Keeping an older British car on the road can be a really humbling experience or, every once in a while, a very gratifying one. Recently I’ve had two such experiences that proved to be really rewarding.
On the drive back from last summer’s Valley of Fire picnic our TR-6 fell ill and although it got us home it was obviously not very happy. It would start up and run fine for a minute or two and then drop down to the rear three cylinders. It took months of head scratching and replacing virtually every ignition component in the car to track down the source of the problem—a clogged carb float vent hole. A gentleman on the Six Pack website, the TR-6 guru Dick Taylor, suggested I clean them both out and there it was—the simple solution to a nagging problem that took the better part of 4 months to diagnose. I tentatively drove it to Al Seminatore’s VARA races event in Pahrump for its first long distance run and it literally never missed a beat. And feeling even more confident (read ‘daring’) we put new tires on it and drove the car on the recent Oatman run—via Bullhead City—and after logging around 250 miles it got us home without so much as a hiccup. Just goes to prove the Jim Shope and Jonas Payne adage—“Most electrical problems turn out to be carburation issues.”
Another really rewarding incident took place early this morning. Pat Klenk asked if I would help paint the engine bay of his restoration project—an early Triumph Stag. He has owned it for some 12 years now and although there is a lot of work yet to be done most of the heavy lifting has been done—except for lowering the engine into the engine bay—which badly needed fresh paint. And so early this morning we met in his garage and finished up some last minute masking tasks, mixed up some paint, and started spraying. Although a little windy the temperature was perfect for painting. When the work was finished the look on Mr. Klenk’s face surely suggested he was well pleased with the results. That is a good thing too—given the months and months of degreasing, scraping, scrubbing, sanding and priming that Pat and Margaret labored over to get the car ready for the easy part—shooting it with Damson Red paint. Next step is to lower the engine and tranny into the newly painted engine bay and start hooking up the myriad loose ends. And then off to the paint shop for a professional respray.
Pilar and I are grateful that our TR-6—a good friend for the past 22 years—is once again back on the road and seemingly happy with itself. And I’m well chuffed with the results of our spray painting session of this morning. And so-seemingly-are Pat and Margaret. Just another example of the rewards that come to those in the British Auto Club