--new TR6's, GT6's, and Spitfires on the
showroom floor, and used Triumphs in all
conditions and prices, including a row of
Spitfires lined up along one side of the building.
At the time, I was delivering pizza in my mom's
VW Beetle while saving every cent that I earned
to buy my first car.
I knew very little about fixing cars so
maintenance and repairs were done by a local
import repair garage run by a fellow named Bob
Byrd. I went through the usual repairs--all four
u-joints (one at a time), exhaust manifold (cracked), exhaust (fell off),
brakes, tires, needle float valves in the carbs (again, one at a time), and
more. My major repair came as the result of a broken valve experienced
during a TSD road rallye. My navigator was a young lady named Janine.
I don't remember her last name now, and likely didn't know it then
either. We were lost, and after going down yet another wrong road, I
turned and roared back up the road, revving the engine like crazy. Bang!
I had Triple-A tow it to Bob Byrd's where he pulled the head off and had
me peer down into one of the cylinders. One of the valves had broken
and buried itself into the top of the piston. In addition to running an
import repair garage, Bob was a weekend minister so I hesitated to say
out loud what was going through my mind, not to mention that there was
a sign on the wall advising me not to use that kind of language as "There
may be ladies, or gentlemen present."
Bob's estimate revealed that a new piston and cylinder head would be
required, and that it would cost about $500.00 to put it right. I had no
money. Dating a girl like Janine was a stretch, and now I didn't even
have a car, unless you counted my other car which was a rusty 1960
TR3A with a disassembled engine and no floors. Bob offered me
$400.00 for the car as is but I didn't see that as an option either so we
tied the Spitfire to the back of my mother's VW with a rope and dragged
it home. I pushed it into the garage, leaving her car outside, and learned
about fixing the Spitfire myself. The chewed-up seat in the head was
repaired by a local machine shop, a new piston and rod bearings came
from A & L, and with the help of a Kenneth Ball Spitfire Repair Manual,
I put the engine back together. Of course it wouldn't start, but after
towing it back to Bob Byrd on the end of a rope behind the VW, it came
to life and ran well for the remainder of the time that I had it. Many
lessons were learned from that experience--don't over-rev your engine,
learn how to fix your own car, and don't let a girl like Janine hang out
with a guy like Andy while you're fixing your car. Janine and Andy were
later married and subsequently divorced.
Introduction by John Swauger--Continued
Don't over-rev your