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Where did you drive to with your TR today

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Nothing quite so glamorous, but a first visit to Bicester. Alongside another dark blue 3A that had travelled from the Isle of Wight. Fascinating range of classic cars, and a few trucks and bikes on show. 'Hi' to Julien and Vera who were parked alongside in their white Stag (the TRs were at home).

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Belgravia Classic Car Show on Sunday. A few Triumphs and many millions of pounds worth of unusual and stunning cars.

A great day out.

Nigel

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Cirencester classic car show in the town centre on Sunday. A lovely event with only one TR, me! A brief visit by a superb Aston Martin DB3S. Very very rare, worth millions & a joy to behold.

 

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Back up to Bicester to park the TR6 there in preparation for our move to Yorkshire in July/August and it was my first drive since surrendering my licence following a seizure in 2018.

Was great fun!

Jon

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On 6/22/2019 at 10:16 PM, Andrew Smith said:

Today we drove from Santa Margherita on the Italian Riviera to Lake Como........and VUX has had to put up with some extremely hot weather at 32C!

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Cheers, Andrew

Hi Andrew,

I hope you have some time for Lago di Como.

Ciao, Marco

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On 6/24/2019 at 10:23 PM, Z320 said:

Hi Andrew,

I hope you have some time for Lago di Como.

Ciao, Marco

Hi Marco,

Many thanks for your recommendation to visit Villa del Balbianello whilst we were at Lenno on Lake Como, it was spot on - it was a short walk from hotel Lenno up a rather steep incline in 32C but well worth it to see the villa, it's absolutely stunning gardens and views:

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From Como we drove north to Lake Lucern, again with spectacular views

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Regards

Andrew & Bev

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Hi George, looks fabulous,  even some artistic pictures creeping in  !!

Keep on having a great time.

Conrad.

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17 hours ago, openroad said:

Hi George, looks fabulous,  even some artistic pictures creeping in  !!

Keep on having a great time.

Conrad.

Thanks Conrad, like most things to do withTR ownership, you have to get a little creative at times........

Cheers , 'George'

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Hello All

              A few from our trip to Spain & Portugal.

Roger and The Memsahib

Ps we can not wait to go back again

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Thames Valley Group monthly meet at The Surrey Oaks pub Newdigate.

   Sunglasses.thumb.jpg.65d179ecfe42e79cf178fa62524776d0.jpg  Surrey Oaks June 19.JPG

Edited by Lebro

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.

Brilliant.., just absolutely bloody brilliant ! 

I was invited to the East Saxon branch meeting of the TR register club, held at the Alma pub,  Copford, near Colchester, Essex on Thursady evening.  I only knew one gentleman (Rich) there,  but was made as welcome as any old friend might have hoped for.  BIG Thank You to all there.  I'm not sure exactly how many TR's were there but I believe there was a TR2, a TR3A, a few TR4's,  a couple of TR4A's (which is what I'm trying to buy) and then a pair of TR5's, perhaps half a dozen TR6's and just one TR8..

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^ the car sneaking into the photo’s background to the left is not a Triumph. I can't imagine what sort of person drives one of those to a TR club meeting.!  OK I admit to it.. it's my Citroen Ami-Super. 

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^ Two TR5's parked here along the road. And the equally gorgeous red car parked on the grass is a TR4A with Surrey hardtop fitted. When Rich introduced me to the owner, Mike, as being someone who was buying one,  he (Mike) looked up at my broad 6'-5" stature and simply said "you want to try it ?"   Well naturally I assumed he meant to sit in the car for size .. "Thanks ..yes that would be great, I would.”   Then he handed me the keys and said something to the effect of "better take her down the road then" !  ..and set about adjusting the driver’s seat as far back as it would for me.

Well to be honest I had a bit of difficulties getting in. Surprisingly, it wasn't a lack of headroom with the Surrey top on, but it was managing to get my legs and feet in. This car is fitted with Mazda MX5 shallow-bucket seats in leather.  In retrospect ; very comfortable and supportive, but these were limited by the runners not going back as far as they might have been.  The only way it was possible for me to get in was to exaggeratedly twist my knee under and the around the steering wheel ..fortunately a smaller diameter leather-rimmed one with a nice grip, but unfortunately with very shallow dish so it seems tighter to the dashboard. My leg had to fit between the wheel and the gearbox tunnel's H frame bracing ..and then to press the clutch fully to the floor as I lowered myself into the seat.  

There was no room in that car for me to slip my size-twelve brogues around the side of or under any pedal.  I grabbed and pulled my right knee up towards my chest to clear the relatively short sill.  It more easily unfolded again down around the wheel.  Once installed I could barely move.  Conversely, Mike slipped into the passenger seat as easily as if it were his favourite slippers.

My mind zapped with unspoken thoughts of whether it would be possible., let alone responsible for me to even try and drive this immaculate TR4A on a public highway.?  The sole of my right shoe was almost exactly the same width as the gap between the brake pedal and the outside face of foot well (Rhd car).  And to lift my foot off the clutch was to pull my vastus lateralis tight into the corner of H-frame and the dashboard.  Ok, it might just be possible to drive the car ..but what would happen in an emergency situation, would I be able to get a foot onto that brake. ?

I later discovered this car has a USB socket fitted just under the dash where my left leg needed to be.  Mike uses it for a digital ammeter, but for me it looses an inch or two of space into that corner.  My right foot would lift only as far as the pedal was off ..only by ankle movement. Thankfully the throttle movement is relatively short travel.  Still that amount of lift is just sufficient to then slip the foot sideways and across to the brake.

With the seat in that position, the steering wheel was possibly 12 - 14" off the Michelin tyre I wear ..so not exactly a straight-arm driving position for me.  And my right was tight against the padded-roll capping along the top of TR4A doors. I'm not sure Mike appreciated quite how tightly I was installed, but from his perspective I must have seemed like an old cloth sack over-filled with expanding foam. Looking on the bright side of things - I wasn't likely to slide about around corners. !

Here I was face to face with the TR4A's beautiful wooden dashboard and chrome rimmed 5" speedo and rev counter, each situated immediately in front of the driver, with minor instruments clustered central to the car with the black row of switches and ignition below.

With a blip of throttle, the motor burst into life. Two and a quarter litres of 4-cylinder long-stroke, and a slightly sporty camshaft - the orchestra was glorious.  The exhaust a nicely rounded tone, with a powerfully strong and discernible beat. Very nice indeed. 

It's been 25 years since I owned / drove a Triumph TR4 ..and momentarily I forgot about their fly-off handbrake. Nevertheless with that politely corrected I set to ease Mike's immaculate car forward across the grass.  Of course with most of the TRR group gathered immediately behind us ..watching and listening,  with ankle movement only and it being an unfamiliar car.. I stalled it.  

“It likes a few revs” Mike reassured me.  Restarted (..oh I do love the way these engines burst into life) and revs just slightly raised ..the car smoothly eased its way across the grass.  Remarkably controllable, easy and compliant, I followed Mike’s prompt and guided her down to the next driveway.  Very tentatively I poked the car’s long bonnet out into the road so that I  might see around the row of parked cars, and then we were onto the road. 

I looked to where I was to go and depressed the volume control and we were there. No drama just a firm push of acceleration through the comfortable armchair ..and instant transportation. To where I looked from where I was, every straight and every corner, road positioning was faultless.  I wasn’t even thinking, the car just moved itself in an unprecedented manner - reassuring, precise, super quick, fabulous acoustics and yet extraordinarily comfortable. 

I’ve heard the impression “just think and it would take you there” ..but this was a just matter of looking ..without even time to consciously think, and we were conveyed.!  There was no hint of the car’s handling, chassis or rear axle being upset, nor of under or over-steering, nor brakes not doing exactly what they were meant to ..so progressively, despite the road’s undulations, adverse cambers and the sometimes increasingly tightening corners of this tiny little Suffolk back road to nowhere.  This car was utterly exhilarating.   

Now into my sixties, I’ve owned and otherwise driven a number of very nice motorcycles and cars.  In fact as a (very much) younger man I used to design, build and drive very quickly, sport cars with a super low c. of g. and a terrific power-to-weight ratio ..and then I moved on (?) to driving decent production cars. Most memorable / favourites were the 850 Norton Commando (motorcycle),  the 1147cc MkII Spitfire (car),  a 998cc Mini Clubman,  a 3.3ltr 7-series BMW,  a 911 Porsche,  and a few (now classic) Jaguars.  And of course I’m well enough versed with (..what used to be) modern cars of the 90’s and hereafter.  But somewhere along the line I’d lost the joy of driving.  I put this down to restrictive speed limits and traffic, boring motorways, and otherwise sub-conscientiously recognizing that I must have lost the touch in my old age.  But after driving Mike’s TR4A I instantly realized that its the cars which have most changed.  I’m still that same foolish young man inside this greying outer persona.

As a self made businessman I went up-market in the type of car I drove, and as technology and design moved on, the more modern car became so capable and yet so insular that the driver in me was designated passenger doing little more than avoiding other users and giving directions.  In truth these modern cars don’t handle and steer so very well as Mike’s 1960’s TR.  Indeed their lack of feedback, the roll and easily induced tyre squeal, and the vagueness of the steering and unsupportive seats necessitate you back-off to a safe and controllable, sensible place.  In terms of top speed, fuel economy, highway comfort, safety and reliable practicality, ingress and exit - they are a best compromise. But man ! ..they are also nanny state mind-numbingly soul less.

From my admittedly short drive, it seems to me that the TR4A can be all absorbing to drive, as you feel everything but the discomfort of vibration and nasty noises.  But that ‘feel’ is a direct feedback to the driver.  Each and every very slight nudge in the seat of your pants or to your leg, shoulder, or finger tip ..caused by road irregularities or change in direction triggers an instantaneous response of subtle correction to the steering &/or the throttle. There’s no thinking involved it’s purely interactive (although that’s probably too modern a word for it) ..but whatever the word is, there’s a connection to what’s going on at every instant. That’s not easy or relaxed driving, but it sure as hell is FUN.

And the car is not so powerful (..as some I have experienced) which toys with you for control. But still., it’s more than adequate for spirited driving, and it looks after you. It let’s you know what’s happening in a calm and collective manner, to trigger your reflex response. And that’s positively stimulating.

We returned to the Alma (public house) and the car very quietly sauntered across the grass, back to the TR party.  If she were a mare then I think she’d have given a last shake of her mane.  I can barely remember such a great drive.  I want one ..and I want to head out to find many, many miles of still-unspoilt roads. 

Getting out of the car seemed much easier than my getting in. And as I later pointed out to Rich, I was surprised that headroom and visibility were not an issue for me, even though the roof was in place.  First impressions were that the interior of the car was rattle free, pleasantly quiet of mechanical and/or wind noise and very comfortable, although I suspect I would have liked more room if I were to be stuck in a summer-hot traffic jam.   

Massive thanks to Mike for his generously allowing me to experience a superb TR4A from the driver’s seat.  It reaffirms my decision to own one.  Only now I’m a little less patient.!

 

But the story doesn’t end there.. 

Mike suggested I ask Rich if I might possibly sit in his equally gorgeous ’62 TR4, which is fitted with later (slightly deeper padded) seats ..by way of direct comparison of the seating positions and the fact that the roof was down.  Rich was engrossed in conversation but half an hour later cleared a cardboard box out from behind the driver’s seat and invited me to try it.

Phew, I was being blown away by these guys kindness to me.   As I approached the car he handed me the keys.  ..Again I could only have hoped to be allowed to sit in the car, to try it for size, but no, he had placed the box on the passenger seat and encouraged me to take the car for a spin.  WOW !  on my own ?  “without you ?” accompanying me ?  I was anxious.  This was huge responsibility.

I soon settled into the driver’s seat. With its full size steering wheel it was even further a twisted knee to get my leg around the wheel but without a roof I could stand taller and with the seat being slightly further back (perhaps a couple of inches) ..overall ingress was much easier.  Without such things as the aforementioned USB port being fitted to the underside of the dashboard, I had more room to move. Not a lot but still an inch or two when previously there was none feels like liberation !

The right leg was similarly pulled in and unfolded down to the throttle, where I found half an inch clearance between the brake pedal and the side of the footwell - ample !  This seat was only a bit further back than those on Mike’s car but with the seat back's slimmer padding every fraction of an inch helps.  Rich helped with the ignition key (a matter of knowing the technique) and then I started her up. 

What a difference !  ..the audio arrangement peaked to a brief but wonderful crescendo of revs with the sharper tones of a stainless exhaust system. Throttle pickup seemed quicker but in truth I couldn’t say that was fact or just that it sounded so, with the louder tone and it being an open top.  It wasn’t at all offensive a sound track,  just a very different orchestra with more brass rather than bass guitar. 

First impressions of Mike’s TR4A was that the clutch was heavy to operate, but perhaps that was because of my being so tightly confined, because I never noticed it as soon as we were on the road.  Rich’s TR4 didn’t seem so from the outset.  I soon found reverse and eased the car out into the road. Rear visibility wasn’t of course an issue but I was trying to pull out from between parked cars.  Someone kindly stepped out into the road to guide me, again I think that was Mike. Thank you Sir.  And then I was gone.. I had looked 200 yards down the road and I was there, spot on where I wanted to be ..correctly positioned to see further along the road.  It seemed like an instant and the thought crossed my mind that I might have seemed a bit reckless in someone else’s car, so I eased off.  

The feel of this car was different.  No better and no worse than the 4A  just different. Perhaps that was because of it being open, the rasp of the exhaust note and the seemingly faster engine pick-up (both cars have lighten flywheels), or just because I felt more anxious about driving someone else superb-condition TR4 for the first time on my own.

An oncoming car sped around a corner and seemed very much over the middle of the road to me. The leather sleeve over this steering wheel moved a little as I responded, and then the branches of hedgerow trees seemed a little close.  I slowed a little to ‘be sensible’ ..but in truth I was a little too anxious to enjoy this drive as much as I had been with Mike’s quiet reassurance.  

Mike had been chatting as I drove his car, and I gathered by the tone in his voice that he wasn’t terrified.  But now I was driving Rich’s car and if something happened, even if that wasn’t directly my fault, then how the heck might I explain it.?  

Still it was great fun and exhilarating.  Does this car have lighter handling, or was the live rear axle giving a little more feedback on these undulating sometimes adversely cambered unclassified roads ?  Just a degree difference in tracking adjustment &/or a few pound in tyre pressure can make things feel lighter, and of course here I was driving solo, so the weight and its distribution was also slightly different.  My test drive was too short to ascertain what was what. The word, reputedly from the racing boys, is that the TR4 chassis is better when pushed hard.  Perhaps the 4A’s IRS is more forgiving for the novice ..but in skilled hands has lower limits.?  Conversely I might just have felt a bit more vulnerable in an open top.?  Although I ride motorcycles, I’m trying to remember when I last drove an open top car ?  Many years ago it seems.

Certainly Rich’s TR4 was more spacious ..both physically and visually airy (..white dashboard, which I do like, and with a very nice almost Wedgewood blue hue to the upholstery) ..and equally as comfortable as the 4A.  So I relaxed a little and simply enjoyed the drive, the feel, and this engine’s superb response.  I felt an instant rapport with Mike’s 4A but perhaps the TR4 takes a little more getting used, or was it that by now I was just thinking too much and felt someone else’s car in such exemplary condition was too precious to really enjoy ?  

I returned in a civilized manner and easily turned in to park.  The engine ticked over beautifully before I switched off.  The handbrake lever in the foot well was (again surprisingly) not an issue for my long legs, and its operation felt perfectly natural to me. I lifted myself out of the car with ease.  With the seat runners just another 2” or 3" further back then I don’t think I’ll have issues with living with a TR, but the full-size banjo steering wheel, even though I prefer its look - feels less responsive to drive with. Though it is easier for parking-speed tight maneuvers.

All in all - each car is BLOODY FANTASTIC !  ..no doubt it is the car I want.  I’m of a freakish size but even with inappropriately wide shoes and restrictive seat runner positions I can drive these cars safely and have more fun than I’ve had (when driving) for very many years.

As and when I get my car (..an abandoned-project 4A)  I can make things easier for ingress and getting out :  the size and dish of the steering wheel, the padded capping on the door, the choice of seat and its runners, clearing the underside of the dashboard, the door handles positions, and the pedal spacing., are the most obvious.  All in all the TR is a seat-of-the-pants sports car which is so incredibly capable.  My Jaguars were elegant, comfortable, fast and sublime ..but the TR4 / 4A communicates directly with me ..and is just so much fun.

Massive thanks to both Rich and Mike for letting me experience their fabulous cars in person. My own car will never be as pristine (..nor so precious) as theirs, but I hope it might achieve similar all-round competence as their cars amply demonstrated. 

I'm smitten !

Pete

 

Edit My apologies I should have said this welcome and introduction to the TR Register was of the East Saxon group  ..rather than the Essex group  ..who I'm sure are also a great group of friendly enthusiasts.  Furthermore the public house where they meet on the last Thursday of the month is at  The Alma,  Station Road, Copford,  conveniently just a short distance from the A12 (Marks Tey turning). 

And for those not in the know : The Battle of Alma was of the Crimea War (20th September 1854) with an alliance of British, French and Turks seeking to take the last stronghold hill before the strategic City of Sevastopol on the Crimea peninsula.  The Crimea War was ostensibly because of Russian Orthodox church was protecting Orthodox believers in Turkey and their Holy sites in the Holy Land, but was more about control of the Black Sea trading routes and its ports, and for Middle Eastern trade,  particularly with Turkey.  The battle of Alma was ultimately a victory for the allies but with huge losses on both sides, and the turning point came almost by accident when a British commander Lord Raglan sought higher ground to view the battle and found the Russian rear guard was unprotected. Ordering heavy guns to be brought up to that vantage place, which together with bombardment from the ships of the Navy pushed the Russians to retreat. However the allied failed to pursue,  and as a consequence the Battle of Balaklava, was fought just north of Sevastopol, six weeks later, and then The Battle of Inkerman. 

The Crimea War was a bloody conflict where so many more died from a lack of prompt prompt care for their wounds, and then infection and disease.  Most notably recorded as 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'  and 'The Thin Red Line' (of the Battle of Balaklava) ..using more modern rifles with a far greater accuracy and range,  But overall best remembered by the works of Florence Nightingale, and the subsequent changes in attitudes towards the care of the wounded and hygiene. 

Trench warfare was seen used in the defense of Sevastopol, and one presumes this was a successful strategy, because of course it was adopted for battle front tactics of the First World War. A further result of the war was that Austria, having sided with Great Britain and France, lost the support of Russia in central European affairs.  Austria became dependent on Britain and France  ..which failed to support that country,  leading to Austrian defeats in battle ; 1859 and 1866.  In turn this led to the unification of Italy and of Germany, with ramifications leading to the defining forces of the Second World War in Europe.

So there you go.

.

Edited by Bfg
reason : correction with apologies : East Saxon branch

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Out with 2 TR friends in 3 different TRs,

changed the cars, each one of us drove each TR, one TR6 PI, one TR6 Weber with hydraulic release bearing, and my TR4.

Very impressiv. By the way: hotest day of the year, 37°C.

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7 hours ago, Bfg said:

.

Brilliant.., just absolutely bloody brilliant ! 

I was invited to the Essex branch meeting of the TR register club, held at the Alba pub,  Copford, near Colchester on Thursady evening.  I had only met the one chap (Rich) once before but was made as welcome as any old friend might have hoped for.  BIG Thank You to all there.  I don't know exactly how many TR's were there but I believe there was a TR2, a TR3A, several TR4's one or two TR4A's (which is what I'm trying to buy) and then a couple of TR5's, perhaps half a dozen TR6's and just one TR8..

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^ the car sneaking into the photo’s background to the left is not a Triumph. I can't imagine what sort of person drives one of those to a TR club meeting.!  OK I admit to it.. it's my Citroen Ami-Super. 

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^ Two TR5's parked here along the road. And the equally gorgeous red car parked on the grass is a TR4A with Surrey hardtop fitted. When Rich introduced me to the owner, Mike, as being someone who was buying one,  he (Mike) looked up at my broad 6'-5" stature and simply said "you want to try it ?"   Well naturally I assumed he meant to sit in the car for size .. "Thanks ..yes that would be great, I would.”   Then he handed me the keys and said something to the effect of "take her down the road then" !  ..and set about adjusting the driver’s seat as far back as it would for me.

Well to be honest I had a bit of difficulties getting in. Surprisingly, it wasn't a lack of headroom with the Surrey top on, but it was managing to get my legs and feet in. This car is fitted with Mazda MX5 shallow-bucket seats in leather.  In retrospect ; very comfortable and supportive, but these were limited by the runners not going back as far as they might have been.  The only way it was possible for me to get in was to exaggeratedly twist my knee under and the around the steering wheel ..fortunately a smaller diameter leather-rimmed one with a nice grip, but unfortunately with very shallow dish so it seems tighter to the dashboard. My leg had to fit between the wheel and the gearbox tunnel's H frame bracing ..and then to press the clutch fully to the floor as I lowered myself into the seat.  

There was no room in that car for me to slip my size-twelve brogues around the side of or under any pedal.  I grabbed and pulled my right knee up towards my chest to clear the relatively short sill.  It more easily unfolded again down around the wheel.  Once installed I could barely move.  Conversely, Mike slipped into the passenger seat as easily as if it were his favourite slippers.

My mind zapped with unspoken thoughts of whether it would be possible., let alone responsible for me to even try and drive this immaculate TR4A on a public highway.?  The sole of my right shoe was almost exactly the same width as the gap between the brake pedal and the outside face of foot well (Rhd car).  And to lift my foot off the clutch was to pull my thigh tight into the corner of H-frame and the dashboard.  Ok, it might just be possible to drive the car ..but what would happen in an emergency situation, would I be able to get a foot onto that brake. ?

I later discovered this car has a USB socket fitted just under the dash where my left leg needed to be.  Mike uses it for a digital ammeter, but for me it looses an inch or two of space into that corner.  My right foot would lift only as far as the pedal was off ..only by ankle movement. Thankfully the throttle movement is relatively short travel.  Still that amount of lift is just sufficient to then slip the foot sideways and across to the brake.

With the seat in that position, the steering wheel was possibly 12 - 14" off the Michelin tyre I wear ..so not exactly a straight-arm driving position for me.  And my right was tight against the padded-roll capping along the top of TR4A doors. I'm not sure Mike appreciated quite how tightly I was installed, but from his perspective I must have seemed like an old cloth sack over-filled with expanding foam. Looking on the bright side of things - I wasn't likely to slide about around corners. !

Here I was face to face with the TR4A's beautiful wooden dashboard and chrome rimmed 5" speedo and rev counter, each situated immediately in front of the driver, with minor instruments clustered central to the car with the black row of switches and ignition below.

With a blip of throttle, the motor burst into life. Two and a quarter litres of 4-cylinder long-stroke, and a slightly sporty camshaft - the orchestra was glorious.  The exhaust a nicely rounded tone, with a powerfully strong and discernible beat. Very nice indeed. 

It's been 25 years since I owned / drove a Triumph TR4 ..and momentarily I forgot about their fly-off handbrake. Nevertheless with that politely corrected I tried to smoothly (read : gently) Mike's immaculate car forward across the grass.  Of course most of the rest of the TR group gathering stood immediately behind us ..watching and listening.  With ankle movement only and it being an unfamiliar car I stalled it.  

“It likes a few revs” Mike reassured me.  Restarted (oh I do love the way these engines burst into life) and revs duly raised ..the car smoothly eased its way across the grass.  Remarkably controllable, easy and compliant, I followed Mike’s prompt and guided her down to the next driveway. Very tentatively I poked the car’s long bonnet out into the road so that I  might see around the row of parked cars, and then we were onto the road. 

I looked to where I was to go and depressed the volume control and we were there. No drama just a firm push of acceleration through the comfortable armchair ..and instant transportation. From where I looked to where I was, every straight and every corner, road positioning was faultless.  I wasn’t even thinking, the car just moved itself in an unprecedented manner - reassuring, precise, super quick, fabulous acoustics and yet extraordinarily comfortable. 

I’ve heard the impression “just think and it would take you there” ..but this was a just matter of looking ..without even time to consciously think, and we were conveyed.!  There was no hint of the car’s handling, chassis or rear axle being upset, nor of under or over-steering, nor brakes not doing exactly what they were meant to ..so progressively, despite the road’s undulations, adverse cambers and the sometimes increasingly tightening corners of this tiny little Suffolk back road to nowhere.  This car was utterly exhilarating.   

Now into my sixties, I’ve owned and otherwise driven a number of very nice motorcycles and cars.  In fact as a (very much) younger man I used to design, build and drive very quickly, sport cars with a super low c. of g. and a terrific power-to-weight ratio ..and then I moved on (?) to driving decent production cars. Most memorable / favourites were the 850 Norton Commando (motorcycle), the 1125cc MkII Spitfire (car), a 1000cc Mini Clubman, a 3.3ltr 7-series BMW, a 911 Porsche, and a few (now classic) Jaguars.  And of course I’m well enough versed with (..what used to be) modern cars of the 90’s and hereafter.  But somewhere along the line I’d lost the joy of driving.  I put this down to restrictive speed limits and traffic, boring motorways, and otherwise sub-conscientiously recognizing that I must have lost the touch in my old age.  But after driving Mike’s TR4A I instantly realized that its the cars which have most changed.  I’m still that same foolish young man inside this greying outer persona.

As a self made businessman I went up-market in the type of car I drove, and as technology and design moved on, the more modern car became so capable and yet so insular that the driver in me was designated passenger doing little more than avoiding other users and giving directions.  In truth these modern cars don’t handle and steer so very well as Mike’s 1960’s TR.  Indeed their lack of feedback, the roll and easily induced tyre squeal, and the vagueness of the steering and unsupportive seats necessitate you back-off to a safe and controllable, sensible place.  In terms of top speed, fuel economy, highway comfort, safety and reliable practicality, ingress and exit - they are a best compromise. But man ! ..they are also nanny state mind-numbingly soul less.

From my admittedly short drive, it seems to me that the TR4A can be all absorbing to drive, as you feel everything but the discomfort of vibration and nasty noises.  But that ‘feel’ is a direct feedback to the driver.  Each and every very slight nudge in the seat of your pants or to your leg, shoulder, or finger tip ..caused by road irregularities or change in direction triggers an instantaneous response of subtle correction to the steering &/or the throttle. There’s no thinking involved it’s purely interactive (although that’s probably too modern a word for it) ..but whatever the word is, there’s a connection to what’s going on at every instant. That’s not easy or relaxed driving, but it sure as hell is FUN.

And the car is not so powerful (..as some I have experienced) which toys with you for control. But still., it’s more than adequate for spirited driving, and it looks after you. It let’s you know what’s happening in a calm and collective manner, to trigger your reflex response. And that’s positively stimulating.

We returned to the Alma (public house) and the car very quietly sauntered across the grass, back to the TR party.  If she were a mare then I think she’d have given a last shake of her mane.  I can barely remember such a great drive.  I want one ..and I want to head out to find many, many miles of still-unspoilt roads. 

Getting out of the car seemed much easier than my getting in. And as I later pointed out to Rich, I was surprised that headroom and visibility were not an issue for me, even though the roof was in place.  First impressions were that the interior of the car was rattle free, pleasantly quiet of mechanical and/or wind noise and very comfortable, although I suspect I would have liked more room if I were to be stuck in a summer-hot traffic jam.   

Massive thanks to Mike for his generously allowing me to experience a superb TR4A from the driver’s seat.  It reaffirms my decision to own one.  Only now I’m a little less patient.!

 

But the story doesn’t end there.. 

Mike suggested I ask Rich if I might possibly sit in his equally gorgeous ’62 TR4, which is fitted with later (slightly deeper padded) seats ..by way of direct comparison of the seating positions and the fact that the roof was down.  Rich was engrossed in conversation but half an hour later cleared a cardboard box out from behind the driver’s seat and invited me to try it.

Phew, I was being blown away by these guys kindness to me ..almost a total stranger. As I approached the car he handed me the keys.  ..Again I could only have hoped to be allowed to sit in the car, to try it for size, but no..  he had placed the box on the passenger seat and encouraged me to take the car for a spin.  WOW !  on my own ?  “without you ?” accompanying me ?  I was anxious.  This was huge responsibility.

I soon settled into the driver’s seat. With its full size steering wheel it was even further a twisted knee to get my leg around the wheel but without a roof I could stand taller and with the seat being slightly further back (perhaps a couple of inches) ..overall ingress was much easier.  Without such things as the aforementioned USB port being fitted to the underside of the dashboard, I had more room to move. Not a lot but still an inch or two when previously there was none feels like liberation !

The right leg was similarly pulled in and unfolded down to the throttle, where I found half an inch clearance between the brake pedal and the side of the footwell - ample !  This seat was only a tiny bit further back than those on Mike’s car but every fraction of an inch helps.  Rich helped with the ignition key (a matter of knowing the technique) and then I started her up. 

What a difference !  ..the audio arrangement peaked to a brief crescendo of revs with the sharper tones of a stainless exhaust system. Throttle pickup seemed quicker but in truth I couldn’t say that was fact or just that it sounded so, with the louder tone and it being an open top.  It wasn’t at all offense a sound track, just a very different orchestra with more brass rather than bass guitar. 

First impressions of Mike’s TR4A was that the clutch was heavy to operate, but perhaps that was because of my being so tightly confined, because I never noticed it as soon as we were on the road.  Rich’s TR4 didn’t seem so from the outset.  I soon found reverse and eased the car out into the road.  Rear visibility wasn’t of course an issue but I was trying to pull out from between parked cars.  Someone kindly stepped out into the road to guide me, again I think that was Mike. Thank you Sir.  And then I was gone.. I had looked 200 yards down the road and I was there, spot on where I wanted to be ..correctly positioned to see further along the road.  It seemed like an instant and the thought crossed my mind that I might have seemed a bit reckless in someone else’s car, so I eased off.  

The feel of this car was different.  No better and no worse than the 4A  just very different. Perhaps that was because of it being open, the rasp of the exhaust note and the seemingly faster engine pick-up (both cars have lighten flywheels), or just because I felt more anxious about driving someone else superb-condition TR4 for the first time on my own.

An oncoming car sped around a corner and seemed very much over the middle of the road to me. The leather sleeve over this steering wheel moved a little as I responded, and then the branches of hedgerow trees seemed a little close.  I slowed a little to ‘be sensible’ ..but in truth I was a little too anxious to enjoy this drive as much as I had been with Mike’s quiet reassurance.  

Mike had been chatting as I drove his car, and I gathered by the tone in his voice that he wasn’t terrified.  But now I was driving Rich’s car and if something happened, even if that wasn’t directly my fault, then how the heck might I explain it.?  

Still it was great fun and exhilarating. Still it was great fun and exhilarating. Does this car have lighter handling,  or was the live rear axle not quite as surefooted on these undulating sometimes adversely cambered unclassified roads ?  Just a degree difference in the steering tracking adjustment can make such a difference.   My test drive was too short to ascertain what was what. The word, reputedly from the racing boys, is that the TR4 chassis is better when pushed hard.  Perhaps the 4A’s IRS is more forgiving for the novice ..but in skilled hands - has its limits.?  Conversely I might just have felt a bit more vulnerable in an open top.?  Although I ride motorcycles, I’m trying to remember when I last drove an open top car ?  Many years ago it seems.

Certainly Rich’s TR4 was more spacious ..both physically and visually airy (white dashboard ..which I do like) ..and equally as comfortable as the 4A.  So I relaxed a little and enjoyed the drive and this engine’s superb response.  I felt an instant rapport with Mike’s 4A but perhaps the TR4 takes a little more getting used, or was it that by now I was just thinking too much, and felt someone else’s car in this sort of condition was too precious to really enjoy ?

I returned in a civilized manner and easily turned in to park.  The engine ticked over beautifully before I switched off.  The handbrake lever in the foot well was (again surprisingly) not an issue for my long legs, and its operation felt perfectly natural to me. I lifted myself out of the car with ease.  With the seat runners just 2” further back then I don’t think I’ll have serious issues with living with a TR, but the full-size banjo steering wheel, even though I prefer its look - feels less responsive to drive with. It is easier for tight parking-speed maneuvers, though.

All in all - each car is BLOODY FANTASTIC !  ..no doubt it is the car I want.  I’m of a freakish size but even with inappropriately wide shoes and restrictive seat runner positions I can drive these cars safely and have more fun than I’ve had (when driving) for very many years.

As and when I get my car (which is an abandoned-project 4A)  I can make things easier for ingress and getting out :  the size and dish of the steering wheel, the padded capping on the door, the choice of seat and its runners, clearing the underside of the dashboard, the door handles positions, and the pedal spacing., are the most obvious.  All in all the TR is a seat-of-the-pants sports car which is so incredibly capable.  My Jaguars were elegant, comfortable, fast and sublime ..but the TR4 / 4A communicates directly with me ..and is just so much fun.

Massive thanks to both Rich and Mike for letting me experience their fabulous cars in person. My own car will never be as pristine (..nor so precious) as theirs, but I hope it might achieve similar all-round competence as their cars amply demonstrated.    

I'm smitten !

Pete

!!!

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Pete,

What a great report of your day and the experience of driving a TR4/4A for the first time in 25 years; and what a great advertisement for the TRR and, in particular, the Essex Group.

Thanks so much for such an in depth description of the experience!!

(For what it's worth, having owned both 4 and 4A I'm a fan of the earlier car.  But it's definitely a matter of taste only, as I think both are great cars to drive.)

Cheers,

Tim

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Pete

What a great read , I hope you soon get on the road and enjoy TR driving there's nothing like it.

How nice to also hear what a great bunch of folks are in the Essex Group.

Brian

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B)

Thank you Tim and Brian.  Yes the kindness of Rich and Mike, and the friendliness of the Essex group of TRR was truly exceptional.  I couldn't imagine meeting a nicer bunch of individuals. 

To be honest I read this and other forums a great deal  ..there is just so vast a knowledge base here, from persons with direct and yet diverse experience.  But still it is apparent that nothing is better than simply talking to other like-minded enthusiasts face to face.  Just being there, and actually poking at / talking about individual details ..and very often the modifications made is simply great.   . . .  And I'm quite certain., had the existing (soon to be prior-owner) of the TR  I'm buying had such a great group of enthusiast nearby ..to call upon and to see and share the experience he was having with that car ..then he would not now be selling 'an abandoned project'.  Instead he and his family would have had 20 years of great club motoring experiences to look back upon.  As it is,  the wife and their sons are simply not that interested in the green car under the tarp that never-worked.  So surely the message is to..  take the trouble to get out to regularly meet those members.,   or in modern vernacular to use it or loose it !

I must admit though, I have been once or twice to many different clubs meetings ;  sailing clubs,  motorcycle clubs,  and an array of different car clubs.  Just once or twice,  some as many as half a dozen times, and only very rarely do I find a place where I feel welcome and comfortable. To me making friends isn't at all easy,  but the kindness extended by Rich and Mike make me want to come back and to likewise contribute.  

Regarding preferring the TR4 or 4A,  I don't think there's much to choose.  Personally I'm of an age where I relate to the early 60's look of the TR4,  and as an design engineer (retired) I think its chassis design makes more sense,  but having owned live axle and IRS Jaguars - I definitely prefer their IRS cars.  Triumph are a less refined  more fun car though.  The MkII Spitfire with its clap-hands rear suspension was to me a really great car,  and the TR3 I used to own had no top but was an outstanding driving experience.  It seems to me ..as a novice here, that the individual set up of any TR can vastly change its characteristics, and that might over time be tuned to the owner's preference, and to a certain extent even to the mood of driver.  The bass guitar versus the brass section in the exhaust,  the bushing / stiffness / damping and ant-roll of either suspension,  the state of tune,  flywheel and balance of the motor,  an overdrive gearbox and final drive ratios,  the feel of the steering wheel and the dashboard interface,  how 'sorted' a car is and whether a roll bar is fitted,  closed or wide-open top driving,  the choice of seats,  the selection of road-wheels & tyres and the pressures you run those on..  These variables are all so individual and make more difference to everyday driving experience than the singular choice of rear axle.

But of course that's just an opinion :rolleyes:

.

Edited by Bfg
reason : grammar ..always grammar !

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Pleasant drive in the TR6 to have lunch at the Crab Shell in Kingsbridge Devon.

South Hams equals anywhere on the Med especially when the weather is like today.

 

3820734A-C04A-467E-84D8-C1896C36BA3E.jpeg

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Pete,

Just to clarify things, that was the East Saxons Group at the Alma, Copford, but glad you had a good evening.

Look forward to seeing you at one of our other meeting places.

Allan

GL

 

 

 

 

Edited by Allan Jezzard

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Popping up to the swettenham arms this evening in the 3a

in race trim single aero screen and track ( road legal) tyres 

raining or not ( it has been all afternoon here)

Come and say hi  

http://www.swettenhamarms.co.uk/events/

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15 hours ago, Hamish said:

Popping up to the swettenham arms this evening in the 3a

in race trim single aero screen and track ( road legal) tyres 

raining or not ( it has been all afternoon here)

Come and say hi  

http://www.swettenhamarms.co.uk/events/

Well it was a little wet but still great fun with aero screen. 

Just me and a Lamborghini Urraco that a mate brought up.

he followed me home in a spirited drive 

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A enjoyable weekend in Devon, a Historic Vehicle Gathering.

Thousands of historic vehicle owners and members of the public enjoyed a great W/E out in amazing weather. A great annual venue Powderham castle near Exeter. 

 

C7ECAE2A-B2D1-4016-A7D5-5CC544AA92AA.jpeg

76A1B8E5-5A88-4FC7-A7D9-BB7652D20CDD.jpeg

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Sunday at Kimbolton Country Fayre, along with 11 Camb Followers, plus many hundreds of other classics.  Very popular event with something for everyone - even 'stunt' horses were on show!  Flypasts by a BBMF Hurricane were short but sweet.

IMG_3792 - small.JPG

Edited by Alfrom
Makes more sense after adding a few words!

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Touring in France.

From the France Ardennes to the Grand Massif (Auvergne - Cantal - Puy Mary).

Seen some TR's on the road last week and yesterday (15-7-2019) a green  TR3a lincense plate CC-230-??  

On Puy Mary meet some people withe old bikes to.

 

Marcel

 

puy mary IMG_4123 .JPG

puy mary IMG_4128.JPG

puy mary IMG_4129.JPG

puy mary IMG_4114.JPG

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Today I drove nearly 3 miles (in traffic) to the MOT station.

IT passed - yippee.

The lady on the till was full of praise for this wonderful old car - not quite sure what she was on about - probably drugs.

 

Roger

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