Rebirth of CF21890UO

 

The year was 1981 and I had just moved to South Florida the previous year as a 22 year old looking to escape the cold winters of Ohio. Before I left the Buckeye state for good I purchased a brand new 1980 Chevy Camaro, 3 speed manual transmission, no radio, no power anything, & no air conditioning! I headed to Florida in July and I don’t believe I even hit the Florida state line before I realized I had made a bad mistake. As cold as the winters were in Ohio, I found the summers in Florida to be as tough, especially in a navy blue Camaro with no AC.


After completing my first year in Florida I was set to begin the search for a new set of wheels with a cooler climate to it. I was driving down State Road 7 through Fort Lauderdale, dealer after dealer, more brands new & used to shake a stick at when WHAM!....there was the car I had coaxed my next door neighbor in New Jersey to let me sit in every day after school, a 1974 Triumph TR6. It may have been July again, and I’m sure I was sweating, but coolness ran through me as I tried to navigate a U turn across four lanes of traffic to make my way back to this dream car. I was probably salivating when the salesman walked up to me because he simply said “I can have it ready to go in about twenty minutes”. So I traded one car without AC, for another car without AC, but a convertible with cool written all over it. I remember driving that day until I ran out of gas, literally, because I soon found out the gas gauge wasn’t working! It didn’t matter, because love was blind. Love gave way to practicality & in 1985 the car was gone.


Fast forward 22 more years and I found myself without a fun car. Having had many great sports cars in between my TR6 and my Turbo 300ZX which I had just sold after 11 years, I was longing for something special. I scoured the Auto Trader magazine for months without finding a listing for another TR6. I then searched the internet and found The Roadster Factory website which had a small classified section with cars for sale. It was June of 2003 when I came across a listing for a 1974 TR6 for sale in Lancaster, Ohio only 30 minutes from my parent’s home. My father, who suffers from the same affliction for really cool cars as I do, was dispatched to see what kind of shape this baby was in. The report came back; the car has been sitting in a barn for the past 3 years having been torn apart, the good news was that the frame was straight and the body was relatively rust free. My father told me the engine, transmission & drive train were sitting on a shelf in this barn and hadn’t been cranked in over four years, every wire had been disconnected and was just hanging from underneath the dashboard, and the owner had cut away a small section of the floor to accommodate a small block Chevy engine

I’LL TAKE IT!


So for $3000 we got a flat bed and loaded up all the parts and went to work. My brother who is the family mechanic enlisted the help of some friends at Pat Archer Racing in Ohio to rebuild the engine & transmission. The cylinders had to be honed to accommodate slightly larger pistons; otherwise every other part & spec is stock. We spent as much on the engine as we did the entire car! But it is sweet. Originally we thought we could use the front quarter panels because the only rust on them was the section which actually holds the headlights, however after a few attempts to recreate such a piece I elected to buy two new panels from TRF, then remember saying “what the hell, send me all four quarters” if I only knew how long this project was about to take.


There was my prized possession sitting on rusty wheels with all four outer panels removed looking like a naked old man being prepped for surgery. This was the low point. Fall ran into Winter & Winter into Spring and before you know it almost a year had gone by before I got the call from TRF that the quarter panels had been shipped, “expect them any day”. I was up in Ohio visiting my folks and my car in July of 2004 when I saw the car for the first time in person. New metal adorned my car with precision welding work that was done locally in Granville, Ohio by a man that could have been a plastic surgeon. The seams on my car are as straight and gapped better than most work I’ve ever seen on a restoration, I was in heaven, again.

At this point Abe had painted  the engine bay and my brother had dropped the engine & transmission back into the car. At last it looked like we could see light at the end of the tunnel. That Fall Abe brought the car back to life with several coats of Triumph Maple Brown used on ’74 & ‘75 TR6’s, & sprayed the rear valance with fresh satin black. The wheels had been sand blasted and sprayed in silver, add to that a new set of Michelin redline tires and it was starting to look like a car again.  My father had taken the front grill & TR6 badge completely apart and hand cleaned and polished them until they became new again, he also sanded and spray  painted the steering wheel column satin black so as to give the whole interior that good “finished” look we were after. Of course you know that at this point we couldn’t put anything old back into the car, so piece by piece I replaced the dashboard, all the controls, buttons, hazard lights and steering wheel with new accessories to compliment the work that had been done. The gauges were taken apart and cleaned; however are all original and are working great. We were on our way.

I went back to Ohio for Thanksgiving later that year. My father told me Abe had made some progress on the car but didn’t elaborate; I knew Abe had many vehicles in his shop he was working on so I was trying to be patient. After arriving in town my father said lets go see your car, as we walked into the shop I could see the profile that I love so much from a distance. My father & I just stood and starred without a word said for a least five minutes just taking in the beauty of the work that had been done. My car had been brought back to life; all that was left to do was finish putting the interior back together. As important as it was for me to finish this project and do it right, I could tell my father was equally pleased with the job we had done. This meant allot to me.


In December of that year my father passed away suddenly. Aside from all the normal feelings of grief people experience when they lose someone close I felt shortchanged that I couldn’t get this project completed for him. Everything was put on hold.


It wasn’t until the following Thanksgiving that I was able to catch up with Abe who had been storing the car for me in his shop, I remember telling him that my father was thrilled with the work he had done and that visiting him and the car were the little things that made his day. The car was finished with the exception of a few interior details which I could do. The car would be shipped to Florida.


In January of 2006 the car arrived at its new home in Tallahassee, Florida. I quickly found my way to the fine people of The Temple of Triumph. With the help of these good “car people” I find help & reassurance that will keep my car & my father’s spirit driving the back roads for many years to come. To be continued…

 

 Andre Pozzuoli 5/2007