Friday, 15 May 2009

Wotcha!

Well I started a Blog years ago, and like a real mungo forgot how to re-new. So here goes, hopefully after writing some notes down I may do better this time?

I will use this Blog to talk about my cars and my interests, these being music, books, football and film. I can be a bit anal about music so I must apologise in advance if I get a bit sad and rant on about good bands and crap bands!

I am Secretary of Club Triumph, a National Car Club (1450 members) that is dedicated to the use and up keep of old Triumph cars. Bloomin' excellent club full of great people, some of whom I will discuss (look out) and one that also happens to organise great car events! Mine is the usual story within CT, took part in the Round Britain reliability Run and found I liked the Club and stayed.

I work for a company called Spadeoak Construction Co. Limited. A great place to work that is staffed by some top people, some who have become good friends of mine. There are also one or two losers at work, but hey, ain't that always the way! Most of my colleagues think I am a bit of an anorak as I am into old cars, but what is wrong with knowing the torque setting of Triumph 6 cylinder head nuts-essential info if you ask me!

I own 4 Triumph cars, these being:
1970 GT6 mk2 (Pic above): I have owned this little car for over 25years and obviously am very keen on the car. Most of the work on the car has been done by me apart from welding and painting, and a bit of spannering. During these years I use the old thing for many activities, endurance events, track days, rallies, autosolos, commuting(!) and of course going down the shop to get the paper. Thinking about it I even used her for a bit of courier work when I was a self employed courier, did'nt get much into her but a few sacks of mail but I seem to remember I got paid well for the particular collection - broke one of the luggage boards though.

So much has been done to the car, and without being deadly dull I think I am now on the third engine, fifth gearbox, and fourth diff. The car has been painted two times during my tenure, the last job done about 5 years ago is not lasting very well and will almost certainly need doing in a year or so. Rot is starting to break out again, so I will need to source a good bodywork shop, I may possibly use Karl Dandridge if he can manage to look after himself!

The car is not extremely modded, apart from the lack of rear bumpers and the addition of Revolution alloys looks almost standard. The car has Canley Classic CV driveshafts, the CC big front hub kit, a J type overdrive, 3.63:1 diff and a slightly modified engine with SU HS6 carbs fitted. I have no plans for the car other than the fitment of some alloy brake calipers, basically I intend to just use the car for the future.

I have just completed a Track Day at Cadwell Park with various friends and mates with Club Triumph. The little car did ok after I had changed the rear UJ on the propshaft. She ain't the fastest GT6 but has quite neutral handling and is very easy to drive at 80-90%. A week before the TD I used the car for a Oxford Motor Club Autosolo event at Silverstone. The little car did really well as it was 'Double Driven' by Katie Foreman, Doug's daughter. I just lost first place in the 'Historic' class by a second or two to a lovely prepared Mini (Cocked up my last test by wrong slotting) and managed to beat Katie by 0.3sec! She did very well considering she had not driven a GT6 since driving 'Bob' her father's red mk3 a couple of years ago-this was all a bit annoying actually-I think she would almost certainly beat me next time if she uses the car.

The next event that I think I will use the car for is the La Carerra Caledonia, Jim McGuiness' superb Touring event in Scotland set for the first weekend of June. Loads of Club Triumph members are going up for the event, so it should be a good giggle. Good roads, good company and a few drinks in the evening-sounds good eh!

Otherwise I will use the car for the Club Triumph Autosolo that is set for 19th July, this is shaping up into a superb event, I hope we manage to get 40 cars taking part. Could be some serious needle as many within the Club fancy themselves as good drivers and this will be the first time that CT has offered a competitive event in nearly 30 years and therefore given members the chance to compete amongst themselves! I am confident that GT6s will come near the top as they are so suitable for this discipline owing to their small size, the ease of placing them and the torquey nature of the six-cylinder engine.

1969 2.5Pi Mk1: Bought this old car in 2004 from a chap called Andy Topp in Dorset. What a fantastic car, Andy had looked after her, all the work that he had done was of a high standard. However as I have done some serious motoring in the big car I have had to replace the diff and gearbox. She has a 28% J type overdrive that coupled with 15'' wheels and 65 profile tyres results in 27/1000rpm in o/d top. This enables the old beast to eat the mileage up making the car very suitable for long distance motoring.

The car should be fitted with Lucas Petrol Injection, however when I bought her she had a set of SU HS6 carbs from a 2500S model fitted. I have all the old injection kit, but am hesitant to fit at present as the car is so reliable. I may have to embark on a engine re-build soon so will think about fitting the PI kit then? Otherwise the only mods apart from a bit of suspension work has been the addition of alloy body panels: Doorskins and bonnet. This work was done last year by a company run by my mate Steve Waddingham, and what a superb job, best thing that can be said is that these panels which were hand formed are indistinguishable from the old steel panels. They also stamped some louvres into the bonnet to give the car a nice ex-works touch. This has proved to be a valuable cooling aid, knocking the engine temp down by 5 degrees C. Again the car is fitted with Revolution wheels which do set the car off nicely.

The last use for the car was the Club Triumph Historic County Run, unfortunately the nearside wheelbearing failed, this resulted in a 6 hour trip home on the back of a car transporter! Apols. to co-driver and fellow grey mk1 owner James Carruthers for this-shockingly poor maintenance!

The next major use for the car is the Club Triumph 10 Countries Run in September, CT Mate Dave Kent is accompanying me, just hope the car is ok as we will be heading to Andorra-bloomin' long way or what!

1962 Herald Coupe: Bought this little car in 2006 and have only driven her 31 miles. I have great plans for this car, I have already re-built the suspension and brakes and fitted a 3.63:1 diff. The next work is to fit a J type o/d gearbox and a racy engine. Other mods are the fitment of some nice 5.5J solid Dunlop wheels that I have just bought from CT Member Clive Senior, these wheels are now ultra rare and I think a nice period touch. I suspect they will not be much good from the aspect of allowing cool air to hit the brakes, but hey, style over substance! I also bought a full cage from renowned Herald racer Kevin Hadfield, this will be fitted when I have the bodywork tidied up by the aforementioned Karl Dandridge later this year. At present I am awaiting my cylinder head back from Roy Burrell Engineering in Coventry, once back I have to source some clutch parts and then it will be all steam ahead to get the car running.

Once back on the road I will use her for some of the events that the GT6 is used for, possibly the RBRR next year?

1977 Dolomite Sprint: Umm, not too good this one. Bought in 1994 and hardly used since. I must get stuck into this car next year, a good reason to finish off the Herald! No real plans at present, but one or two thoughts tat are to probably to turn her into a Track day vehicle as these cars are so suitable for track work once the brakes are sorted. Nice predictable handling, but would it be as good as the 2.5?

Trouble with old Triumph motor cars is that they represent relatively good value for money (Apart from TR5s) making it too easy to suddenly end up with a collection. I have many friends within CT who have at least two of them, and as is the way, many have one on the road plus one in the garage being finished and another squirreled away ready to be started on once time is available. This a terrible situation that causes nothing but stress and angst. People only have to mention the words Dolomite Sprint to me and I start to feel terribly guilty, I have this fear of going to the lock up that the car is in and finding a pile of sandglow coloured dust-not good for the constitution!

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