Peter Moffett explains his long association with TR's
A story of my life with Triumph Sports Cars
I stated life as an apprentice motor mechanic in 1956 with a Vauxhall main dealer in Sheffield (do you remember the Wyvern and Velox models)? After a seven year apprenticeship, I was deemed to be fully qualified, and after many years, moving to various main dealerships, i.e. Ford, Austin, Morris, Rover, I was approached by the manager of Kennings, who had a garage in Crookes, servicing Rolls Royce cars. The Manager informed me that many Rolls Royce owners, had a Rover as their second car, and they wanted an experienced mechanic to look after these cars. I remember well the day, that the Foreman was struggling to get a Ford Corsair that he was servicing, to run, and he called me over, to ask my advice. On looking over the engine, I discovered that he had connected the plug leads in the wrong firing order. (Who would be a Rolls Royce mechanic)?
In 1966 I married my wife Barbara, also England won the World Cup (2 goals in 1) in 1968, I bought my first Sports Car, a 1964 TR4, painted in White, Reg number 600 DWE, this TR was a pleasure to drive, and fairly trouble free. The work I carried out was to fit an Overdrive, and check the engine oil level on a regular basis. A couple of years later my son, Craig appeared on the scene, and T.R's were not the ideal way to transport children, so it had to go. The next modes of transport were early sixties, various cars, such as the Ford Anglia's, Triumph Herald, and Vauxhall Victors.
After many years as a motor mechanic, I was fed up with having dirty greasy hands, and I only got breakdown calls, when it was pouring down with rain, so I changed my life style and took over my first Pub in 1971. My financial status improved, and I had a number of Rovers, including a TC (twin carb) V8 2,000 shape and 3 SD1's.
Around 1975, I was itching to have another TR, and located in Sheffield, a Shed green TR4, reg number ADH 901B, which was in a poor state, but the engine, ran. Having paid £400 for this car, I put in a garage at the rear of my Pub. As a Pub Landlord, I was working 7 days a week, and had little time to restore my project. Over around 8 years, I eventually carried out a total nut and bolt restoration, and repainted the car in its original colour of Black. I did some research on this TR4, and discovered, that the dynamo was a very up rated unit, using different brackets etc, for bolting to the engine. There were a couple of extra holes, drilled in the front bumper, possibly for fitting a flashing blue light, and warning bell (there were no sirens in those days). It is possible that this was an ex-police car, but my future inquiries could not confirm this. I also acquired a Surrey rear frame, and screen for £50.00 (those were the days)
In 1988, we had to end our careers as Publicans, because my wife suffered a double stroke, and we took early retirement. Due to us having to move from the Pub rather quickly, I bought a house in Rotherham. Unfortunately the house had no garage facilities, and I sold my TR4, after 25 years of Ownership. After a couple of years living in Rotherham, we moved to a bungalow in Dinnington, which had a garage.
After the usual work of fitting a new kitchen/ bathroom, and redecorating our bungalow, I was becoming very bored. Time was passing on and it was already the year 2000. I had always dreamed of owning a TR5, so I began the hunt, within a short time, I located a Barn find in Surrey.
My very good and long lasting friend Martin journeyed down to collect this TR5. The reg number was UYM 790F, and it was painted Conifer green. The car was a complete basket case, but I could not wait to begin the restoration, which took me three and a half years, to complete, my life was back to normal once again.
Having owned and driven this car for around 6 years, I was becoming very bored again, so the answer was to get another restoration project. The main problem was my garage, which was only a single unit, the answer was to move house once again. So we moved to a house in 2005, with room to build a double length garage, which was in Austerfield. After having a larger garage built, and all the usual things, like a kitchen and bathroom, etc, in 2006. I eventually located another TR5, reg number PRE 592F, in London; again it was a basket case. So with Martin's help, we drove to London, to collect this car. The car was painted Red and again I carried out a full restoration, which took about two and a half years, and for the first time, I owned two TR5's, and I decided to sell the Conifer green car.
`It was now 2008, and becoming, bored again, with not much to do to keep me occupied, apart from watching Corrie, and East enders, which I think is an olds fart thing, so without further ado, I began searching for another project. First I had to sell PRE 592F, to give me more room in my garage. At this time, I could not locate another TR5, so I purchased a TR250, which is the next best thing, to a TR5. This car was a TR250, I bought from the Manchester Area, and it was a one-hour drive away, with no registration number and painted Jasmine yellow. Again I carried out a full nut and bolt restoration, including changing it to Right hand drive. Finishing up with the car having an MOT and a British reg number of WWA 353F.
Time was quickly moving on, it was now 2010, and time to search for another project and unbelievably, I discovered another basket case in Cornwall. After some hard negotiations, Martin and I journeyed down to collect the car. This TR5 reg number HWL992F, with an original colour of Jasmine, was the worst, I have ever restored, floor pans and all four inner and outer wings, boot floor, upper rear deck and sides, etc. This restoration took about two years to complete and I drove the car for a further eighteen months, before looking for another project.
Going back to HWL 992F, I sold this car via TRGB and shortly afterwards, the new owner rang me and said with him living in Jersey, and only having a 40mph speed limit, he decided to sell this car. A well-known Classic car dealer advertised the car for £100,000, with a 25 percent discount, if bought immediately. I do not know if the car sold, but if every TR5, I have sold commanded this sort of money, my garage would have a Ferrari Deno, securely hidden away.
Back to watching Corrie and East enders again, but a life saver came along, my friend Conrad, rang me and asked if I would consider restoring a TR5, on behalf of his friend, a Farmer, in the Wolverhampton area, I agreed. Both Conrad and I drove down to Essex, to collect the car. This car is commission number CP928, and was another basket case, including re-placement of the bulkhead. The original colour was again Jasmine yellow, but the owner wanted Royal Blue. This restoration took me around two years to complete, but a few weeks earlier; I located another TR250, in Nottingham. This was an opportunity to keep me busy, so I bought it and stored it in a friends lock-up.
In 2014, I finished the restoration of CP928 and collected my latest TR250 project, commission number CD 1834, colour again Jasmine, and started another rebuild.
This restoration is very similar to all my previous projects; in replacing the Sills/ battery box and strengthening the rear diff mounts. Having the body Shot-blasted and etch primed, along with the Chassis. The engine was seized solid and I had a terrible job to remove the crankshaft, and pistons. In January, February, this year it was freezing in my garage and I took a sabbatical (changing my life style, to doing jigsaws instead of watching soaps on television)
With an improvement in the weather in March, I was able to get back to my project. The restoration is coming along now quite smoothly, and I am hoping to complete, this, 250 by the early summer, this year.
Since the year 2000, when I bought UYM 790F, I have over the years, bought and sold 3 TR5's, 3 TR250's, and restored CP995, for the guy in Wolverhampton. I was also voted in to become the Group Leader of our local White Rose group, the position I held for around 10 years.
As you are probably aware T.R's are the love of my life. They have kept me busy, plus the membership of the TR Register, and making of many friends (or so I think). Thank you for all the kindness you have shown me over the years.
The last thing I have to do is try to convince more members of our White Rose group to buy me a pint (or two) at our monthly meeting, because as you probably know, I am a poor old age pensioner.