This TR was purchased new on Nov 18, 1968 from Morristown European Motors, NJ by a T. Harry Long Jr of Summit, NJ. It was then purchased by my uncle in very early 70s. After a couple of years it sat in his garage in need of a transmission, starter, battery and some TLC.
While I was away in college in 1975 my parents visited my uncle. Just in conversation my father was shown the idle roadster at which point he asked my uncle, “How much do you want for it?” Realizing it was meant for me, my uncle shrugged and said, “Oh, $200.”. And so with 49,000 miles off it went to a new home. When I came home for summer break my father and I spent countless hours in the garage tinkering with it (he was a crew chief for B-17, B-24 and B-29 bombers in WWII and so tinkering with things mechanical was in his blood and quickly got into my blood as well).
Upon my permanent return home from college the following year the TR had a set of, wwww…what?! WHITEWALLS!!?? Well, that was my dad’s idea but after awhile just about everyone in clubs and shows had a positive opinion about them and so they stayed. Heck, he paid for them and it was as much his car at the time as mine so all’s fair.
The TR became my everyday car and I met and courted my present and one and only lovely wife in it. Soon after we began dating we became members of the Long Island Triumph Association in its first year of existence. The next three years were just an absolute blast with tours, picnics and shows. Only real modification at this point was adding an Ansa exhaust system. Whoa! Who needs a radio for music!
As fun as it was to drive this car everyday the daily driving in the Long Island summers and winters eventually took its toll, as the salt air and winter road salt began eating away at parts of the vehicle. I added over 60,000 miles to the car in just under four years. In addition, a winter collision with a curb while sliding on ice banged up the suspension pretty good and it was never the same.
In the 80s marriage, kids, and not alot of free cash for needed repairs meant no TR on the road. But it did not stop me from starting to buy new bits and pieces back in 1987. In 1991 we moved to NC and of course the 250 came with us where it was placed in storage until I…a) Win lottery. b) Squirrel away enough parts for 20 years while wife does not notice. c) Offer myself as an indentured servant to wife …Hey! Wait a minute! I already am! So we’re good to go! Right?!
Well, that someday is finally here (REALLY, finally, as in 2008). Frame off restoration including powder coated frame and suspension, total body restoration including complete new ‘H’ deck, new paint, “massaged” engine and a fresh set of wire wheels. Spent about 20 bleary-eyed hours over the course of several weeks bead blasting everything metal that was not chromed or painted green in preparation for powder coating. Brackets, suspension parts, heater box, steering parts, rear axle parts, etc, etc. Took up a whole rack – total cost was about $250. Chassis weld repair done courtesy of RaceTech Dragsters right next door to the dipper and powder coater. Hope to have it back on the road by summer (which summer is anyone’s guess)!
Aug 06 – Finally found the right shade of Racing Green paint so the tub is soon to be painted.
Dec 06 – OK, so does primer count as paint? Tub dipped at Carolina Chem-Strip and primed.
June 06 – Installed the rebuilt engine and tranny. Ready for the body.
Nov 07 – decided to commit an act of sportscar heresy. Stay tuned…
Jan 08 – Hopefully this is the last high build primer on the tub before final paint.
Mar 8, 2008 COULD IT BE?! IS IT POSSIBLE?! OMG! The tub is painted! DONE!! FINI! Photos on their way…
2008-2012 – Install A/C, rewire car, install interior, re-upholster seats.
Feb 2013 Update: Like so many things in life further expenditures on this ‘discretionary’ project had to take a back seat to more important matters back several years ago but it appears that the home stretch is finally in sight. Just did not think it would be five years in hibernation…
Special Interest Projects
‘J’ Tray – J Overdrive Conversion Bracket
As many TR owners come to realize for practical as well as performance reasons, the addition of an overdrive is a very attractive upgrade that also pays dividends in the vehicle's value. Estimates in increased value are usually in the $1000 US range. So the expense, although not small by any means, can be offset by knowing that it is money well spent that has some future return even if one has no thought of ever selling their beloved TR. So unless you plan to be buried in it someone will certainly benefit. And let's not forget the element of time and inflation. It was not too long ago that one could purchase a new J overdrive for $300-$400 (OK, that is if you consider the late 80s as 'not too long ago'). Of course, the improved gas mileage, quieter running at lower RPM and less wear and tear on the engine must figure into the equation as well! Especially if the TR spends alot of time on major highways and interstates at 70mph+. So, the decision is made to put in an overdrive. If an owner wants to follow the OEM path than TR250s and early 6s require the 'A' overdrive. Well, good luck! Sure, they are out there. And if originality is of utmost importance then that is the end of discussion. Go find that 'A' overdrive. But face it. Those 'A' overdrives are hard to come across, and when you do they are more expensive than 'J' overdrives. They also run a higher pressure than 'J' overdrives. The resultant faster shifts is what attracts racers to this older design where every fraction of horsepower and second of time can mean winning or losing. Don't plan to race? Originality not an issue? Then the 'J' overdrive would seem to be the way to go. There are more of them since Volvo also used them in their 240 sedans and as such, parts are much more readily available. Yes, there are slight differences but none that prohibits their use in a TR. My decision to install a 'J' unit in my 250 had one drawback. The rear transmission mounting is totally different for the 'J' unit versus the 'A' unit. @#$*%! But hold on, I was told. You can weld in the OEM brackets in the chassis. Or there are bolt-on conversion brackets for just such an arrangment. Fantastic! So little research and sure enough, there are brackets to accommodate 'J' overdrives in the early TR chassis. Now this is where my opinion, whether based in fact or not, came into play. I've got a hot street motor - hotter cam, larger valves, 9.9:1 compression, header, etc. etc., and the retofitted transmission mount for the conversion kits seemed rather puny, especially for a hi-performance motor. I was told that the typical mount is from the GT6 application. Well, it uses a similar 6-cylinder motor so what's the problem? As communicated to me by more than one TR person whose business is Triumphs the smaller GT6 mount can be a bit overmatched by the 6-cylinder motor's torque, particularly if the power has been upped a bit. Bottom line, it is not as robust a design as the non-overdrive TR250/TR6 transmission mount. Whether my assumptions are valid or not, the two mounts are definitely different. It sure would be nice to have the larger non-overdrive transmssion mount in my restored TR. Hmmmnnn.... Which got me to thinking. And sketching. And finally coming up with a design that allows the use of the larger mount in the early chassis with a 'J' overdrive! Yes, necessity is the mother of invention! So now it seems other owners like the idea, and some have asked, "Why not sell it commercially?" Well, there's an idea worthy of thought. So, first off to the Patent Office. And now? Well, who knows?