Tuesday, 30 October 2012

2014 RBRR Entrant - Taking Stock

I discovered Club Triumph's Round Britain Reliability Run (RBRR) rather late in life. That was back in 2006, when I volunteered to marshall at the Conon Bridge control stop, near Inverness. The sight and sound of the massed ranks of the old Triumphs, particularly the straight-six 2000/2.5 'big saloons', which are an extremely rare sight here in Scotland, was almost overwhelming and a vivid reminder of why Triumphs appealed to me so much when I was growing up and getting into cars during the 1970s.

By coincidence, it just so happened that at that time I was looking for a second Triumph to partner our Spitfire (more of which later) and after that day at Conon Bridge the short-list became very short indeed. It had, in fact, been reduced to a list of only one - a 2000/2.5 saloon!

A short while and another coincidence later saw Chris Allen posting a message on the Club Triumph Forum from a 2000 owner in the Edinburgh area who was hoping to find someone to take on their car as a long term project. 'They' turned out to be the original owners of the car, having bought it new in 1976 shortly before they were married. The car itself was a Triumph-white 2000TC that had been garaged all its life, with the lovely blue interior in immaculate condition, and only 73,292 miles on the clock. It had been off the road for quite a while - the only relatively recent use being about five years previously when it had been pressed into service as a wedding car for the original owners' daughter. It had obviously been very carefully looked after, was in generally very good condition, albeit there was some evidence of corrosion in the usual sill/floor/wheelarch areas, but nothing which looked or felt particularly bad.

The original purchase receipt:

The 2000TC shortly after I took possession:

The 2000TC ran faultlessly for two years and sailed through two MOTs until the inevitable happened in late 2008 when it failed the MOT because of excessive corrosion near the offside seat belt anchorages, the brake master cylinder mounting and rear nearside subframe mountings. I knew when I took the car on it was inevitable that I was going to have to deal with this at some point but I was a bit surprised by the extent to which the car appeared to have deteriorated since its last MOT.

Anyway, back to the RBRR. So far, the closest I've got to entering was as a co-driver in 2012 along with Dan Armitage and Glenn Gabriel in Glenn's 2.5pi saloon. Unfortunately, for various reasons, this fell through and once again I ended up spectating, this time at Morrisons Garage in Stirling.

I'm not quite sure why, but a line seems to have been crossed this year. I am determined that the 2000TC will be ready - in plenty of time - for the 2014 RBRR.

So what needs doing?

Mostly, as I'm sure no-one will be surprised to hear, bodywork. The floors, sills, and parts of the front and rear wings are in pretty poor condition. This is what I found when I started to investigate back in 2009. It very quickly became obvious that the rot was far more widespread that it had initially appeared.

This is what fell out of the N/S outrigger when I cut part of it and the N/S front floor away to assess what state it was in:

The N/S front sill extension (where?):

After cutting what turned out to be a cover sill off the N/S it became obvious that someone had been here before:

Inner sill not looking too clever after cutting off the previous repairs to the N/S sill strengthener:

Rear subframe mount/sill (front and rear jacking points were both completely gone):

Front N/S floor (note patch in the top right):

Rear N/S floor/rear wheel arch (fixing this, which includes the rear subframe mount, is probably what's worrying me most at the moment):

In addition to the above (and whatever I find once the above is fixed and I start on the O/S) it also needs a new boot floor and the usual front and rear wheelarch repairs.

There are good bits - the front lamp panel, front valance, rear lamp panel, roof, bonnet, boot lid and doors are all solid with only surface rust needing to be dealt with.

When I've sorted the bodywork I'll get Chic Doig to do a full respray in the original colour.

The front suspension, steering and rear suspension all need a complete overhaul as do the prop- and driveshafts. The engine is in very good condition, with no rattles whatsoever and good oil pressure, albeit it feels a bit gutless so may get some minor tweaks to pep it up a bit, but nothing too extreme. Overdrive is in very good nick and works perfectly. Gearbox is slightly noisy and will be getting rebuilt. Diff appears to be in good nick, it's quiet, but it's leaking slightly so will get new seals.

I'll also be fitting a Ted Taylor heated and tinted front windscreen.

I am extremely lucky to have a pair of front wings that I got from Chic Doig a couple of years ago.

A pair of front floor repair panels and outriggers arrived from Earlparts last week and I've also got N/S NOS inner and full outer sills en route from Chris Witor.

I've also got a pair of second-hand rear floor sections which should do for repairing the rear floor and subframe mountings - thanks to Andy G from the 2000 Register forum for these.

To be honest, work won't start on the saloon in earnest until spring next year because the Spitfire will be taking its place in the garage soon to get some things done over the winter. The plan for the saloon over the winter is to buy the panels I need, as I can afford them, so that I have everything to hand ready to start in March or April 2013.

Hopefully, going public with this blog will give me the impetus and motivation I need to keep going and get the 2000TC back on the road after three years of doing nothing. With little a bit of luck I'm also hoping that it'll stop Glenn and Dan asking too many questions...

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