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Archive for April 17th, 2008

the Toy Lives – or how my 1967 TR4A is my obsession again

Way back when, my Dad gave me a car. It wasn’t just any car. It was an oil dripping, hot running, fast idling, loud, smelly, beautiful British sports car. Oh man I loved that car and she hated me…alot. Clearly what she needed was not a money-bereft kid, but someone with tons of disposable income and some mechanical know-how. One day the headlights died while driving on the interstate. Another day the horn keeled over and refused to make a peep. The clutch went out at the same time as the brakes….

The years went by and my general of knowledge of how to keep my TR4A moving would make little gains. I knew how to check the brake and clutch master cylinders and what to put in them (very important discovery) . I knew to check the dashpots and how to keep them filled. I knew that finding someone to true my stupid wire wheels was impossible and that having new ones shipped was expensive (barf!). I knew that my car turned heads as I drove (loudly) down the street. And yet, I was no car guy, despite the combat boots & flannel.

At long last, all those little things came to a head and with one might heave, the Toy toppled from drivable beasty to garage ornament. It took a long, long time, but I finally found myself some actual car guys (thanks Keith & Bob! you saved me)

and while the quarters in my garage were tight, they were patient and strangely willing to spend time wedged in there poking around the car and explaining (thank you! thank you! thank you!) how things worked – or didn’t work as the case generally was – and how we were going to remedy that.

They got me motivated, convinced me I could fit under the car and the repair work got rolling with only one episode of me having my head squished by the vehicle (do NOT let someone lean on the car while your head is under the frame….bad idea…particularly with a large noggin’ like mine).

Flash forward 10 months and there was still work to be done. The Zenith Stromberg carbuerators needed tuned & timed (or something, the instructions were wonderfully hilarious…I should post them here), the oil needed drained and the oil filter replaced. I wanted to change the fuel filter, but apparently the Toy doesn’t have one. Throw in some bizarre phone conversations with the poor guys at Advanced Auto Parts (“I need a gasket for a 1967 TR4A Triumph fuel blahbittyblueblah.” “And who makes the Triumph?” “Uh, Triumph?”) a few sets of ruined clothes (oh yes, wipe my hands on the rags…not my pants, check) and your obligatory purchase of new tools and we were close…..so very, very close.

Over the last two days Keith & I have put in a lot of hours in the garage and I smell victory (although it could be just the hallucinogenic side effects from exhaust fumes & burning oil…I dunno). Tonight is do or die. Let’s Go!

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chris on April 17th 2008 in Vehicles