Jump to content

Recommended Posts

2-01.thumb.jpeg.d650219809c490d597ab5719f3944e50.jpeg

□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□□

Latest  Update: 1 April 2020

This thread is an ongoing experiment. What follows conveys the original story, pieced together as it develops. Starting from an initial, vital, clue. If it reads like a diary, it's because it is a diary, a blow-by-blow account of the breakthroughs and red herrings, the kind of twists and turns anybody asking questions is more than likely to encounter.

    It also experiments with the design capabilities of the Forum software, stretching them to the limit, to make the most of a tool which allows more scope than I had imagined. 

    Latest Updates, adding new pieces to solve this puzzle, appear at the bottom, in sequence.

♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■♧■

 

7 March 2020: Taken by Surprise

I got a message from E. Meason, a really friendly TR Register member, from Glasgow, in the Clyde Valley Group. A few weeks ago, Meason spotted a period photograph of KST 277, parked outside a Standard Triumph Dealership in Inverness, Scotland. He was curious. After all, most Scottish registered cars would have rotted away by now. Could it have possibly survived? So he checked on the DVLA website and  realized that yes, the car had actually survived. When he saw the first thread about KST 277, he decided to get in touch. As he said himself:

Quote

I recently took a photograph from Facebook of this car parked outside the Triumph  Dealership J. Ferries, in Inverness in the Fifties. I am not that great with computers, but if you contact me on your mobile I shall send you the picture.

Facebook photo.

Well, he did! You can just imagine my surprise, when I read his private message. Vodafone made it more exciting still. There you are, desperately pressing all the buttons, scrolling, rolling your fingers, but no. It wasn't that straightfoward to see this photograph out of the blue, this blast from the past. I had to go on their website littered with adverts and notices. Still no joy. So, feeling very shy and rather nervous, I overcame my reluctance and so I phoned this Glasgwegian, E. Meason.

    He told me a little about his own TRs, and how he got involved when he was only sixteen. Beteeen you and me, this was the first time I'd spoken to a Club member for a long time. Same kindness, same shared passion. Again, I felt a sense of gratitude, a club sense of belonging, what Eli calls the "Triumph Family". By the end of the phonecall, I heard myself say: och aye. I did. Honest.

    I tried again. Eventually, Lo and Behold!... his photo appeared:

0-01.jpeg.85f9ec783236c7cd384a1cd5976510a2.jpeg

■ Digital photograph taken by E. Meason with a mobile phone of the digitized photograph he found on Facebook. 

   I tweaked this small image as best I could, to see if I could improve the quality. You can read the 1956 Inverness registration and the same year and location on the registration of the car behind it, KST 845.

    So small an image. Might it just be possible to skip Facebook and get to its original source? Worth a try.

Watermark

On closer inspection, I noticed a watermark bang in the centre. The faint white lettering was just about visible... baile, home or even hometown, in Scots Gaelic, like baihle in Irish. But I couldn't make out the first two letters. So I did a search, and ambaile appeared as I scrolled the page further down. Turns out it is the Inverness Museum site, Highlands Cultural Archive or something, and its photographic collection.

Inverness Standard Triumph Dealership

I typed in J. Ferries and Standard Triumph and this is what came up: 

Quote

J. Ferries & Co.'s car showroom and headquarters at the Eastgate, Inverness. The vehicles pictured are, from left to right, a Triumph TR3, a Standard Vanguard Phase 3 Sportsman, and a basic-model Vanguard Ensign.

PAW23053A-01.jpeg.7b119617f1a81cecd81a8c149c097dda.jpeg

■ Distributers [sic.] for Standard Triumph, Citroen, David Brown.

Then I found the very same photograph, on the Inverness Museum website, larger than Meason's Facebook reproduction.

    But big enough to notice several details. For one thing, the registration number, and the one of the car behind it, KST 845, today belonging to a red Rolls Royce, as I discovered on the DVLA site belong to two cars which were bought more or less at the same time. The TR3 first, before mid-August 1956. And here they are, parked on the same kerb.

    When was it taken? Late 1956? Early 1957, most probably.

PAW23053A-03.jpeg.db1c9c2297babad477f6eac7763254f9.jpeg

■ Online, Inverness Museum site. More details emerge.

I tried to identify all those badges on the bar. When I enlarged the image, I was able to see that the one on the far left and still on the car today, but on the grille -- the bar is long gone -- is a Standard Triumph Owners' Association Club badge. You can tell, from how the light captures the two curved tops.

Triumph-sports-owners-association-badgegrill-badge-motor-club-01.jpeg.f32f02bf1fc0281843edc54ccde46e68.jpeg

TSOA badge.

   And there are several others, including what looks like a rally plate, judging by its shape. Maybe not? Just guessing here. But there is also a spotlight and a foglight.

66-01-01.thumb.jpeg.3efd5951e617fe7c100c994f830dbbfe.jpeg

■ Lucas Flamethrowers?

But look! The one on the left has lost its glass. There's also a discoloured patch on the cowling, driver's side, above the sidelight: same cause? And a similar patch on the opposite side.

    Is the car for sale? First owner ready to sell on? Or is it just parked on the curb, more likely, like the Sportsman, both cars awaiting their annual service, greasing and the rest, at the dealership?

    If I find out about this Mark Mason I'll let you know. So far, I can tell you that he moved to Spain, presumably after selling KST 277, therefore, in 2008. In Spain, he restores classic Jaguars and will be visiting Great Britain in a few months' time. TR Bitz will keep me posted and I you. □

Update: 13 March 2020

Meantime, thanks to the trail of Meason's Facebook photo, we can say that James Ferries was a Standard Triumph dealer who owned not one, but two garages in Inverness. But I'm jumping ahead.

1584011367616_PAW23053A-11.jpeg.856eac49f2b6223698397840159ff844.jpeg

■ High-res: drum brakes.

Through the front wheel air vents, you can make out the edge of the drum brake, consistently with early TR3s of that period, this one built on 17 November 1955. Was it Bob (Lebro) who pointed this out? This was several months before Girling disc brakes were introduced. Yet, this TR wasn't delivered to Inverness before early August 1956, and to a dealership. But when exactly were Girling discs introduced?

1584011367616_PAW23053A-05.jpeg.cba1be80a1278faf438d5bf2ddcb4dce.jpeg

■ Front TR3 cowling in greater detail.

  The AA and Standard Triumph badges are also much clearer now, and the rally badge legible, as well as a further three more badges. Earlier, I mistook two of them for paint blemishes. More soon. □

Update: 16 March. A second garage.

I've now found a second photograph on the Web, this one, below.

15840509343533774659833284256119-01.jpeg.c3b4d8ad77ebbcea8aa39747560cb3d1.jpeg

■ The Ferries Standard Triumph & Citroen garage and filling station.

A garage for repairs, featuring an AA sign, and filling station, not a fancy showroom. But if you look carefully, you will see KST 277 parked inside. What? The same customer's TR parked in two garages belonging to Ferries Ltd? So no, not a customer's car, Ferries' car. Looks like it's in for a service or repair to the fog light. It's parked by a ramp, in front of a tyres sign.

15840509343533774659833284256119-01-02.jpeg.bc3995e1e0783999dbc1480d71edeb3a.jpeg

■  Detail.

    Therefore, short of having Ferries' name listed on a vehicle document, which it is not, the circumstantial evidence strongly suggests that this TR3 belonged to James Ferries who was the dealer who owned both the ST Showroom and the garage at a separate Inverness address. We have a date for the second photo, 1958. Of course I am ordering a high resolution digital print. □

Update 17 March

The Triumph Rally of Europe

1584011367616_PAW23053A-09.jpeg.5805d16a512b46cdb848c6b157f7b47a.jpeg

Rally plate reads Triumph Rally of Europe.

61svuGEZ25L._AC_SY400_-01.jpeg.5d7898ecdc58458d365ddbf2222a0f72.jpeg

Quote

Now you can get that sportscar and take that trip to Europe

    Incidentally, does anyone recognize the other badges?

    1957 was the year Triumph started its US sales drive, involving a European tour, which KST 277 took part in, as the rally plate, now clearly visible in more detail, demonstrates. Ferries went on the first one (they ran from 1957 until 1962), but his car wasn't brand new and therefore should not have been eligible. How come? Simple, he'd already bought it. So for him, this was a junket. This rally is news to me, but surely not to most readers.

    Hosted by the Triumph Sports Owners Association — Triumph’s Club — brainchild of Mr. I. J. Penrice, the Publicity Manager, and Jack Croft, the Press Officer, as Motorsport, Vol. XXXIII, n. 5, pp. 15-16, of May 1957 informs us — the immediate objective of these tours wasn't to sell TRs, but, above all, to get publicity and increase sales that way. 

    The Triumph Rally of Europe, as the wording clearly shows on the plate, was an enjoyable, luxury, publicity stunt, offering a two- or three-week organized cruise, from place to place, in a sports car, top down, on the highways of Europe.

    So, how did you join the Triumph Rally of Europe? To be eligible, you had to purchase a new TR3, and pick it up in person at the Canley, in Coventry. The additional cost included the airfare from the US, a holiday abroad, and return shipping. You stayed in five-star hotels, all meals included, as well as being taken to places where TRs had competed in international rallying, and organized sightseeing trips.

    It was primarily aimed at North Americans. According to my friend Mike Strange, it was known as fly n' drive.

    On tour, at each hotel, two Standard Triumph mechanics who followed the convoy of sidescreen TRs, washed and refuelled the cars. A van carried spare parts for emergency roadside repairs.

    In those days, there were fewer cars about, so city traffic was light, and you could achieve high speeds on deserted open roads, as one of the participants, Mike Cook, remembers. He took part in the 1960 tour, in the company of about sixty other Triumph enthusiasts. Watching them go by must have been an impressive sight; when would you ever see a convoy of sidescreen TRs on the open road? In 2009, Cook remembered:

Quote

After a too-short sojourn in London, we hit the new MI Motorway to turn the cars in at Coventry. I can testify that a 1960 TR3 would hit an indicated 112 to 116 mph.

    His story ends:

Quote

A day later, as we sipped champagne with hosts from Triumph before flying back, I was relieved that the trip was over without serious problems.

[Source: Mike Cook, "A Cruise on Dry Land", Hemmings Sports & Exotic Cars, March 2009].

127501791.3-01.jpeg.dc9a0bb7b4346afd3de45dfd47d24803.jpeg
■ The Standard Triumph logo on a Ferries & Co. advertisement.

    Company records say that James Ferries Co. Ltd., was incorporated in 1946 and dissolved in 1997. Its business had been the "sale of new cars and light motor vehicles -- Other motors".

DMBH93JW0AYIoD2-01-01.thumb.jpeg.00e0bf989f5f540b5ead53439026a529.jpeg

■ An advert dated 1965. Still going strong.

      It is not unlikely that Ferries drove the TR3 into the ground and that KST 277 sat in storage somewhere for years.

    Then, years later, Mark Mason bought this TR3, probably in the mid- or late- 1990s, and restored it. He had already restored a concours-winning Register TR4, according to Craig of TR Bitz. Mason's name and that of John Brindley, a well-known racing driver, appear as entry no. 1027, at the 1998 RAC Classic Rally. Mason had obviously made KST 277 a roadworthy vehicle by then, and it's a fact that he owned the car until 2008, when he sold it. The December 2008 MOT states it had 6,853 miles on the clock. A mistake, since the previous one dated 26 April 2007, documented 7,205. Clearly, the 2008 MOT was a slip of the pen for 7,583. The car's documrntation shows that prior to its ground-up restoration, the vehicle had covered over 88,000 miles.

    This is the TR that appealed to an elderly Welshman, by the name of Geraint Pritchard. A car with 150bhp at the rear wheel, equipped with a rally cam, Weber 45s, TWM inlets, competition foam air filters, Phoenix s/s 4-into-1 exhaust manifold, 13-row Moss oil cooler, Revington oil breather catch tank, braided Goodridge brake hoses, Girling discs, diff, and half shafts, Lumenition electronic ignition, aluminium sump, alloy damper pulley conversion, high-torque starter motor, alternator, 185 Yokohamas, competition sump, gas-flowed head -- and goodness knows what else.

    Strange, to say the least?

    Not if this was someone who used to go rallying in North Wales in his youth.

    But one thing is certain. Geraint Pritchard, who passed away in 2018, after a decade of great enjoyment, participating in car shows in his local Denbighshire, was the only person whose name appears in TR Register records.

    Consequently, KST 277 was never a club car. I asked Mike Ellis and Bill Piggott. They've never heard of it and have no documents on file, and bear in mind that Bill's archive goes back fifty years. This lack of club membership, in the UK, strongly suggests KST 277 was a barn find, gently deteriorating somewhere in Inverness, but under a dry roof.

    Oh, I forgot to mention that Andrea Finlayson, a very forthcoming member of staff at the Inverness Museum, told me that a colleague of hers knows someone who remembers this TR3 in the 1950s. Andrea will have a chat with him soon and we'll find out more. □

Update 17 March 2020: A confirmation

What follows is a mixture of my research and Jamie's contribution. He works for the Inverness Museum.

From a Hunch to the Facts

James Ferries opened his motor car premises on East Gate in 1916, but was trading before then. A second premises, close by, on Millburn Road, was opened in 1937. Eventually, J. Ferries became the official Triumph distributor for the whole of north and west Scotland.

    The garage in the second photograph was the one listed, in Millburn Road, Inverness and the Standard Triumph fancy showroom was located on the nearby East Gate.

   The garage photograph was taken one day in 1958, according to Jamie Gaukroger, Am Baile Co-ordinator, of the Highland Archive Centre and Andrea's colleague. Both photographs, Jamie thinks, belong to the same photoshoot.

    You've seen two, but I have discovered a third. It's a rear view of KST 277. It reveals that the car was fitted with two Lucas lights, mounted on the rear bumpers, a red fog light and a white reversing light. I guessed there might be a third, after tracking down the second. Too good to be true.

    These accessories, taking into account the front Lucas 700s spot and fog lamps, add more substance to the view that this TR, like so many of those sold in Britain, was used for rallying.

    The small file-sized photograph also shows that they were publicity shots for publication, after a closer inspecton. I noticed retoucher's white paint, which has blocked out some of the background, attenuated distracting details, such as the bare winter trees in the backgound, focussing the attention on the building, and the contour of the Standard Sportsman saloon, on the far left. This used to be normal practice for black and white dot screen origination. In other words, in layman's terms, the retouching, in an era before Photoshop, was done by hand, "spotting" the white marks due to dust, and painting out unwanted features.

PAW23053B-05.jpeg.1263a25a154a88fa710ac21d8cd11482.jpeg

Detail

Therefore, the focus of the commercial photographer's brief is not the same TR3 in all three photographs. It's Ferries & Co. Ltd.

    A company search reveals that J. Ferries died in 1948. So I was mistaken earlier, in assuming that he was the owner and driver. He wasn't. Couldn't be. He was long dead. Around the time of his death, as Jamie explains:

Quote

The business became a limited company. Following this", he goes on to say, "the business was run by a Billy Jack, a long-time employee. It was during his tenure that the business acquired your vehicle (I note is was registered to the business and not a named individual).

As the company was the official Triumph distributor for the whole of north and west of Scotland I suspect your vehicle was acquired largely for promotional purposes whether that be a presence in the showroom or rallying.

    Or both? "Billy Jack" is Mr. Simon William Jack (April 1935-), 21 at the date of purchase. There is a document which confirms unequivocally that KST 277 was bought by J. Ferries & Co. Ltd., not by an individual, on 14 August 1956, as the County of Inverness, Register of Motorcars informs us. This date does not appear on the BMHIT certificate or the DVLA Services site, by the way. It's new information.

    But the young man's father had exactly the same name, as the Inverness archivist pointed out to me.

    So it was Billy Jack Senior who took over Ferries, and turned it into a limited company, which Billy Jack Junior was to inherit in due course. Billy Jack was the & Co., having been James Ferries' associate for years.

    Hence, the car that was built on 17 November 1955 and held back, like other very early TR3s, was purchased by Billy Jack Senior, four months after Billy Jack Junior's 21st birthday.

image001-02.thumb.jpeg.c87a84f1ddeddbd296d666fc2d4305c9.jpeg

■ County of Inverness, Register of Motorcars

Period photographs and written accounts show that rallying was both popular and frequent at the time, both in Scotland and the rest of Britain. In May of that year, the Scottish Sporting Car Club’s magazine of May 1956: 

Quote

The South of Scotland Car Club held their “Morgan Benefit” gymkhana on the exposed Tank Range near Kirkcudbright.

Francis Dundas, R Dickson (TR2) and Hector Monro (TR3) came out on top with 21 seconds apiece.

The third manoeuvre was a hilarious forwards across and reverse across four lines dash, showing Francis Dundas out on his own with 29 seconds and Dickson and Monro tieing at 31.5 seconds.

NB. Frank Dundas was a very active rally driver who later married Miss Innes ‘Annie’ Neil who was  also a rally driver and very good, in a Standard 8. In q957, Dundas competed in the Highland Rally. □

Latest: 19 March Update

21188-04.thumb.jpeg.a1475a82be36730992bd0341ee609792.jpeg

■ High-res version of detail

The sharper, better quality reproduction reveals one new clue and confirms what you could barely see in the smaller copy. The car was no. 5 in the Triumph Rally of Europe 1957, the first edition.

21188-03-01.jpeg.5b1769dd2ebf1a8ac4140511768dbd1d.jpeg

This confirms that the front plate was more than decorative. The other detail is the Lucas L494 reverse lamp, small, but not cheap. This is mounted above the bumper, so the hole should still be visible on the bracket. Sometimes they were mounted alongside the bumper, using a different bracket.

60-6-01.jpeg.3a73e92ca05512841e4deec292da7aa2.jpeg

■ L494 reverse lamp.

Through the ragtop, you can see the glint of a clock and needle. I showed Mike Strang who agreed. But that's the glovebox below the grab handle, so what clock is that?

8-01-01.thumb.jpeg.99005224bdc58186d454d89034164991.jpeg

■ A Halda Speedclock?

Our guess is a rally clock, though probably not this one.There should be no clock in that position on the dash, large or small on a standard car. Actually, more likely to be two stopwatches, as below.

1264312532_i-PnjWpPf-X3(1)-01.jpeg.22b7c8d6ecb52350aaf9de84ac870d43.jpeg

♤♡◇♧♤♡◇♧♤♡◇♧♤♡◇♧♤♡◇♧♤♡

Now we need to wait to hear more from Mrs. Pritchard in a month or so, and later from Mark Mason, to fill the gaps and to get answers to our questions. □

Latest Update: 20 March

To be honest, I'm scraping the barrel at this stage. I have heard back from E. Meason, so I've been able to add some details, I'm waiting for the higher resolution photograph, the first one, which TR Bitz wants to blow up and display in Knutford, I have an address in Inverness for Billy Jack Junior, that is, Mr Simon William Jack (April 1935-).

1584011367616_PAW23053A-11.jpeg.856eac49f2b6223698397840159ff844.jpeg

Drum brakes, not discs.

When I looked again at the medium-sized first image, I could see the edge of the front drum brake through the steel wheel ventilation holes. So this 3, which was built in November 1955, months before Girling brakes and rear axle replaced front drums and Lockheed differential, was only registered on 14 August 1956, just before the weaker rear axle prone to failure and the front drums became standard fittings for TR3s. 62 years later, it has both, courtesy of Mark Mason.

1584011367616_PAW23053A-05-04.jpeg.b6899acc615ef97bcb73a93b7083d854.jpeg

  ■ The badges.

What I cannot identify are the three badges to the right of the Standard Triumph Association badge. Can you?

    However, a closer look at these photos, featuring trees with no leaves, has shown that they were taken in the winter of 1958. That same year, Billy Jack opened Farm & Household Stores Ltd. Inverness, but in the summer, on 14 August 1958. He can't have met his wife, Mrs. Fiona Mary Jack who was only 15 at the time. 

    Billy eventually closed down Ferries Co. Ltd. in 1997, to open Caledonia, which survived several economic downturns, and was renamed Inverness Leisure, a health and fitness shop, which he closed down twenty years later, in 2017. Maybe Fiona ran it.

    So the plan is to write to the first owner's address, enclosing a printout of this, and -- you never know -- we may be in for yet another surprise. □

Latest Update: 21 March

Pathé News Triumph Rally 1957

Just when I thought I'd run out of surprises, this evening I chanced upon a Pathé newsreel of the 1957 Triumph Rally of Europe. The one Billy was in. The newsreel includes at least two TR3As, though September 1957 was the crossover date. Who would have thought it existed? It goes to show how effective Standard-Triumph's PR machine really was.

Pathé News Triumph Rally of Europe.

The short film shows a couple of refuelling scenes, fingers pointing at maps, a youngish couple poring over one over the bonnet of their brand new TR3, filmed from inside the car, a new owner trying to figure out how to fit the tonneau, a TR with spats, TRs with hardtops, surprisingly, some RHD TRs, Paris, motorcades... The footage is not always in sharp focus, but you can read the following number plates and three of the entrants' numbers: NKV 921 no. 8, NKV 905 no. 15, NKV 893 no. 35, NKV 894, NKV 897, NKV 919, PXA 498. Why is this last registration out of sequence?

    A loose end is the business of those mysterious badges on KST 277's badge bar. Can you Scots in the Register find out to which clubs or associations they belong? □

Latest Update: 23 March 

20-01.thumb.jpeg.9db5d239098340310c1810f999c91a14.jpeg

■ Triumph Sportsman

Last night I happened to be perusing the January 1957 edition of Motorsport when a road test of the Standard Sportsman caught my eye. I skimmed the article and came to the box containing the vehicle's technical specifications and that is when I realized something was wrong.

21-2-02.thumb.jpeg.9c1842bce4576c54bbe58c78cd688922.jpeg

Motorsport, January 1957, technical data.

The Inverness County Registry of Motorcars, cited earlier gives Triumph Sports as the model name and cc. 2088, as the engine capacity. I thought it was a slip of the pen for the correct capacity cc. 1991. I was wrong. It coincided with the Sportsman or "Sports" for short.

    So it was the Sportsman, not the TR3, Billy Jack Senior purchased on 14 August. Not that this rules out that he also purchased the Triumph TR3 that was parked in his showroom, to give to his son. The fact remains that both motorcars were registered in August, both were for sale in Aberdeen, and both went to the only Standard Triumph Dealership in the Highlands, Ferries & Co. Ltd.

    It is extremely likely, but, in the light of the new facts, not a certainty. Consider also the presence of the TR3 in all three photographs. The two shots taken a few minutes apart, and the one in the other Standard Triumph garage, possibly taken the same day, but maybe not. Circumstantial detail: KST 277 is parked back to back to KST 845.

    One thing is certain: that the Triumph TR3 was registered no earlier than 1 August, but earlier than 14 August, given the difference in the numbers and the fact that the DVLA confirms the TR was registered in August.

    And finally, ask yourself this: who else, other than the exclusive Standard Triumph Regional Dealer, Billy Jack Senior, would have had the influence to have a used car accepted in the first promotional 1957 Triumph Rally of Europe, aimed primarily at North America and for new owners, when KST 277 was a two-year-old vehicle? Even so, another email to Jamie is becoming urgent, don't you think? □

Latest Update 24 March

Jamie responded within less than twenty-four hours, in spite of all the hustle and bustle of moving files as the Inverness Archive staff are now working from home. The Scots are truly amazing.

    I was wrong. I should have knoen better. It's so important when you're handling archival documents to look at everything very carefully. I had mistakenly reached the conclusion that the entry for Messrs. Ferries & Co. Ltd. was the one for the Standard Sportsman, after spotting the Sportsman's engine capacity of 2088 where the entry should read 1991.

    Then Jamie kindly sent me the page for the Sportsman too. KST 845 is down as: a "Standard private" [not a goods or commercial vehicle], cc. 2088, registered by a Mr. George Allan Munroe, on 26 April 1957.

794585720_KST845-02.jpeg.b03d620a3bf73752ae09b999ea253b62.jpeg

■ Wrong again. The Sportsman belonged to a Mr. Munroe.

Therefore, Allan Monroe's Sportsman that day two of the photos were taken, in 1958, was in for a routine service and parked right behind Billy Jack's TR3.

image001-03-01.jpeg.038092f8a0ad620861272f6a5f2110f0.jpeg

KST 277. Described as a Triumph [...] Sports.

   The first number is 277, following 276, and preceeding 278. To avoid needless repetition, KST only appears at the top left hand side of the page. My lazy eye missed it.

    So while the clerk did make a mistake in putting down the TR3's engine capacity as cc. 2088, the vehicle really was KST 277, registered by Mssrs. Ferries & Co. Ltd. on 14 August 1956. □

Latest Update 27 March

More on the 1957 Triumph Rally of Europe

When I referred to the the Triumph Rally of Europe as a "junket", little did I know that this was precisely how it was described in the November 1956 issue of the US published TSOA Newsletter (Vol. 2, no. 11). But that should not belittle this touring rally, and the first 1957 edition, the one Billy Jack took part in, retracing the trail of Triumph TRs Alpine Cup victories of the previous year.

    The first, TSOA sponsored, 1957 Triumph Rally of Europe, scheduled from 3-23 May, was: "open to all Triumph drivers looking for fun and travel."

Quote

Led by one of the Triumph team's crack drivers, the rally will start in March next year. Although this is a touring event and not competitive, the route will pass over many of those very roads and mountains which call for such skilled driving in the Monte Carlo and Alpine. [Source: US TSOA Newsletter (Vol. 2, no. 9-10), July 1956].

    In England, Standard Triumph officials met the plane and escorted the fledgling owners to Coventry, where they toured the Canley Triumph factory and then picked up their specially prepared Triumph. On arrival at Harwich, a boat trip took participants to the Hook of Holland and to two thousand miles of driving in fourteen days through six different countries — France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

    If someone has a collection of Road & Track, it would be nice to see the report of the Rally which appeared in:
"The American Triumph Rally of Europe", Road & Track, Vol. 9 No. 1, October 1957. □

Latest Update 1 April

The other day, I spotted a For Sale advertisement on the Triumph TR Register website, posted by someone living in Denbighshire, which was also home to KST 277 and its last owner. I wrote to the vendor. Did he know Geraint? Not that well, but there was somebody else who did. He put me in touch.

    Thus, while the middle history of KST 277 is still shrouded in mystery, as of today, the last chapter of it isn't. With the benefit of hindsight, I find it amusing to see how easy it is to jump to conclusions, riding bareback on one's wild imagination, and then sometimes, though not always, to be proven wrong.

    So there I was, imagining Geraint involved in Welsh rallying in his distant youth, now yearning to refresh that exhilarating experience. Yes, this time I was wrong. But that is no bad thing. After all, you can be pleasantly surprised by the truth.

Quote

I’m afraid I am unable to tell you anything about the provenance of KST 277, except that I am probably indirectly responsible for Geraint buying it in the first place!

    Patrick met Geraint more than ten years before he passed away in 2018. It's not just because they lived in the same village. Geraint belonged to a local stick-making club — I never knew such clubs existed — that met once a week. One day, Patrick asked him if he would give him a hand now and again, when a second pair of hands were needed around his small holding.

    This is how Patrick learnt a bit more about this Welsh speaking retired farmer who'd worked on Lord Harborough's Rhug Estate, near Corwen, probably most of his life. As well as stick-making, the previous owner loved:

Quote

Horses (possibly Welsh Cobs), displaying static engines, gardening, car booting, getting a discount, talking, joking, and being thrifty. No history with classic cars as such, but, in anything and everything he did, he was an utter perfectionist.

    One day, Geraint walked into Pat's garage and saw his immaculate Sapphire Blue Triumph TR6, with "fancy" chrome wire wheels, only recently reassembled, after a bare metal respray. The 6 had belonged to a village neighbour who bought the 6 from TR Bitz around 1990.

    Pat noticed how the car's pristine condition immediately appealed to Geraint’s sense of perfection. Mr. Pritchard was most definitely impressed. Now, I must admit that Patrick is a far better storyteller than I. So I shall let him tell his own story. He has a way with words.

Quote

As a throwaway comment I said: "if you are interested, make me an offer". To my surprise, he and Myra appeared the next day to look at the car and he was clearly showing an interest in buying it. I had been minded to sell it and had a price in mind, below which I was not prepared to go; considering all the work I’d put into it, and I told Geraint this.
Given his legendary reputation for being thrifty and always requiring a discount, and my immovability on the price, no sale between us ever transpired.
I was rather relieved and remember thinking at the time that something like an Austin 7, or a Riley 1500 were more his cup of tea.
However, not long after that, I heard this roar coming up the drive, and there he was, with this immaculate dark blue TR3, KST 277 with fancy wheels, that he’d bought from TR Bitz!
He was over the moon with it, but I’m convinced to this day that it was the colour and condition that attracted him, rather than the make and the model. He proudly showed me the upgrades to the engine but, to him, the fuel mixture adjustment was there for the purpose of giving more miles to the gallon and the oil breather catch tank was to stop oil dripping on his immaculate garage floor.
He and his second wife, Myra, joined the TR Register North Wales Group, where they fitted in well and he was never short of anything to say at the monthly meetings. But nobody wanted to be behind Geraint on the runs, because he drove so slowly, and, in the end, he gave up coming on them because, in his words "You drive too fast for me!"
Whilst as a club we only attend a couple of static shows a year, Geraint would attend just about every one that was held in North Wales. He loved sitting with his car, showing it off, chatting to anybody and everybody and, of course winning so many prizes.
I have no knowledge as to what Geraint found out about the previous owner, but it does not surprise me that he paid for a factory and Register trace of the car. It is typical of the thoroughness with which he did everything.

    Incidentally, Pat eventually sold his TR6 for the precise amount that he'd quoted Geraint, and replaced it with a TR7 convertible, which also sports "fancy wheels" now that it has come back from the paint shop.

    So KST 277 gave retired farmer Geraint Pritchard great satisfaction in those last ten years of companionship. Almost, but not quite, as if the TR were willing to slow right down to a suitably sedate pace that would suit its new owner Mr. Pritchard.

    You have to wonder: why buy a 150bhp TR so late in life? Well, I did wonder. The answer then, is another question: and why not? After all, in 2008, Geraint was starting afresh, to the point of breaking out of mourning to remarry,  and start again. He loved talking and the car was a talking point at all the shows he attended. And anyway, how wise of Geraint to enjoy the life he had, the way he did. Doubtless a folly, to some, but one which made perfect sense to him.

What about the huge gap in time?

My guess is that, when most of the surviving TRs were being done up or driven further into the ground by the next generation, with clapped out suspension and wandering steering, back in the 1970s and 1980s, KST 277 spent those decades gently rusting away where it had been parked up for the last time, left there, perhaps on the Ferries & Co. Ltd premises, until the former Standard Triumph Scottish Highlands Dealership was finally closed down in the late 1990s. Prior to its restoration, KST 277 had little over 88,000 miles on the clock, and had never been registered in the Triumph TR Register Club before Geraint's time.
    I think only a competent mechanic and restorer, someone like Mark Mason, could afford not to join the Register. The online Forum didn't exist yet.

    Mason was a good friend of John at TR Bitz who sourced many of the parts needed to restore KST 277. And remember, neither Bill Piggott nor the current Registrar, Mike Ellis, had ever seen or heard of this car, until 2008, when Geraint became a Register member and requested a Register trace for his TR3.

16346903121_27b08daa62_m.jpg.04f6a801d6bd0141a33b8951d673242a.jpg

■ KST 277 at a show? Sporting silver painted wires and aeros, looking newly restored. Photo online. Where is that big hall (double fire doors in the back). Anyone recognize it? A TR Register stand? Ths banner reads TR Restorations? Or Racetorations? And when?

    Hence, my theory that the restorer came across this vehicle by chance, by word of mouth, perhaps, a barn find, a long-forgotten sidescreen TR. Perhaps he inherited the car or somehow had been in his posession for a long time. Quite possibly, the show photo might be dated earlier still.
    Now, KST 277 is ready and waiting. TR Bitz have been generous, painstakingly attentive to detail, in the way they have prepared the car. I'm impressed and have said so to Craig. And yet, the TR3 is parked very far away, in lockdown, still at TR Bitz. Now they're fitting Bob's super-duper LED conversion which arrived yesterday and a row of stone-guarded Landrover 6" spots. Black and powerful, in addition to so much else they have done: new battery, new braided Goodridge brake hoses, rad hoses, new ATG foam filters, full service, NGK spark plugs, fan belt, dizzy cap, greasing, waxoyling refresh, new 175 tyres to replace the 185 Yokohamas, my compromise between tried and trusted 165s and a wider tread, rear reverse and fog lights, the fastenings on the sidescreen signalling flaps and on the tonneau, as new, but never fitted. I'm sure I've forgotten some of the work. Good to go. Perfection itself.

    And yet, like everyone else, I must bide my time. I'd love to drive this new sidescreen TR up north to Belfast, and thence get the ferry to Scotland, tour the length and breadth of the Highlands, meet E. Meason to say thanks, take a look at his TR or TRs. Drop in on Jamie and Andrea at the Inverness Museum, call on Billy Jack himself.

    Can't wait, but, like you, I'm stranded. I'd love to tour Ireland, to join in Irish Register events, to get involved in rallies and test days again, autotests, hill climbs, if they do them here. Who knows? Maybe we're looking at the end of April.

What next?

At some point, we're bound to hear from Mark Mason. TR Bitz are on the case. Mark did the restoration before 1998, the terminem ad quem. The previous owner John is still in touch with his friend who, TR Bitz say, is planning to come over from Spain where he lives these days.

    And also from Jamie in Inverness, as soon as the Inverness Museum archivist gets a chance to speak to the first owner of KST 277, Billy Jack, or to his acquaintance who remembers seeing the TR in town, back in the 1950s. I have another lead: Billy Jack's address, from Companies House, I should try that. You never know. □

Edited by David Brancaleone
Latest update

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2020 at 8:48 PM, harrytr5 said:

Thanks David,

A fascinating story and hope you follow up.

Regards Harry TR5 Nutter

I will for sure. Soon as I can speak to or write to Mark Mason, I'll find out who the previous owner was.

A close inspection reveals a very well sorted motor. Mason didn't do it to sell. He did it for himself and it shows. So much thought. You can tell from loads of details. Not a show car, so it appeals to me. It's a TR. That's a different thing, in my opinion.

My guess is that, like my previous sidescreen TR 0GB 800, KST 277 eventually made its way down from Scotland. My 2 was purchased by a schoolmistress in Glasgow and immediately put to work on night rallies.

My guess is that this 3, also Scottish, was bought to rally. Maybe there was a strong car club culture. And if you could afford it, at a time postwar rationing was still in force, you could have great fun. TRs were successful. It must have been in the motoring news  for those who were interested. What better car? Only a guess, mind. But the signs are there. I also suspect its 88,000 miles were done by 1980s and that it languished in some old garage until Mason got wind of it. Or maybe not!

Edited by David Brancaleone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 minutes ago, harrytr5 said:

Thanks David,

A fascinating story and hope you follow up.

Regards Harry TR5 Nutter

I will for sure. Soon as I can speak to or write to Mark Mason, I'll find out who the previous owner was.

A close inspection reveals a very well sorted motor. Mason didn't do it to sell. He did it for himself and it shows. So much thought. You can tell from loads of details. Not a show car, so it appeals to me. It's a TR. That's a different thing, in my opinion.

My guess is that, like my previous sidescreen TR 0GB 800, KST 277 eventually made its way down from Scotland. My 2 was purchased by a schoolmistress in Glasgow and immediately put to work on night rallies.

My guess is that this 3, also Scottish, was bought to rally. Maybe there was a strong car club culture. And if you could afford it, at a time postwar rationing was still in force, you could have great fun. TRs were successful. It must have been in the motoring news  for those who were interested. What better car? Only a guess, mind. But the signs are there. I also suspect its 88,000 miles were done by 1980s and that it languished in some old garage until Mason got wind of it. Or maybe not!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well done.  This would make a good story for TR Action when you have managed to fill in the gaps in the story.

Ian Cornish

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, ianc said:

Well done.  This would make a good story for TR Action when you have managed to fill in the gaps in the story.

Ian Cornish

Thanks very much Ian, I really appreciate your encouragement, Meason is also crucial for remembering that vital Facebook post three weeks ago and taking the trouble to get in touch. You are one of several Founding Fathers I have huge respect for. Actually, my admiration extends to loads of people in the Club, come to think of it.

But you answer this question: where would we be today without all your stirling work?

I have written to Bill and Jo and will write the next instalment, when I have enough material to warrant it.

On an exhaust note, this TR already has a big bore exhaust and branch manifold, so the 4A plan is no longer needed (that was for another TR, a different story entitled Buyer Beware...

Edited by David Brancaleone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that unbelievable to have such luck to get that photo. Iam looking for that for my 55 tr3 I hear the original owner is still alive and Iam looking for him now he got to be in his 90s now so I hope to find him soon. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, friarmike said:

that unbelievable to have such luck to get that photo. Iam looking for that for my 55 tr3 I hear the original owner is still alive and Iam looking for him now he got to be in his 90s now so I hope to find him soon. 

Yes, Mike! A stroke of... Meason's kindness. Goes to show what real Club spirit actually means in practice.

KST 277 has comp rollover bar and front anti-roll bar, the thicker, sturdier, diameter type. The mounts were badly scored from scrapes, but now replaced.

The early 2 splines are valuable, quite rare. If in good nick. Your diff is more delicate, so, with more power, I think replacement with Girling is a must.

To track down the previous owner will require time and patience. Maybe look through car magazines of the era? Motorsport? These were never saloon cars. My guess is that many of the UK cars were bought by individuals keen to have a cheap, but competitive, rally car.

Your guy could be living in a rest home. I suppose you need to work out a strategy to find the person. Good luck with that. You never know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I have his name (I didn't till a few months ago) I can resume the search last known location is in a town called Homer Alaska I have been there looking 2 years ago but had no name now I do so another run is in order. I sure hope he is still around I want (need) to here the story of why he bought this car and maybe a photo or two.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, friarmike said:

Now that I have his name (I didn't till a few months ago) I can resume the search last known location is in a town called Homer Alaska I have been there looking 2 years ago but had no name now I do so another run is in order. I sure hope he is still around I want (need) to here the story of why he bought this car and maybe a photo or two.   

Weather permitting, you could try online phone book if there is one, local city council tax office, medical practices, people with same surname, i.e. relatives, should undertake a systematic search -- miles better than just turning up on the off-chance. Boring, time-consuming, but more likely to yield results. What information can you get online? Look for records, admin stuff, lists...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

well hardly boring for me I like going there AND I get to do some more fishing and camping in my old vw westy. so far all the on line phone books are not free that I have found and Homer is a small place last time I hit the police department the fire house (there is only one) the radio station (ya only one) and the old folks home also a few church's it won't take long to do again also in my search there are no children or siblings to find.    

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, friarmike said:

well hardly boring for me I like going there AND I get to do some more fishing and camping in my old vw westy. so far all the on line phone books are not free that I have found and Homer is a small place last time I hit the police department the fire house (there is only one) the radio station (ya only one) and the old folks home also a few church's it won't take long to do again also in my search there are no children or siblings to find.    

 

earth_postcard_1583695187-01.jpeg.54fddd9cc7eeee9a5dc6e32c2616f429.jpeg

Well, sounds very promising, small town, few places to check out. A doctor? A dentist, lawyer? Car dealer, perhaps? Fishing? You are bound to find him, but don't waste time fishing, follow Tushington's good example, get on with the rebuild.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

More news soon... Watch this space...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/7/2020 at 8:48 PM, harrytr5 said:

Thanks David,

A fascinating story and hope you follow up.

Regards Harry TR5 Nutter

Well I have, Harry, see above, completely re-written with new material added. Still more to go...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great to see a story about a Standard Triumph car dealer.  Just the sort of thing that readers of my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TriumphCarDealers and blog http://vitessesteve.blogspot.com/search/label/TriumphCarDealers  love to see

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, vitessesteve said:

Great to see a story about a Standard Triumph car dealer.  Just the sort of thing that readers of my facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TriumphCarDealers and blog http://vitessesteve.blogspot.com/search/label/TriumphCarDealers love to see

Steve, by all means use a link to direct them to the Forum page. You are welcome to quote a paragraph or two! Bearing in mind that the Register, as I understand things, has copyright, which is just fine with me.

Edited by David Brancaleone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

funny your car and mine were built in the same month of 55 mine still has its drum brakes and weak rear axle but there not going to be there much longer then I need to buy adapter hubs for my wires. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, friarmike said:

funny your car and mine were built in the same month of 55 mine still has its drum brakes and weak rear axle but there not going to be there much longer then I need to buy adapter hubs for my wires. 

I was quite amazed, when the higher resolution photograph I bought from the Inverness Museum arrived and you could see evidence of drums in the enlargement.

   What's Penny's Commission number?  As I understand it, KST 277 narrowly missed the 1956 upgrade to Girling discs and diff. A matter of a few weeks. But it also seems that some cars weren't upgraded, though the upgrade was available to newly built ones. A grey area, for me at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, friarmike said:

funny your car and mine were built in the same month of 55 mine still has its drum brakes and weak rear axle but there not going to be there much longer then I need to buy adapter hubs for my wires. 

I was quite amazed, when the higher resolution photograph I bought from the Inverness Museum arrived and you could see evidence of drums in the enlargement.

   What's Penny's Commission number?  As I understand it, KST 277 narrowly missed the 1956 upgrade to Girling discs and diff. A matter of a few weeks. But it also seems that some cars weren't upgraded, though the upgrade was available to newly built ones. A grey area, for me at least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My '3 is TS9551, & came with drums (now discs)

Bob.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

TS 9204

We now know the car's destination, but it's not recorded in the 1950s factory paperwork.

Edited by David Brancaleone
Typo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, friarmike said:

Lebo are you still running your ordinal engine head and all? if so is your head a LeMans head?

  

Sadly not. When I bought my '3 in 1971 it already had a factory recon engine in situ TSA709FRE  High port head with H6 carbs.

That engine is still running today, having only had a new rocker shaft, & some HS6 carbs fitted. (& many oil changes)

However it is getting a bit clattery, & No. 3 is well down on compression.

Bob.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Please familiarise yourself with our Terms and Conditions. By using this site, you agree to the following: Terms of Use.