The Triumph Is finally back on the road in Our classics
CAR Triumph 2.5PI
Run by James Elliott
Owned since April 1998
Total mileage 64,218
Miles since January 2015
Latest costs £1170
BEASTIE’S LONGAWAITED RETURN
It was a funny old year, 2015. The last time you read about the Triumph, I’d just taken it off the road for a pre-50th birthday (its, not mine) spruce up. Nothing too dramatic: some filler here, a dash of rattle-can paint there, that accursed steering column bush, all putting off for a bit longer the bigger tasks that I can still ignore at the moment. And then work (namely DRIVE-MY – The London Show) overtook me.
Suddenly it was November, our workshop was being demolished and the Beast needed to be shifted. Thankfully, Oli Cottrell of Classic Jaguar Replicas stepped in, allowing me to kill several birds with one stone: get the Triumph off site, give it a good home over the winter and get some of those jobs done while it was there. I borrowed a Kia Something-or-other from former editor Clements (today the God of all things caravan and motorhome), hitched up the DRIVE-MY trailer (now also sadly gone due to lack of storage space), loaded up the Triumph and made a dash for Berkshire as the bulldozers moved in.
Oli’s principal job was to fit the new wiring loom, which I’d wanted to do myself until common sense prevailed. I’d bought the loom from Moss Europe and been hugely impressed by the process. Before I was allowed to order one for my Mk1/Mk2 cross, I took a call from fellow owner (and Moss employee) Adam Chignell. He then painstakingly talked me through the decades of mods and bodging to the Triumph, to make sure that the replacement was bespoke and would fit with minimal adaptation. It was nice to catch up with Adam and Triumph-mad son Will when I picked up the loom from Matthew Hutchins at Moss Europe’s London HQ, which was only a spit and a cough from our old office.
Oli was certainly grateful of that extra attention to detail when he fitted the lovely new item. The previous horrible mess was so knackered that even I was content to watch him bin it rather than let me try to salvage some “get you home” emergency wiring from it. As a result of the loom being a near-perfect fit straight out of the box, Oli was done far sooner than expected and put the car in for an MoT test in mid-December. The good news from the point of view of my storage woes was that it failed.
The bad news was that it failed. Typically for the Triumph, it was a similar list of problems to pretty much every year: some welding, a bush or two and something minor and electrical (in this case, the impeller pump for the washer bottle). That bought a little more time but my original thinking that the car would be away until spring was undone by 6 January when, for the first time in more than 12 months, the Beast became legal. On picking it up, I instantly became addicted all over again. In approaching 20 years of ‘ownership’, the joyous thrills of driving the Beast have never dimmed and it still brings out the hooligan in me.
It isn’t the fastest car in the world, but it is the best-sounding and there is just something a bit lairy and outlaw about it. My relationship with it is like forever being stuck in the first three months of a romance, and I guess that’s why I’ve never parted with it when so many other classics have come and gone.
With the car pressed into daily use (the kids love its attention-grabbing persona and springy back seat), my growing jobs list (carpets, heater, hi-fi, rust-holes, etc) is being topped by the fact that maybe it’s time to grow up and fit a steering wheel that takes a bit of pressure off my arms. If anyone has a MkI PI item, I would love to hear from them. There is another reason, of course, why I am so pleased to have the Triumph back: sadly, there is sombre news on the Jensen front.
Moss Europe: 020 8867 2020; www.moss-europe.co.uk Oli Cottrell, Classic Jaguar Replicas: 0118 971 2091; www.jaguarreplicas.com
Matthew Hutchins with replacement loom. Oli Cottrell with the old tangled remains. Corrosion to the sills required attention. Cottrell with his handiwork: the Beast is finally running and seducing Elliott all over again. Moss employees and arch Triumph enthusiasts Will and Adam Chignell with their cars. With the car rewired, it was time for an MoT; the short list of fails was easily addressed.