Our Triumph is Being Revived
Well, it was sitting in the garage for many, many years and we decided that it was time to give this car a new life and to start having some fun with it. This is a 1969 Triumph GT6+ that Dave bought in 1969. He is the one and only original owner, which is really quite remarkable for any car of this age (as we discovered at a recent British car show). Most cars this age have had at least two or three owners. It was last licensed in 1984 and has not been started in over 20 years. In fact it has mostly sat idle in the garage for over 25 years, with 57,000 original miles, and a full tank of leaded gas. Of course, turning on the ignition and starting it now after all these years would not be wise without first making sure that it is inspected and in good condition. So, it was our decision to have some professionals take a look at it and then have them work at reconditioning it back to a usable condition. As for as the exterior, interior, and non-moving parts, it is almost like new (especially after the polish job Dave gave it). It is totally free of any rust and is actually in very excellent condition because of it having been garaged. Those who have seen it have marveled at how new it actually looks.
While scouting for a place to have the car reconditioned, we discovered that there was to be a Western Washington All British Field Meet (ABFM) at Bellevue Community College on July 22nd, sponsored by the Puget Sound British Automotive Society. This is an annual event where British cars of years past come out of hiding and are displayed by their proud owners. This year's event was to be a salute to Triumph automobiles, and this caught our attention and provided us with the idea that maybe we ought to take this opportunity to get our car out of the garage. So, with a week to go before the event, Dave got busy with the polish rags and in just a few days had the car sparkling and ready to show off. On the morning of July 22nd, we then loaded the car on a trailer and headed for the Field Meet. Upon arriving, we were directed to where we would unload the car, which was right next to 6 other GT6 cars. It was amazing to see this many GT6 autos all in one place, as we had not seen another GT6, or one on the road for many years. None of the cars here belonged to original owners or had original paint or wheels, and most were modified in one way or another to give them more power or other benefits. Our car was the only one that was totally original, but ours was also the only one that was not running. All the others were displayed with their hoods up to show off their pretty engine compartments, but the hood on our car stayed down. Altogether, there were just under 700 British cars on display here; all of different kinds and ages - a truly impressive event.
Late in the afternoon (after the Field Meet closed), we loaded the car back onto the trailer and headed to the repair shop where we had made previous arrangements to have it reconditioned. It just happens that a husband of one of the gals that Diana works with at Cascade Bicycle Club is in the business of modifying race cars and reconditioning older cars. His name is Joe English and he owns Group 2 Motorsports in Seattle. He has a staff of dedicated professionals who obviously know what they are doing, as you find out when looking around the shop and seeing the kind of cars they are working on. Normally closed on the weekends, Joe met us at the shop and together we unloaded the car and pushed it into the shop with Diana behind the wheel.
The car is now undergoing a through reconditioning. The first step was to see if it would start (after initial preparations and using some new gas), and sure enough it started right up and sounded good according to Joe. But, it was not left to run long, because it was wiser to dismantle the carburetion, engine, and running gear to make sure that friction was not interfering somewhere. The plan was to make the car safe and reliable to drive and to make it so that it was of show quality under the hood. Joe will be contracting out some of the engine and mechanical work to Tom Eller who has a shop nearby and who is noted as the foremost expert on engine repair and restoration of Triumph, Healey, and MG motor cars in the Northwest. We told Joe to take as long as he needed to get the car working and looking good, but to keep the repairs within a reasonable budget. We have made periodic visits to see the progress being made and it is exciting to see what is being done and to contemplate being able to drive it down the road again. We think the car is in very good hands.