PDA

View Full Version : What to buy, the Triumph take?



noKYtour
04-25-2012, 05:44 PM
Hi all,

I posted this in the welcome forum and Mickey suggested i try in the specific brand forums. I also asked it in the MG forum yesterday and have gotten some good replies in there. That being said I wanted to take a minute to say hello. I joined up because I'm thinking about getting a convertible to drive and tinker on and am trying to sort out what is best for me. As of now I think I am most interested in the MGB, Triumph Spitfire, and have also looked at a Fiat Spider 124 (obviously not British). I'm not exactly sure how to make go about making the decision so I thought I'd poke around here and see what I can find. Also, I want to make sure whatever I buy isn't a big pile of junk that gets me in way over my head. Regardless, I wanted to say hello and look forward to learning a lot more in the near future. Thank you for whatever thoughts and advice you might have.

Here's the link to the MG side of the discussion if you're interested in seeing what their take is. https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcforum/u..._try#Post844505 (https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcforum/ubbthreads.php/topics/844505/What_to_buy_second_try#Post844505)

Andrew Mace
04-25-2012, 06:01 PM
...I joined up because I'm thinking about getting a convertible to drive and tinker on and am trying to sort out what is best for me. As of now I think I am most interested in the MGB, Triumph Spitfire, and have also looked at a Fiat Spider 124 (obviously not British). I'm not exactly sure how to make go about making the decision so I thought I'd poke around here and see what I can find....Here's the link to the MG side of the discussion if you're interested in seeing what their take is. https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcforum/u..._try#Post844505 (https://www.britishcarforum.com/bcforum/ubbthreads.php/topics/844505/What_to_buy_second_try#Post844505) Looks to me as if you've already gotten great advice. I can't really add much except to reiterate that you'll want to talk to folks who own the cars. You'll want to drive anything that intrigues you and perhaps get an opinion of that particular car from someone who owns a similar one as well as what it's like to live with that particular model for whatever length of time. You'll also want to reconcile yourself to the fact that if you like the basic philosophy but would rather have something more modern and carefree (in terms of maintenance, comfort, safety, all that good stuff), it's a Mazda Miata or similar "newer" car that you probably should be looking for. :driving:

Vaark01
04-25-2012, 06:26 PM
Hi,

Having owned many British sports cars in the past 40 years, I can honestly say that the best of them all is a TR-3B. It may be pricey, but it is worth the expenditure.

Paul

CJD
04-25-2012, 06:29 PM
Real men drive Triumphs.

Their wives drive MG's

John

Geo Hahn
04-25-2012, 06:46 PM
All three you mention are excellent choices (if they are good examples) and can be had for reasonable money.

MGB -- I like the earlier chrome bumper models for more power, classic interior and better look.

Fiat 124/2000 -- Drove a 71 124 for many years as my daily driver, replaced it with an 81 2000 and drove that many more years. Unlike the MGBs, in this case I think the later cars are better. When they added the Bosch fuel injection to that DOHC engine they really perfected a great design. One drawback here (for me anyway) is that I really like club activities and there aren't so many of those for the Fiat drivers.

Spitfire -- IMO, this is THE under-appreciated and under-valued of the three mentioned. Here I like the look of the early examples -- not enough experience with the engines to comment on which year is best.

Whichever you go with my advice would be to get the very best one you can find. Even fabulous examples of these cars are still affordable and you certainly can't restore one for what a well-restored or nice original/survivor will sell for.

bnw
04-25-2012, 07:05 PM
The big Triumphs. Plain and simple. I own a repair facility and because I'm the local British car guy, I get to work on all the older British stuff around here. I will also, occasionally sell cars off the lot and I can tell you I can't keep the big Triumphs around for very long and usually get stuck with Spitfires and MGBs for ever. Just too many of them. The MGs are tighter, but the TRs are stronger, faster, and built to driven.

Marvin Gruber
04-25-2012, 08:43 PM
I'll get blasted but leave the Midgets, Spitfires and TR7's alone. Not a good first LBC. You have a chance of at least getting your money back with most of the others.

Marv

noKYtour
04-25-2012, 09:00 PM
Ok, you will definitely have to excuse my ignorance here but what are the bigger LBCs? Please don't tear me up too much!

Andrew Mace
04-25-2012, 09:05 PM
"Little": Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget
"Bigger/Medium": TR2-8, MGB, Austin-Healey 100/4, 100/6, 3000
"BIG": Most anything Jaguar, Aston-Martin and a few others

poolboy
04-25-2012, 09:16 PM
What ever you buy if it's 30 to 40 years old, you are going to have to make more repairs and do more maintenance than you may expect after the purchase.
Figure a thousand to fifteen hunderd dollars the first year, a little less per year thereafter if you're lucky and don't drive it much. These cars are hobbys. Just like golf or fishing, you got to pay to play.
Go into this hobby with your eyes wide open and you'll enjoy the ride.

noKYtour
04-25-2012, 09:27 PM
"Little": Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget
"Bigger/Medium": TR2-8, MGB, Austin-Healey 100/4, 100/6, 3000
"BIG": Most anything Jaguar, Aston-Martin and a few others

Thanks for sorting those out. I'll likely be out of the big category simply because of price.

DougF
04-25-2012, 09:36 PM
Join a club, or two, and talk to the members. Go for a ride or better yet, a drive. Learn what to look for when buying the cars.
Buy what you like.

glemon
04-25-2012, 10:15 PM
I don't disagree about the small medium big list, but your own size and shape enters into it too. A TR4-6 has pretty good leg and head room but is narrow, The Healey is wider, but the 100/4 at least is a little short on headroom with the top up (though not that big an issue for most as these are now fair weather cars). The MGB is decently roomy all around, but I had a slightly short and roundish guy (not hugely big by any means) drive my old MGB and he said he just didn't fit. To be blunt some people have an issue with belly/steering wheel clearance.

You might want to try them on for size before you buy. If you have been driving trucks and SUVS your whole life any of these cars will feel tiny. If you have had some smaller cars maybe not so much.

Also, although you already said it is not in your range, Jag E-type is a slightly bigger car, but no bigger in the cockpit than an MGB or TR, the big six takes up a bit of the extra space.

Oh yes, a bit of a diferent animal, but if you find the cars a bit small the TR7 is bigger in the cockpit, but much less vintage in feel. Since you mentioned a Fiat 124 you might also look at an Alfa Spyder, lots of them still around.

I have had MGs Triumphs and Austin Healeys, and driven the other cars mentioned here. Pick the one that strikes your fancy, either from the driving experience or looks or both, if you were in the market for practical you'd be looking at used Tauruses and Corollas and Subarus and such.

noKYtour
04-25-2012, 10:40 PM
Thanks glemon. I'm average height and "American weight" if that makes sense. I'm working on going to see a Spitfire this weekend now and hope to see an MGB this weekend too. I'll definitely keep the fit factor in mind.

noKYtour
04-25-2012, 10:41 PM
I have had MGs Triumphs and Austin Healeys, and driven the other cars mentioned here. Pick the one that strikes your fancy, either from the driving experience or looks or both, if you were in the market for practical you'd be looking at used Tauruses and Corollas and Subarus and such.

And yes, this car is definitely for fun, not practicality.

glemon
04-25-2012, 10:59 PM
If you are avarage height and weight (I think I am in that ballpark too, 6'0" 205) Fit shouldn't be too bad in either one. Have fun and report back, if you are thinking Spitfire or MGB there are still a good number around, so pick a good one. Report back here with your findings, you'll get plenty more advice.

drooartz
04-26-2012, 07:26 AM
Whichever you go with my advice would be to get the very best one you can find. Even fabulous examples of these cars are still affordable and you certainly can't restore one for what a well-restored or nice original/survivor will sell for.

Geo hit it right here -- I made this mistake when I bought my first LBC (A TR4). Rusty with a tired engine. Had I waited even 6 months more to save a bit more money I would have been able to afford a car in much better condition. Wound up selling that TR4 for a loss as it was just way more work than I wanted to put in or could afford.

Mickey Richaud
04-26-2012, 07:29 AM
Well, now that you've been bombarded with input...

Drive 'em all; one of 'em will speak to you.

martx-5
04-26-2012, 07:32 AM
...I'm thinking about getting a convertible to drive and tinker on and am trying to sort out what is best for me.

I know I'm going to get lambasted here, but why not consider a Miata. An LBC that you only have to "tinker" on will most likely have to be a restored vehicle, or an original that is in very good shape. Either way, it won't be cheap, whereas a couple of thou can get you a nice, drivable Miata.

I own both a TR3 and a Miata, and all the tinkering I do on the Miata is only to upgrade stuff and normal maintenance. The TR3 took me four years and $16k worth of "tinkering" to get it into shape.

Whatever you decide on, as mentioned above, get the best that you can afford. If it is an LBC, I'm partial to TR's...the "big" Triumphs.

tr8todd
04-26-2012, 07:46 AM
Go to a British car show and ask for some rides in people's cars. Most car guys will be flattered to give you a ride, some will even let you drive.

Geo Hahn
04-26-2012, 08:12 AM
"Little": Triumph Spitfire, Austin-Healey Sprite, MG Midget
"Bigger/Medium": TR2-8, MGB, Austin-Healey 100/4, 100/6, 3000
"BIG": Most anything Jaguar, Aston-Martin and a few others

Good break-down but you omitted "Tiny" which anyone who has ever sat in or tried to drive a Lotus 7 would recognize as a separate category.

FordFiesta
04-26-2012, 10:01 AM
I'm a lazy person who's driven Model A Fords for 46 years, a TR3A for 37 years and Miatas for 18 years.

A 1990s "base model" Miata with the manual steering rack (not a de-powered PS one) feels a lot more like an LBC to drive, and retains enough of the vintage feel to be pleasant for a traditional British car driver. It makes a great halfway point between vintage and modern, and is "practical", as my wife would define the term. Highly recommended that you try one out.

Since I'm lazy when it comes to repairs, I've found that one of the easiest way to avoid fixing components is to have a car without them. Simpler is better in terms of fewer repairs, less down-time, and fewer parts to pay for. I've never had to repair a Model A Ford fuel pump, for example, because there isn't one - gravity works just fine.

So.....you might want to consider only vehicles (TR, MG, etc.) with solid rear axle designs, to avoid the unnecessary complications of old British independent rear suspensions. The IRS cars (I've owned 6 or 7 TR6s over the years) ride a little softer than solid axle cars, but there's not really all that much difference to our modern butts between them and earlier suspensions. And IRS cars have more parts to make odd noises, wear out, and require replacement - not even counting welding diff mounts back together.

Just my $.02 worth

GBRandy
04-26-2012, 10:02 AM
We really need to know about your mechanical aptitude or checking account :smile:

LBC's are fun and unique. They are fairly rare to see these days and there is a reason for that....

They can be a headache to keep running. If you need help changing the oil, you will need to have a pretty good sized reserve to maintain the car as it will spend time at the shop. Some people find that hard to accept....and the Miata is the right choice for them. (my dad bought his new and just put collector plates on it!)

I have spent more on parts in the past 25 years on my TR8 than the car is worth. I do all my own work. A rational person would not do what I did, but I like working on it and the driving part is simply the reward of research & work. Besides, it keeps me out of the bars :smile:

If your only motivation in buying a small convertible is to drive around with the top down, a LBC might not be the answer....these things require attention and love that only an insane person can provide. Sane people buy Miata's :smile:

If your motivation is part history, part, repair, part learning, part driving....well, an MGB, Spitfire, TR6 or TR8 would seem like a good place to start. as far as LBC's go, MGB's are pretty bloody simple to keep running....

George_H
04-26-2012, 11:54 AM
As others have said, "see what speaks to you". Find a local LBC car show. Look around, Trust me, something will speak to you. Then just match your wallet to the voice in your head.(Thats the hard part) I WANT a tr2, I DRIVE a tr7.

DanB
04-26-2012, 12:44 PM
Also take a look at a TR7 if you get the chance. You may be surprised. You didn't mention your budget(did you?), but considering the cars you are looking at I am guessing it is an issue, and the older TRs, (2-6) may be out of your price range. If that is the case, B's, Midgets, Spitfires, Sprites are all fun little cars but you can get a little bigger and more modern with the TR7 for about the same money.

Where in N. KY. are you? My brother lives on Gunpowder Road.

Dan B
S. Charleston, WV

noKYtour
04-26-2012, 12:45 PM
I posted the text below in the MG forum but it applies here too since some of the same questions have come up. It should give a little more background on me and what my interests are. Thanks for all the replies and things to consider. I should be looking at an MGB and Spitfire this weekend and plan on going to the local chapter meeting in a couple of weeks.

<span style="font-style: italic">Thanks for the suggestion. I considered the Mazda as you can find them relatively cheap and they are newer. That being said, I'm just not turned on by them. One of our family members has one and I've driven it around with the top down on my favorite country road. The experience was fun but it didn't leave me wanting more. In fact, I recently watched the "3 wise men" Top Gear special and Clarkson basically said the same thing. Something along the lines of him waking up and not really being excited about the car. I think I'd feel the same way in the long run.

Maybe some info about my background would be helpful for you (and me) in figuring all this out. I grew up in a garage with 70s Detroit iron, shoebox Chevys, and Corvettes. I've refinished an older 80s truck and 90s car although they were professionally painted. I've worked on planes, participating in complete restorations, and am not afraid to get my hands dirty. That being said, the projects have had other people around that had more experience than me and I'd be on my own more with this car. That's one reason I don't want a major project right now.

Another piece to the puzzle is that I want something that I can enjoy, either driving or tinkering when things need to be fixed. I had a new GTO and it was all wrong for me. I loved the car but felt guilty driving it because I was putting miles on it. At the same time I felt guilty for not driving the car because I was making payments on something to sit in the garage. I also wanted to keep it all original and didn't even want to get the windows tinted. All of these things are things I don't want with my next fun car, which is part of the appeal with the LBCs.

So, there's that. I'm not sure if it matters much but it gives some background on me and what I'm thinking that you didn't know before. Thanks for all the info so far. If nothing else it's fun to read and think about!</span>

tr8todd
04-26-2012, 05:25 PM
British car with beefy Detroit iron, easy to work, fun to drive, lots of on line support. Sounds like a TR8 should be on your short list.

toysrrus
04-27-2012, 12:25 AM
Hi There noKYtour,

Man, I guess you probably have a pretty good feel for what to look for in an LBC.

You may have an interest in this (?). A friend of mine here in the Greenville, SC area has a `90 Alfa Romeo Graduate Spider (Rossa Red Ext/Tan Int). He has recently refurbished the entire car. Complete new Interior, doors, panels, carpets etc. New paint, New Cloth Top, Nice clean engine bay &amp; runs like a Raped Ape. He`d probably accept $7K (FIRM) for the car.

This is what I would call a "Poor Mans Ferrari".

Should you have an interest send me a PM &amp; I`ll get you in contact with him.

Have Fun Shopping,

Russ

DanB
04-27-2012, 02:37 PM
I tend to agree with Todd most of the time. TR8 should definitely be considered, but I like the fact that you don't mind modifying the car to meet your wants/needs. Here is a link to my brother's car in Florence. Maybe you have seen it around, although not in the last several months because he is upgrading it. https://www.britishv8.org/MG/JimBlackwood.htm

You also may be interested in exploring the other examples on that site.


Dan B.
South Charleston, WV
66 TR4AIRS
80 TR7 DHC

noKYtour
04-27-2012, 08:45 PM
I drove a 74 Spitfire tonight and generally really liked it. I found the design to be much better in person than what I saw online. I loved that the entire hood flipped up, design of the fenders in the front, and the taper at the waist (just behind the doors). I also liked the fuel filler location as it seemed kind of like a race car.

The 74 had the 1500 cc engine and I was surprised at the HP it produced. I won't say I'm disappointed by the power, just that I thought there would be more before driving the car. The transmission was smooth and the car felt good and solid suspension wise up to 55-60 MPH (didn't go any higher because of the road). I think it also fit me well and I had a fun time driving it in mixed traffic on everything from subdivision streets to 5 lane major roads.

My plan is to drive 79 MGB sometime this weekend so I'll have a comparison. After I drive both I'll start thinking about which one I like more and then focus my search. Thanks again for all the great advice so far, the process has been fun to this point!

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 02:46 PM
I'm looking at another Spitfire and got this response when asking about problems.

<span style="font-style: italic">Totally drivable but long term the gear shift is loose but shifting is no problem.</span>

Any thoughts as to the severity of this problem?

KVH
04-29-2012, 05:10 PM
Go with what really excites you, but don't ignore warning signs. Make sure everything else is OK, and ask around about what the "fix" would entail.

I like this car, but you'd only have two hours, and it's a whole new program. It's all such fun!

https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1962-Triu...=item4d00770c1c (https://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/1962-Triumph-TR4-Rust-Free-West-Coast-Car-Well-Sorted-5-Speed-/330720283676?pt=US_Cars_Trucks&amp;hash=item4d00770c1c )

noKYtour
04-29-2012, 09:33 PM
I think I like the Spitfire the best between it and the MGB. to me it seems to be more of a sports car and the MGB seems to be more of a touring car. I like the design better and the interior seems to fit me better. Guess I just found my focus! Oh, and thanks for the suggestions about other cars. Honestly, these two models fit my price range more so it's likely one of these or nothing.

tdskip
04-30-2012, 08:34 AM
Often times shift quality can be addressed with $30 of linkage bushings on a Spitfire, so don't let that put you off. Earlier Spitfires have a more rev happy engine than the 1500 you drove, but handling isn't as secure when pushing. 1500 has more torque for just puttering about.

Look for a car with an overdrive if you can find one both on an MG or Triumph, it will make a huge difference in how usable the car is on modern roads.

MGB is more powerful, roomier and more comfortable. Spitfire, if properly sorted, is more nimble and involving of an experience. MGB will feel more solid as a unibody car, Spitfire will make everything feel like you are going 10-15 mpg faster than it is (which is a different type of fum).

If you drive both you'll know which is for you. Regardless buy the best one you can afford, it will be cheaper long term and more fun to start. Don't worry too much about interior trim, buy on body condition first then mechanical condition then other considerations.

Last note - a Fiat 124 or Alfa Spider are totally different cars than these other choices. They are both much more modern in engine and drivetrain and they will walk away from either an MGB or Spitfire in most driving conditions. They are also more complex cars with FI systems (assuming they haven't been removed), Alfa parts are significantly more expensive in general and Fiat parts are a bit harder to find. Both are harder (relatively speaking) to wrench on than an MGB or Spitfire.

(Disclosure - I've owned a couple MGB, a 1500 Spitfire, TR3 - TR8, and have an Alfa Spider)

LexTR3
04-30-2012, 12:45 PM
Just about everything that could be said about selecting one of these cars has been said in this thread. All good advice. I'll add my 2 cents worth, for what it worth.

(1) If you buy an early Triumph (TR2, TR3, TR4), be ready for a "love-hate" relationship. You'll love it when its cruising down the road, and you'll hate it when it needs to go into the shop. (Actually -- "hate" is a bit stong. Perhaps "disappointed" or "frustrated" would be a better word.)

(2) An early Triumph will give you more power on the road than an early MG, which is important if you want to do some cruising. Although, in my opinion, there's nothing more beautiful than an early MG.

(3) If you aim is to make "an investment," and I don't think it is, then put your money into a higher mark antique or vintage car. Problem is: such cars are really expensive and you have to think twice about taking them out on the road.

(4) Unless your Triumph, assuming you choose one of these, has been totally restored and updated with modern components (generator, starter, radiator, distributor, for example), count on having it in and out of the shop, or working on it yourself, for -- say -- two years until it is "entirely" dependable and safe. Good news, however, is that when you finally reach this point, you should be good to go for a long time assuming you keep it properly maintained. These cars are pretty tough and relatively simple.

(4) As someone has written: we'd have to know how mechanical you are or are willing to be. If you are starting from scratch -- as I did -- you will have an education before you that will be very satisfying at times and frustrating at other times. A good shop nearby you can help. The good guys in this Forum can also help a lot!

(5) If you want a relatively trouble free car, then a Miata or something equivalent is the answer. And they are "fun," to an extent.... But if you are willing to put up with a car that periodically needs work/tinkering/maintenance, then one of these early British cars is for you. They are great fun... when they are working properly. And a Triumph will draw a lot more attention than a Miata.... which is not that important but does make for some great conversations.

DanB
04-30-2012, 12:58 PM
Later model Spitfires already have alternators and are fairly modern in comparison to a TR3. They made them up to what 79?
If you want to look at how one can be modified/upgraded, check out the site I pointed to you you earlier in the thread, where my brother's B is. There are several.

Dan B
So. Charleston, WV

KVH
04-30-2012, 04:55 PM
I think it's good to assume that some mechanical know-how, and patience and understanding, will be very important for any of these older LBCs, and the love-hate relationship, to the extent it existed at all, extended far beyond the early cars and, in the view of some, developed into a straight on bitter, hate-only relationship with some of the later models.

I'd go with your instinct, what excites and "fits" with your taste, and what you see yourself driving. I'd check parts availability, including body panels.

If my recollection is correct, Spitfires were built for the better part of 20 years, with nearly 200,000 produced. I'd research your model just to be comfortable.

Good luck. Make if fun.

TR3driver
04-30-2012, 05:37 PM
(1) If you buy an early Triumph (TR2, TR3, TR4), be ready for a "love-hate" relationship. You'll love it when its cruising down the road, and you'll hate it when it needs to go into the shop.

I disagree with that statement, at least to some extent. At this point, all Triumphs are over 30 years old, so they are all subject to all the ailments of old cars. But the sidescreen TRs are about as simple as it is possible for a car to be, and built with primitive (by today's standards) materials and techniques. They are easier to work on than any other car I've owned, and the parts are readily available and cheap. And they can be made reliable (provided you keep up with the periodic maintenance).

I covered probably 200,000 miles with my (now wrecked) TR3A over the course of 20 years or so of driving it to work almost every day (and it already had well over 100,000 when I got it). In all that time, I can only think of once when it didn't get me home (and that was caused by my stupidity/cheapness in trying to reuse a locktab that should never be reused). By way of contrast, my wife's Toyota Camry (with about the same mileage) stranded her on the freeway twice in just a few years.

The water pump I installed around 1987 (and moved from the TR3A to the TR3) finally started to leak the other day. I took the radiator cap off, filled the radiator at a gas station, and drove it home. Took me perhaps 3 hours to change the pump (which included making a gasket as the one packed with the pump was broken), but I work slowly. On my 95 Buick "LBC support vehicle", the flat rate manual says something like 8 hours to change the water pump (which is supposed to be done every 100,000 miles when you remove the pump to get at the distributor).

And if you can master high school auto shop, you can do 90% of everything these cars need. I rebuilt my first TR3A engine the year after I got out of high school (but I never took auto shop). That was 1974 (IIRC) on Dad's TR3A and that engine still runs today (although the body shop never did finish the body work so it hasn't been driven very many miles).

And lest you think it takes a lot of tools, I did that first rebuild with the car parked in the yard (in the snow no less), with nothing more than a Craftsman "Mechanics" tool set and some ramps and whatnot. Ok, I got lucky, the crank and cam didn't have to come out; but that was new liners, pistons, piston rings, rod and main bearings.

mgf
04-30-2012, 06:53 PM
(1) If you buy an early Triumph (TR2, TR3, TR4), be ready for a "love-hate" relationship. You'll love it when its cruising down the road, and you'll hate it when it needs to go into the shop.

I disagree with that statement, at least to some extent. At this point, all Triumphs are over 30 years old, so they are all subject to all the ailments of old cars. But the sidescreen TRs are about as simple as it is possible for a car to be, and built with primitive (by today's standards) materials and techniques. They are easier to work on than any other car I've owned, and the parts are readily available and cheap. And they can be made reliable (provided you keep up with the periodic maintenance).

I covered probably 200,000 miles with my (now wrecked) TR3A over the course of 20 years or so of driving it to work almost every day (and it already had well over 100,000 when I got it). In all that time, I can only think of once when it didn't get me home (and that was caused by my stupidity/cheapness in trying to reuse a locktab that should never be reused). By way of contrast, my wife's Toyota Camry (with about the same mileage) stranded her on the freeway twice in just a few years.

The water pump I installed around 1987 (and moved from the TR3A to the TR3) finally started to leak the other day. I took the radiator cap off, filled the radiator at a gas station, and drove it home. Took me perhaps 3 hours to change the pump (which included making a gasket as the one packed with the pump was broken), but I work slowly. On my 95 Buick "LBC support vehicle", the flat rate manual says something like 8 hours to change the water pump (which is supposed to be done every 100,000 miles when you remove the pump to get at the distributor).

And if you can master high school auto shop, you can do 90% of everything these cars need. I rebuilt my first TR3A engine the year after I got out of high school (but I never took auto shop). That was 1974 (IIRC) on Dad's TR3A and that engine still runs today (although the body shop never did finish the body work so it hasn't been driven very many miles).

And lest you think it takes a lot of tools, I did that first rebuild with the car parked in the yard (in the snow no less), with nothing more than a Craftsman "Mechanics" tool set and some ramps and whatnot. Ok, I got lucky, the crank and cam didn't have to come out; but that was new liners, pistons, piston rings, rod and main bearings.

Very encouraging post as I'm about to begin my 2nd journey with a TR3-A. The 1st was 49 years ago with a 1960 &amp; this one
,the Lord willing, will be with a 1959. The only problem I remember having was starting on some of our deep freeze Ohio
winter mornings. I used a spray can of "Quick Start"?. The reason I sold it was my eldest daughter's legs began to restrict my shifting. She sat in the middle of the jump seat &amp; the other 2 sat on each end. When Dad said, "Lets take a ride in the TR", their eyes light up &amp; they were ready to go!
And needless to say, Dad loved driving it. GOOD memories!

Thanks, Randall

FordFiesta
04-30-2012, 08:56 PM
A Model A Ford is simpler, but not much, and as sports cars go, a TR3 is stone-axe simple to work on. An early TR4 may be even more so, because of easier under hood access.

tdskip
04-30-2012, 09:09 PM
Agree with Randall, you'll have more variance based on how the car was maintained than the year of manufacture.

LexTR3
05-01-2012, 12:11 PM
Randall... yep... I immediately took back my "love-hate relationship" statement in my posting.

But it's useful to be reminded that these cars can be temperamental at times -- not related to age -- because of their components. A new car, run essentially by computers, are more consistent in their performance (electronic fuel injection, etc., etc.). Of course, when a "new" car goes down, the repairs are going to be time-consuming, costly, and often difficult (Take replacing an air bag, for example!!!).

No matter how much we love these old cars, and no matter how basic ("Primitive") they are, an owner needs to be prepared to spend time working on them, more so than a new car. And as I had one of these TR3s back in 1962, I can say that it was the same back then when they were "new."

All that said... I wouldn't trade my '58TR3A for anything else.

I think Randall "wrote the book" on these early Triumphs (or at least should write the book). But I think Poolboy had it right: "Go into this hobby with your eyes wide open and you'll enjoy the ride."