives me half. I had already redone the engine and gearbox a couple of years before. They in fact had only (and still do) less than 500 miles on them after the rebuild. At the same time I shipped my carbs (Zenith Stromberg’s) off to Joe Curto in New York for him to work his magic on. My interior is in great condition. I even had redone the wooden dash and shift knob to match my beautiful Nardi steering wheel a year before. All the car really needed was to be gone through, including the frame, and receive a decent paint job. This should only take less than a year, right. Guess again.

My project was delayed first because my son (7 years old at the time) underwent major hip reconstruction surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in December of 2003. He spent one month in a body cast after surgery, six months in a wheel chair and crutches and two years in physical therapy. During the eight days of his hospital stay at Mayo and the months at home taking care of him, I spent my free time reading everything I could on rebuilding my TR6. This included all the great works by Roger Williams. I would read and re-read these several times over the course of the next couple of years. Opportunities to work on my car were short as my wife and I spent the majority of our free time tending to our son’s needs.

In late 2006 I developed a plan to get my car back on the road. This plan included taking several adult education courses in auto body repair, auto painting techniques and welding. I even acquired some of the necessary tools to do the job. By the fall of 2007 I was very well prepared to finish the project.

My work and travel schedule kept me pretty busy. As I began to see light at the end of the tunnel, I was excited to get my hands dirty once more. Then in February of 2007, my wife came home from work one day and announced she wanted to consider taking a new position with her bank in a different community. We were packing up and moving. The process of looking for and purchasing a new home and packing up the old one is one type of heck that everyone should have the pleasure of going through at least twice in their life. Coupled with that, the fact that I have to move a completely dismantled TR6 and find a place to store it. I truly was in heck. Was I ever going to get this car back on the road.

I only had two requirements when we were looking at houses. I wanted a small acreage with enough room to build a decent size shop. After not coming to terms with the owners of a perfect home, (w/acreage and shop) we put an offer on after three weeks, we were running out of time. It was now June of 2007 and we had to find a suitable home before the kids start school. We actually got very lucky and found a brand new home well within our price range. The wife and kids quickly fell in love with the house as well as the neighborhood. Only problem, not an acreage and no place for a shop. I was once again stuck with using a single stall in my garage. This time however, it was packed with boxes. It would be another year before I could clear the space to make it usable. At least my TR6 was nice and cozy in a rental storage unit all year. A storage unit with no electricity. Yes I did think of that.

That brings us to present day and the purpose of this very long winded post. As stated earlier, I have actually begun to breath some life back into this project. I have moved the TR6 body tub from the distant storage unit into my garage and started to fix the rusted areas. There are only a few holes that need patching around the rear deck. Nothing a descent mig welder can’t fix. I know it will take a lot of time, energy and money. But I’ve always known that. After all, it’s a British car.

After several years of reading all of your post and replies with great interest, the process has started. I am once again excited about the prospect of driving my car some day in the near future. One thing I know I can count on is the wisdom, expert knowledge and great spirit of comradery from the fellow Triumph members of this forum. I truly look forward to our future exchanges. Thank you in advance.

09-13-2008, 12:37 AM
Good luck on your project.
The thought of the day you get to turn the key and back the car out beyond the driveway and take off down the street should be enough to keep you motivated throughout your restoration.

09-13-2008, 06:24 AM
Hi Dan,

"Exciting Story". Well Sir, Best Wishes with the restoration.

Keep us all posted & of course, Pics would be great!


Mickey Richaud
09-13-2008, 07:11 AM
Dan -

Persistence and patience will pay off. I restored each of the three that I've done (TR3, MGB, and TR8) in a similar space, with only the very basic tools; though I didn't do any of the body work or paint. It can be done, and you'll be quite proud of your efforts!


09-13-2008, 09:31 AM
Dan: I think that many here can identify with much of what you say.
Build on and enjoy it! Personally, if I feel rushed, it's not fun and
I just don't do as nice a job. The Forum is a great place for help and
support. Enjoy and best of luck to a great finish.

09-13-2008, 10:04 AM
Dan- If I were you I would put it all in a couple of boxes and put it out on the front yard with a FREE sign. It would make for a less stressful life.

09-13-2008, 10:23 AM

First and most importantly, we hope your boy is doing great!

Second, take lots of pictures and keep us posted.


Mickey Richaud
09-13-2008, 11:23 AM
Dan- If I were you I would put it all in a couple of boxes and put it out on the front yard with a FREE sign. It would make for a less stressful life.

BUZZ-KILLER! :smirk:

Pay no attention to him, Dan. Go for it!


09-13-2008, 12:45 PM
Don't go into the LIGHT!!!

09-13-2008, 01:51 PM
Dan, don't stress too much, someone here recently posted that they have been working on their LBC for the last THIRTY TWO years! And of course there is the CAR-WHO-SHALL-NOT-BE-NAMED (invoking the rite of Harry Potter!)residing in Puerto Rico. :smile:

Keep your eyes on the prize and cast your plans in the sands!

And post pictures, lots and lots of pictures!!

09-13-2008, 06:15 PM
Things happen for a reason when it comes to houses. Trust me on that one.

Don't get stressed and take your time. Look at my web site and all the work that I've done.

Then I get a truck pushed into my front end and two pallets drop off onto the hood. I'm unhappy to say the least, but my wife's not hurt, nor am I, so who cares about the car?

The insurance is paying for a new paint job and while it will cost me driving time and some cash, it will be better than before when done.

09-13-2008, 09:10 PM
So far in 1/2 of a two car garage we have rebuilt a 1986 Toyota Supra, a 1987 300Z, a 1977 MG Midget, a 1980 280Z, a 1990 T0yota Supra and now our current project..a 1980 MGB. We sometimes have to move the other car out while we work, sometimes we just work around it...Its always fun and our WHOLE family spends time out there. (My Dad has even dropped by to watch and turn a wrench occasionally)
Keep it up...the rewards are great! The day will arrive when you are backing it out into that beautiful day and taking off down the street with the top down. Good luck and keep those pictures coming!

09-14-2008, 01:17 PM
Glad to hear you are back at it! I am so slow,I hope we are not in a race, I have no chance!
Some ideas you might consider(and others too), is the use of a heat sink behind any seam you are trying to butt weld. I made a couple from old 3/4" copper tube hammered flat. I find it helps even on a lap joint, as the copper takes some of the heat away and HELPS prevent burn-through. Burn-through can happen anyway, especially to those of us in the "amateur" catgory. I find fit-up to be the critical issue with butt welds-big gap-it's going to be hard to do. Consider the Public Schools evening auto body class later in the year, the instructor is pretty good, and will help with your project pieces. This is not like the class we took before, where we worked on dents we were given-we have our own!