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    For most of my automotive life I have been a rear-wheel- drive guy. I knew that all-wheel drive or front-wheel drive provided better traction but, having grown up in New England where snow lay on the ground for at least four or five months of the year, I reckoned rear-wheel drive was just more fun. Doing donuts in a deserted supermarket car park on a Sunday morning, after a Saturday night snowfall, was way more fun than snowboarding or skiing. It’s why I chose the McLaren P1 over the Porsche 918. Hanging the tail out is one of driving’s greatest pleasures. I was well into adulthood before I got near a front-wheel-drive vehicle.

    / #1972-Citroen-SM / #1972 / #Citroen-SM / #Citroen / #Citroen-DS21 / #Citroen-DS / #1971 / #Cord / #Oldsmobile-Toronado / #Oldsmobile / #Citroen-Traction-Avant-15-Six / #Citroen-Traction-Avant

    In America back then, front-wheel drive was more for economy and practicality than anything else. The first post-war American car to feature front drive was the #1966-Oldsmobile-Toronado , and what an impressive debut it was. At a time when Italian manufacturers said you could never put more than 225bhp into the front wheels because of torque steer, the Toronado’s 7-litre V8 had 375bhp. And the fact it was the fastest stock car at the 1966 Pikes Peak Hillclimb helped to seal the deal.

    This radical automobile made me want to learn more. I set out to find myself the last great American front-wheel-drive car: the #Cord-810 and #Cord-812 from 1936 or 1937. It, too, had a V8 engine. In stock form it made 125bhp but you could have it with a supercharger. I found myself a #1937-Cord-812 , naturally aspirated. It was transformed with modern radial tyres, feeling and driving more like a car from the 1960s than the 1930s. The electric pre-selector gearbox is mounted in front of the engine so there’s a flat floor, freeing up more passenger room in the cabin.

    What killed it, besides gearbox problems, was that American cars at this price range were huge. This was the first ‘personal-size’ luxury car, and you seemed to get a lot more car for your money if you went the traditional route.
    My next front-driver was a #1972-Citroen-SM , Motor Trend’s Car of the Year. Rumour says the editor got fired because Citroën didn’t take out huge full-page ads logging its accomplishments like American carmakers did. Every enthusiast should drive an SM before they die. It has sleek aerodynamics, oleopneumatic suspension, quick power steering and the finest five-speed gearbox I have ever used. Driving in the rain was especially pleasurable because when you hit the brakes the rear end would go down rather than the front end, like a speedboat slowing down in the water. And the unique aerodynamics made the windscreen wipers almost superfluous.

    The excellence of this car made me check on Citroën’s earlier offerings. I soon acquired a #1971-Citroen-DS21 , the most comfortable car in the world. And a #1949-Citroen-Traction-Avant-15-Six , its six-cylinder engine better for today’s roads. Another great front-drive French car is the #Panhard-PL17 . It’s way more fun to drive than a Beetle, with only two cylinders but almost twice the power (60bhp for the Tigre model against 36 in a VW) from just 850cc. It weighs 1830lb [830kg], has a Cd of just 0.26 and can do nearly 90mph. It’s always more fun to drive slow cars fast. By far the strangest front-wheel-drive vehicle I have is a 1911 Christie fire engine. At the turn of the last century, fire engines were still horse-drawn because fire departments didn’t like combustion engines, considering them less reliable than horses. Walter Christie’s first pumper, built in 1899, was a horse-drawn unit.

    As engines gained favour, Christie came up with a two-wheel tractor with a 20-litre, four-cylinder engine and a two-speed gearbox to take the place of horses while pulling the same pumpers. It was much cheaper to operate than a team of horses because you didn’t have to feed the engine when it wasn’t running.

    Christie built about 800 of these until the early 1920s, when purpose-built fire engines finally took over. My strangest front-wheel-drive encounter happened recently, when I went skid-plate racing. If you’ve never heard of skid-plate racing – invented by a man named Robert Rice, aka Mayhem – don’t feel bad. Neither had I. You start with any legal front-drive vehicle, remove the rear tyres and weld a skid plate to the rear end. You’re dragging and sliding your rear end around corners, and it’s harder than it looks. Above 40mph it gets extremely tricky because you’re constantly steering and countersteering.

    In the first ten minutes I spun at least six times. When you come to a corner and feel the tail coming round, there’s almost nothing you can do. Unlike losing an early 911 in a corner, which happens so quickly you don’t realise it, this happens so slowly that you’re laughing the whole time as you try to save yourself. Who knew front-wheel drives could be so much fun?
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    RUN BY Greg MacLeman
    OWNED SINCE June 2017

    / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph -2500TC / #Triumph-2500 / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2-Saloon / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000 / #1972

    As a result of sharing my life with a woman whose primary interest doesn’t revolve around wasting money on old cars, my classics live a precarious existence. Their perceived pecuniary value and usefulness to the family are in a constant state of evaluation, each unexpected cost having the potential to weigh down the scheme just enough to pull its head beneath the water – and potentially mine along with it. So the news that the Triumph’s engine problems were serious came as a bit of a blow.

    My first instinct was to follow the example of pal Matt George and get a full engine rebuild from the ground up, but the more I looked into it, the more the costs seemed to spiral out of control – the antithesis of what has been, to this point, a budget restoration. With half an eye on my bank balance and the other on an anniversary tour to Chantilly in June, I decided to scale back the works and make as much progress as I could with the help of art editor Port (and a big hammer). In a display of diplomacy that ought to have him sent to sort out the Middle East, Clements managed to negotiate access to the office basement car park to give us the time and space to pull apart the engine. It took little more than an hour to strip off the ancillaries, carburettors, exhaust manifold and water pump then separate the head from the block, and in no time we’d wrapped it up and sent it by courier to deepest Derbyshire.

    Peter Burgess is a legend in MG circles, and his work on Triumph’s straight-six is just as well regarded, so there was never a doubt in my mind that he was the man for the job. Burgess will refresh and uprate the cylinder head to ‘fast road’ spec, including beefier valves with stiffer springs, reworked combustion chambers and a full port and polish, as well as a light skim to raise the compression ratio. In addition to solving the burnt-out valve that first highlighted the engine problems, the work should also unleash the potential of the ‘big six’ and mean it will be ready if I one day decide to go the whole hog and build up the bottom end, too. With the head off, we gained an insight into the state of the block, which seems to be in excellent condition: the bores were smooth and clean, with no discernible lip that could suggest excess wear. It looked good enough to back up the ‘documentation’ (a note scribbled on the back of a used envelope) that suggested it’s done about 10,000 miles on a reconditioned engine.

    Of course, there’s only so much improvement that head work will have in isolation, and with the block in such good shape it’s given me the encouragement to add a few other modifications. Our next step was to go fishing for cam followers with a magnetic wand before removing the radiator, electric fan, pulley and timing cover, then taking out the camshaft, which eased through the grille after the removal of both fuel pump and distributor drive.

    It’s now been sent to Piper Cams to be reprofiled to ‘yellow’ specification, a favourite among Triumph specialists that greatly improves torque and usable power.

    ‘The work should unleash the potential of the “big six” and mean it will be ready if I one day go the whole hog’
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    CAR: Triumph-2500TC / Triumph / Triumph-2500
    RUN BY Greg MacLeman
    OWNED SINCE June 2017

    / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph-2500 / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2-Saloon / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000 / #1972

    Grand plans to battle through the winter and visit Paris for the biannual Traverseé came to naught, but thinking about the trip did prompt me to consider some rust protection for my cars. The Triumph was of most concern, given the age of the underseal – and the rather concerning MoT advisories referencing its excessive thickness that seem to get progressively more grumpy each year.

    I’m usually keen to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in, but I draw the line when it comes to lying down on the concrete and spraying bitumen into my eyes. So I took a trip back home to Spalding to see top specialist Rustbuster – by coincidence located just five minutes from where I grew up.

    It’s safe to say I wasn’t the most popular man in the Fens when Chris Allen and his team took a look at the car’s underside, which wasn’t undersealed at all – rather, it was caked in around 30 years’ worth of old engine oil and the muck that had stuck to it. The inches-thick layer of stinking black chewing gum must have been a nightmare to scrape off. I can’t confirm that, because I ran off when the going got tough – but I came back with beers to say sorry.

    Despite the grim task, the chaps had all of the muck removed in a matter of hours, getting down to bare paint across the underside of the car before steam-cleaning the chassis and applying a liberal dose of Chlor-X – a solution used to eliminate residual salt. From there, a layer of Corrolan penetrator was brushed onto the exposed metal, followed by a spray coat of Corrolan Pure – essentially an all-natural alternative to chemical underseals that is derived from lanolin. Holes were then drilled into sealed box-sections and subframes before a final fog of cavity wax was sprayed into every nook and cranny using a probe.

    The overall impression is a bit unusual, being light brown instead of black, but Chris tells me a black version is in development.

    The process was always going to be a bit unnerving – who knows what’s lurking beneath the underseal on their car? – but I was pleasantly surprised that the team only uncovered one small hole, which was at the bottom of the passenger-side wheelarch. Bad news on the face of it, but great that the rest of the car is as solid as I thought – and any further issues will be much easier to spot. Slightly more concerning was the return of the misfire that I thought I’d cured after my last running report. Nothing seemed to bring cylinder one back to life, so I borrowed Port’s compression tester before the journey north.

    Predictably, the problem cylinder was only holding 25psi. I broke up the trip home with a stop at Triumph specialist TRGB, where Jason Wright cracked out a leak-down tester and endoscope, revealing a burnt-out exhaust valve. Incredibly, you could see the chunk of missing valve by peering through the spark-plug hole.

    The car limped back to London, getting ever hotter with each passing mile. I just hope that it’s up to the return journey for a hastily planned engine rebuild!


    ‘The team only uncovered one small hole; bad news on the face of it, but great that the rest of the car is solid’

    Clockwise from main: Triumph stripped and prepped; paint eventually resurfaced; cylinder issue diagnosed, the car was taken to TRGB. Main: Rustbuster’s work is meticulous. Right: single hole was found in the passenger wheelarch – a positive result.
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    Audi in the 1970s, his Coupe S an exclusive GT variant would have set aside? Niklas Frist is currently giving an answer to this question with his precious Audi. Text & Photos: Ansgar Wilkendorf.

    / #1972-Audi-100-Coupé-S / #1972 / #Audi-100-Coupé-S / #Audi-100-Coupé / #Audi-100-C1 / #Audi-100 / #Audi / #Audi-100S-Coupe-C1 / #Audi-100S-Coupe-S-C1 / #Audi-100-F104

    Young Niklas looked out the window of his classroom at the teacher's parking lot. Of the many cars that stood there, however, interested the student only one: an Audi 100 Coupé S from 1972.

    The Audi 100 with the rear end in the Italo design of a Maserati Ghibli of the late 1960s, but at least a Fiat Dino of that time it had done to Niklas. He would like the car. There was only one problem or two: First, he did not have enough money for it, and second, the car belonged to his math teacher.

    But when the school was around, the then 17 -year-old in 1989 actually got the opportunity to buy the car for his former teacher for 19,000 crowns, or around 1,800 euros. To raise the money, he had to sell his moped with a heavy heart. For this he finally had his dream car. "The first drive brought me back from the world of dreams," smiles Niklas.
    "The head gasket had said goodbye, so I could only slowly roll home. Nevertheless, the great feeling was unbeatable. "But that came with time. Education and job simply did not leave him the space to continue the restoration that had begun, and so the car initially fell into oblivion. "A kind of Shelby version of Audi"

    "Just in time for my 40th birthday, I decided to breathe new life into the Audi," recalls Niklas, who is like his Coupé built in 1972. But he did not want to leave it at a restoration: "In his time, there was never a performance package or an exclusive GT variant for the coupe. Such a kind of Shelby version of Audi. I wanted to change that now with hindsight. "

    But before that there was a lot of sheet metal work to do. "The body looked so good at first," says the Swede. "But when the sandblaster had finished its work, there was not much left of it." For Niklas no reason to worry: He had come across several recommendations to Dan Johansson in Degefors, a "coachbuilder and sheet metal artist," the so far mainly styled American cars. Nevertheless, he quickly understood what his client wanted out. "The car was shaped to the wheels," smiles Niklas, "and grew accordingly in the width." The wheel arches come from the Golf 1 and that the end tips were widened, can be seen at the distance to the original remained bumper. "In the past, you could easily put a finger through it, today there is hardly room for a hair." In the course of the body work, the tank filler neck was moved one floor higher in the C-pillar. By the way, the owner of the coupe has cut the neck, welded here by Dan, out of a Victory motorcycle tank.

    The mix makes it!

    Under the new trunk floor not only the supply line to the tank has disappeared, but also the compressor, the valves and the air tank of Niklas implanted Airex air suspension. Previously, however, he had modified the entire powertrain. In cooperation with Bäcks Engine Overhauling first the engine received an update including cylinder extension, head machining, Weber respiration etc. The gear comes from a 1975 model year, so that the front brakes, which can be found on the 72er Coupe right and left directly to the switch box, could be moved to the outside in the wheels. Front as well as on the rear axle originating from the Golf 3 GTI is a four-piston brake system of three-Golf with 330 mm ventilated discs installed.

    Contact with the asphalt is maintained by the 225/30 Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires on the Dotz SP5 Dark in the 18-inch dimension. Of course, the exclusive GT variant also got an exclusive paint job. The paint called "Casino Royal GT Gray Metallic" comes from the supercar forge Aston Martin.

    Exclusive is also the interior. Hanngrens Car Interiour did a great job here. Both rows of seats were upholstered and newly upholstered with rough and smooth leather. Fittingly, the upholstery with the door and side panels and the dashboard. On headrests and mats you will find embroidered white lettering "Coupe S / GT". Hand-brushed aluminum has meanwhile replaced the wood look in the dashboard. The Luisi sports steering wheel got a new leather collar and the gear lever got a Simoni Racing gear knob.

    On the way Niklas enjoys the subtle sonorous sound of the 2.5-inch Ferrita stainless steel exhaust system. Every now and then it's a bit louder for the hard rock fan. With the support of buddy Racer Putte and AVD Sundvall, he has provided a suitable sound package. In the footwell works the two-way front system El Comp 5 of U-dimension. Under the backseat are two Prox 8 subwoofers, also of U-dimension, for fat basses.

    However, Niklas does not have much time to drive around. It is not just the job of Marketing Manager for Indian Motorcycles that captures him. It is also his new project, which he nicknamed "overkill". It is again the same type, but this year built in 1975. So much is already revealed: "What if Audi had built a rear-wheel drive S-Coupe with a V8 power plant under the hood ..."

    1. The filler neck comes from a motorcycle and has been placed in the C-pillar behind the gills
    2. Golf hubs thanks: behind the Dotz rims delayed a Golf-3 brake system.

    1st age Swede: Niklas Frisk and his Audi 100 Coupé S are both built in 1972
    2. Exclusive interior with brushed aluminum, rough and smooth leather
    3. Brilliant console custom made 4. The footwell houses the soundboard

    The shiny revised four-cylinder now makes 136 hp
    Who tuning parts that influence each other, combined without approval in the test certificates and drive with his car on public roads, comes in Germany not around an assessment in accordance with § 21 StVZO around. Tip: Let yourself be advised by an expert before the beginning of extensive conversions. The expert knows whether the planned tuning is approvable and can provide information on the expected assessment costs.
    Name: Niklas Frisk

    AUDI 100 COUPÉ S (1972)
    Engine: 1.9-liter four-cylinder (standard: 112 hp), cylinder drilled to 2.0-liter, flywheel balanced, head machined and planned, large valves, sport camshaft, Ajden Racing
    Intake manifold, two 45 #Weber twin carburettors, 123 ignition system, Red devil fuel pump,
    Aluminum fuel lines with AN8 connections, special aluminum radiator, electric fan, power 136 hp
    Suspension: Airex air suspension, Golf 3-wheel hubs front, Golf 3 GTI rear axle
    Wheel / Tires: #Dotz-SP5 Dark 8 x 18 inches with Michelin Pilot Supersport in 225/30 R20
    Body: Total restoration, self-made front spoiler, Golf 1 wheel arch widened by Dan
    Johansson, Dagefors; End tips widened, filler neck offset, recess for rear
    License plate, painted in "Casino Royal GT Gray Metallic" by Aston Martin
    Car-Hifi: Retro stereo radio, excursion HXA30 power amplifier for two-way front system El Comp 5
    of U-dimension, Excursion HXA2K power amp for Prox-8 subwoofers of U-dimension below the
    Rear seat, Hollywood cable and battery
    Interior: Luisi steering wheel with leather upholstery, original seats and rear seat upholstered and covered with rough and smooth leather (Hangreens Car Interiour), Speedhut instruments with S /
    GT lettering, Simoni Racing gear knob, coupe / SGT embroidery in the headrests and
    Floor mats, custom console, new straps
    Brakes: Four-piston brake system from the Golf 3 with 330 mm ventilated discs front and rear
    Exhaust: Ferrita 2.5-inch stainless steel system with 3-inch tailpipes
    Thanks to: Racer Putte and AVD Sundvall
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    RUN BY Greg MacLeman
    OWNED SINCE June 2017

    / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph 2500TC / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph-2500 / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2-Saloon / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000 / #1972

    Drive-My’s hardened campaigners mostly keep their cars on the road in winter, so we decided to drive to an old haunt to celebrate the closing of 2018’s final issue. I was under strict orders to be home in time for the journey north for Christmas, so the Triumph predictably struggled during the run around the M25 from Croydon to Chobham. It felt down on power and stuttered, before becoming apparent it was running on five as I arrived at The Four Horseshoes. Port was already there, so we popped the bonnet and did a bit of investigating. Cylinder one was the culprit, so we swapped on a new set of HT leads and borrowed a spare spark plug from the Landie, all to no effect. The dizzy cap was in a terrible state, but, frustratingly, my brand-new spare was faulty and the car wouldn’t even fire. It failed to start with the old cap on, too, until Port eventually managed to get the points to hold the correct gap. With the sun setting and time running out I decided to limp home and deal with the issue in the New Year. I hadn’t pulled out of the car park before smoke started to rise from behind the steering wheel. Bonnet up, we quickly traced the problem to the jammed wiper motor, which was roasting.

    Unplugging it seemed to solve the problem, and I made it back to Croydon. Thankfully, it didn’t rain. I arrived home after the holidays to care packages from Rimmer Bros and The Green Spark Plug Company, and it took just 10 minutes of fettling before the car was running sweetly and on all cylinders. The distributor cap was the problem, but I also replaced the mismatched and damaged plugs. I was then able to turn my attention to the Triumph’s tatty interior, starting with the original steering wheel – it had tears in the leather and the spokes were tarnished and corroded. I decided to upgrade to a Moto-Lita, because it was one of the firm’s wheels that gave me my earliest motoring memory while sitting in the front seat of my dad’s MG.

    The MkIV is a perfect replacement, beautifully made with a black anodised finish and chunky leather-clad rim. As well as cutting down on glare, the all-black scheme fits perfectly with the menacing feel of the rest of the car, and the beefier rim has made hauling the Triumph around at low speeds a bit easier – or at least it seems that way. It’s amazing the difference one top-quality component can make, drawing the eye and improving the look of the whole cabin. Now to tackle the hole where the stereo used to live.


    Δ Moto-Lita;

    Bonnet popped, a new HT lead, plug (borrowed from Port’s spares) and distributor cap failed to fix the misfiring Triumph.

    Mobile repairs via trusty factory manual.
    Six became five – and the M25 a slow slog.
    Distributor cap long proved problematic.

    A Moto-Lita MkIV has updated the interior and (hopefully) made life at low speed easier.
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    PORSCHE 914 IAN ALLEN / #1972-Porsche-914-1.7 / #1972 / #Porsche-914-1.7 / #Porsche-914 / #Porsche-914-4 / #1972-Porsche-914-2.4 / #Porsche-914/4-2.4 / #Porsche / #Porsche-914/4 / #VW-Porsche / #VW-Porsche-914/4

    ‘I ’ve always wanted one of these since I saw one in the south of France,’ says Ian Allen, owner of PPC’s favourite rust-proofing company, Rustbuster. ‘The owner was blatting up and down showing off his car and his dolly bird. I thought one day you will be mine – well I got the car bit right.

    ‘The car was originally a 1972-Porsche-914-1.7 injection made for the US market, so sold and marketed as a Porsche – they were sold as VWs in the UK. A chap had imported it from Texas only to find out on arrival that the floor was rotten. Ever the optimist I bought it thinking it would be a simple job to fi x, only to find out the boot floor and the floor under the seats were rusted out. Plus, the dreaded ‘hell hole,’ which is a total bugger of an area to get access to under the battery tray, which sits right in the middle of the car.

    ‘There are a lot of aftermarket body panels made in the USA where the car sold best, so I was able to locate new floor panels and a battery tray – the rest I had to fabricate. Many hours of welding later the car was ready for a repaint in its original Phoenix Red. The vinyl roof was retrimmed by me, which was a first, and I had the interior reupholstered. The door cards are original and the carpets are an exact copy from a Belgian company.

    ‘The engine received a big bore kit, upping it to 2.4-litres, and I changed the cam, but not for anything too lairy as I’m looking for driveable torque, not revs. Twin choke 40 down draught Webers, electronic ignition, a Facet pump and fuel regulator completed the engine mods.

    ‘All of the gear linkage joints were replaced on a remote linkage that goes from the gear stick all the way to the back of the gearbox via a dog leg almost six foot long – you need the linkage to be up to scratch. The gear linkage service kit is still available. Exhaust is an equal length four into one sports, which gives it a nice bark.

    ‘The next job is to take it for an MoT then get it registered for the UK. Then dive the nuts off it, track days, Santa Pod and car rally’s – no show pony this car, although it does look the mutt’s nuts.

    ‘The restoration is not for the faint hearted but with the price of these rising they’re definitely worth looking at. Having the VW based engine it is still a very practical performance car.’

    914 was sold as a Porsche in the US, a VW in the UK. Mid-engined 914 has removable targa roof panel. 914 became Porsche’s best selling car during its production run. 1.7-litre ¬ at four now stretched to 2.4-litres.
    Ian Allen’s Porsche 914. He’s probably rust-proofed it.
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    CAR #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph 2500TC / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph-2500 / Triumph / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2-Saloon / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000 / #1972

    RUN BY Greg MacLeman
    OWNED SINCE June 2017

    Having been without it for months on end while the car was away at the bodyshop, it’s nice to finally be able to drive the Triumph – even if the experience is far from where I want it to be owing to the sloppy drivetrain.

    It’s also nice to be able to work on the car – something I’d been missing almost as much. The road to a tuned Big Saloon is well-travelled, and one of the first modifications many make is the exhaust. I followed suit and forked out for a full stainless-steel sports system from Chris Witor. As well as it improving the car’s aesthetics, I’d hoped the fruitier soundtrack would drown out some of the 2500’s more concerning noises, but I had to wait to find out. I devoted a Saturday to the task of removing the old system and fitting the new, and all went smoothly until I got to the centre section, which fouled on the gearbox crossmember. Spirits were raised by my wife Laura, who lent a helping hand, but even taking a breather for a soup supper on the back seat and returning with fresh eyes didn’t make a difference, and we eventually gave up.

    Various Facebook groups have been a big help while working on the car, and this occasion was no different: after I uploaded a photograph, Steve Radley and David Harvey pointed out that the crossmember was on the wrong way round, with the indentation for the exhaust on the opposite side – and that the car was fitted with an earlier A- rather than J-type gearbox. Another day was spent jacking up the ’box and turning around the crossmember, plus fitting a set of SuperPro polyurethane bushes, before attaching the rest of the exhaust. Though by now properly hung, it still clanged against the crossmember so the following weekend I changed the soggy engine mounts for new reproductions. This proved a battle, but eliminated the worst of the rattling. On my way back from driving Julian Grimwade’s 1934 Norris Special for last month’s issue, I called in at ’box and diff specialist Hardy Engineering in Leatherhead, where Bill Hardy gave me a tour of the facility. He also took a look at the spare diff that came with the car and found it to be in excellent shape, with original machining marks clearly visible. All it needed was new oil seals and to be cleaned and re-shimmed, so I left it with him and hope to have it back in for the Reader Run to Le Mans in July.

    Determined to make the most of the sun, Laura and I took the 2500 to The White Bear at Fickleshole. All went well until we lost overdrive on the way home, followed by indicators and horn, all accompanied by a burning smell. “Do you think it’s coming from outside?” asked Laura. “Yes…” I lied. The unhappy marriage of J-type loom and A-type ’box is the arguido, but what I know about auto electrics could fit on the back of a napkin and I’ve made no more progress than popping five fuses and scratching my head.

    The day before Drive It Day, I popped to Botley Hill Farmhouse, which holds a meet on the third Saturday of every month. It was great to see some local classics, and the car seemed to get plenty of attention. Mine, however, was grabbed by a ’1952 Jaguar XK120 that had spent its early years in Nairobi, and sounded incredible as it peeled out of the event – drivetrain clonks conspicuous by their absence.

    THANKS TO SuperPro: 01823 690281;

    Triumph saloon lines up alongside Vitesse and MG Midget at Botley Hill Farmhouse in Surrey, with Rover P5B Coupé behind. Engine mounts allowed excess movement. Rear bench the perfect place for a picnic. Old bushes substituted by SuperPro items. New sports system replaces pea-shooter. Spare differential was checked by Hardy Engineering and should only require light fettling.
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    CAR: #Triumph 2500TC / #Triumph-2500TC / #Triumph-2500 / Triumph / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2-Saloon / #Triumph-2500-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000-Mk-2 / #Triumph-2000 / #1972

    Run by Greg MacLeman
    Total mileage 25,213
    Owned since June 2017
    Miles since April
    report 62
    Latest costs £5760


    The last time that I saw the TC it looked, if anything, worse than when I bought it. Its organgey panels had been rubbed down to a blush pink, pockmarked with small patches of filler, and the whole scene was dusted with the residue of an afternoon’s sanding. The chrome trim was missing, as were the front and rear screens, plus the bonnet and bootlid were nowhere to be found. It was with some trepidation that I left the workshop, knowing that the next time that I saw the Triumph it would be transformed.

    Nervousness gave way to excitement as the date for the big reveal approached, and the night before was spent tossing and turning, trying to imagine what the finished car would look like. The veil was dropped at the London Classic Car Show, where the 2500 took a starring role as part of Barnet & Southgate College’s display. My first glimpse came as I rounded a corner and spotted the nose edging out from behind another stand and, as the whole car came into view, my jaw hit the floor. I’m rarely speechless, but I was on this occasion.

    The Pimento was supplied by Autopaints Brighton, and it looks the perfect shade – a deep, lustrous red with a hint of orange that leaps out in a way scarcely imaginable from a colour chart. The quality of the paint was top-notch, too, and laid down beautifully according to Ian Sutherland, who achieved the outstanding finish. The depth and sheen of the buffed bodywork was mesmerising – more like one of Mary Berry’s mirror-glazed cakes than a 44-year-old saloon. That impression was further enhanced by the eager apprentices who spent the weekend polishing it with products donated by Slim’s Detailing, the college’s next-door neighbour.

    I was struck by the attention to detail, and the many small elements that had contributed to the overall knockout effect. The grille and mesh, for instance, had both been sprayed black, and the wheelarches had been freshly undersealed.

    Perhaps controversially – I just couldn’t resist putting my own stamp on the car – I’ve had the rear panel sprayed in satin black, aping that of the Dolomite and TR6. I reckon that it improves the look, especially with the black wheels and new raised-letter numberplates, and Sutherland agreed.

    After the show the car returned to the college, where Tyrone How from Mobile Glass Replacement refitted the windscreen for just £75, against another quote of £300. With the windows back in, it was time for the 2500TC to come home. Even the snowy conditions, salted roads and the fear of overheating couldn’t wipe the smile from my face.

    There’s work still to be done, of course, notably fitting the door and boot seals and fresh door pins, but something tells me that devoting time and money to the project will be much easier now that the Triumph looks a million bucks.


    1 Kevin Haggarthy, Ian Sutherland, plus all the other staff and students at Barnet & Southgate College: 020 8443 3821
    2 Autopaints Brighton: 01273 328698; www.
    3 Mobile Glass Replacement: 020 8502 4100;

    Staff and students show off immaculate polished Triumph prior to handover and drive back to Croydon. Note funky Revolution five-spokes now on car.

    YFH attracted lots of attention – plus three offers of purchase – at the London Classic Car Show.

    Fresh black-and-silver Framptons plates. Key is to attach trim before fitting ’screen. Satin-black rear panel like TR6 and Dolly.
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  • Post is under moderation
    Big job on a little car

    CAR: #1972-Fiat-500L / #Fiat-500L / #Fiat-500 / #Fiat / #1972

    OWNER: Massimo Delbo

    Winter is nearly over, the salt is disappearing from the roads, and it is time to wake the cars hibernating in my garage. All but one spent the winter at home: my Fiat 500L was at Fabio’s bodyshop after I discovered some rust. Fabio looked worried when I arrived with almost enough spare parts to rebuild it entirely, but seemed relieved when he saw the car.

    A few months later, the news was good: most of those spare parts weren’t needed. On my last visit to the shop, I’d seen work under way, and the only serious rust was in the front wheelarches and the bonnet. Unfortunately the wheelarches I had bought were not right for the car, so I had to buy two new ones. I prefer to preserve where I can, but I allowed Fabio’s team to take a shortcut with the bonnet: it was cheaper to buy a brand new one.

    Now it’s almost ready. It’s been painted inside and out, reassembled, and rust inhibitor has been injected into as many cavities as possible. The result seems good, and I can’t wait to drive it home and make a proper inspection in sunlight. Fabio did a great job of taking care of such details as the missing ‘Fiat 500L’ logos on the rear engine panel and fixing the longitudinal chrome strips under the doors. I wanted those strips done because they are one of the 500L’s trademarks, but Fabio was reluctant to make the holes to fix them because this is where the rust started. I won! Where I lost was with the fuel tank.

    I wanted to keep its original paint, or what remained of it, but Fabio forced me to accept that it needed repainting. I have to admit that I wasn’t very convinced even when I agreed, but he was right. The front bay is now so clean and smart that the old tank would look really ugly.

    We both agreed on keeping the gearlever and the handbrake lever as they were, with their imperfect paint showing 44 years of use. What I like about Fabio is that he goes the extra mile. Without me having to ask, in one of his hidden warehouses he tracked down an original aluminium frame for the rear numberplate that suits the car very well, and has told me that he should have another one for the front, too. Let’s hope.

    After my visit, he’ll be fixing some small neglected points around the sunroof, while I’ll have to look for a new external rear-view mirror. In the meantime, he has started work on another Fiat 500 and blames me for this. The car belonged to the late mother of one of his customers, and for years sat unused in a garage.

    When that customer saw mine under restoration, he brought his yellow car to Fabio and asked for the same results. I think I’ll have somebody to team up with for the journey to the next Fiat 500 Club Italia meeting.

    Above and below Fiat 500L bodywork is almost finished now; new fuel tank in freshly painted bay.
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