Due to a change in storage abilities, I
sadly decided to sell Fagin. I am glad to say that he has
moved to a wonderful new caretaker who will keep him on
the road for years to come. Good bye old friend.
The background here shows one of the first photos I had seen of my British sports car before acquiring it. It had just been purchased by Marc Evans of New England Classic Cars in Stratford CT, and he had not yet seen it either. At this time it was in California and Marc thought that it was the more common TR3A.
When it arrived in Connecticut, it proved to be a less common TR3B, commission number TCF 120 L. At first I was not thinking that it was a reality for me at this time, but fortune shone on me and I was able to come up with the purchase price and acquire this new toy in early April of 2007. The photo below shows the car in the New England Classic Cars showroom. They did a good bit of mechanical work to get the car ready again, and added a new top which I have not yet tried.
The car was delivered to me in Allentown on May 4, 2007. I am learning the idiosyncrasies of driving it right now, and starting to see what additional work will be needed for cosmetics and maintenance. I need to acquire manuals and more information on the car as I start taking it to shows and on runs on country roads. The photos below show the car shortly after its first drive in the Lehigh Valley.
A bit of TR3 history explains that the TR3 entered production in May of 1955 and the last one was built in August 1957. The TR3A was produced from September 1957 through October of 1961, and made up the bulk of the TR3 production. The TR3B is not actually labeled as such, but the model name is common usage. It uses the body of the TR3A, but the 2,138 cc. engine and all synchromesh transmission of the TR4. The gearbox has an excellent feel. The engine is a straight 4, push rod, 3 bearing, with wet liners. It has 9:1 compression, is very rigid and has wonderful slow running and clutch feel. This engine generates 105 horsepower, and top speed was reputed to be 110 mph. About 3400 copies of the TR3B were produced in 1962, at the same time the TR4 had entered production. Some feel it was produced to calm American dealers who felt the new body style would fail to be popular with American buyers, while others say it was to use up the excess TR3A bodies that Standard had already produced and not used. Either way, I am sure glad that these cars were made.
On the first hot day drive of over 25 miles, the temperature gauge started to climb, so I came directly home and parked the car just as steam and antifreeze began to leave the radiator. A replacement of the powered wire, including a Pektron A75-274 which was in the circuit, made the electric fan start to run, so I have not had a similar problem. I sure hope that the small 3 Amp diode was not a major component of the electrics. A cracked tail light lens has been replaced, and new convex mirrors mounted on the front fenders, which give me much improved rear visibility. I am awaiting a Welsh Dragon crest to mount on the grill where the Union Jack had been when the car was photographed in California. A general cleaning, waxing, and a few dress-up details have been made in the first couple of weeks, but nothing major. Some of the first projects will new rubber body gaskets and door gaskets, as well as a visit to the radiator shop for a general check up of the cooling system, and then an attempt as tuning the engine as it seems to be running rich right now.
The car has now earned the name "Fagin" from the character in Oliver Twist. He will not just rob me blind, but on from time to time he likes to pick my pocket for a bit of loose change.
I have done some cleaning up of the interior, and adding some dress up items on the car. The last boy-racer item I added is a replica vintage British license plate on the front, and now I will need to start learning more mechanicals. I have started to replace some of the rubber gaskets on the body as they are 45 years old. I have found that Pennsylvania will not change the title to the proper year of 1962 but they instead titled it as a 1963 since that was the year the car was first purchased. I will continue to consider it to be a 1962 because it left England for the USA back on May 23, 1962. Here are a few more updated photos of the car.
On June 10 the car made its public debut in Hellertown at the 14th Annual British Motorcar Gathering held by the Keystone Region MG Club. The car made it easily to the grounds and was granted a spot right at the entrance to the show (because I was was there early) which made for a great vantage point to watch cars driving into the show. It was great to make the acquaintance of several people who have been helping me via the British Car Forum, and to get a chance to look at other TR3's to help me learn more about various details of my car. I now know that a chrome opening on the dash near the glove box used to be for windscreen washer activation lever. The washing mechanism is no longer there, but the Heritage build sheet said that it left the factory with that option.
This final photos was sent to me from a very nice couple I met at the show. In the photo there are three members of the British Car Forum standing behind my car. With me are Russ and Ian. The British Car Forum has proved to be a great resource for learning more about maintaining my toy.
I finally got around to ordering new air cleaners for the incorrect Strombergs that are currently fitted on the engine of my car. I had problems trying to match the ones that came on the car, and finally decided to change to the recommended units from Moss. They arrived while I was golfing (poorly) yesterday, so this morning I opened the box to see that the new units were 1/2 inch thicker than those I was replacing. I removed the old dirty air cleaners, and mounted the new ones. Of course, now the bolts were too short, so I visited Home Depot for four new bolts, and the supplies needed to make use of the ceiling fluorescents in the garage easier to use by adding a switch and no longer needing to climb a ladder to plug them into the live outlet. Now I can turn them on and off without removing the car. I used the new bolts and got the new "made in Taiwan" air cleaners into place, and added the AC Made in England decals. When all done and closing the bonnet, the support rod that keeps the bonnet up when working snapped off, so now new rods for the bonnet and the trunk are on order as well. The first photo below shows the old air cleaners, and the one on the right displays the replacement units.
When I went to drive the car a couple of days later, the engine was very rough. I took out the new items and restored the old air cleaners to the engine, and it was still very rough. I "tinkered" with the emission hoses on the air cleaners, and suddenly it seemed to be smoothed out. I then put the Taiwanese air cleaners back, and it seems to be running fine. If only I knew what I did right. In the meantime, the new support rod arrived from The Roadster Factory, and that has been installed, the hood latch has been realigned to match the catch, and all is right with the world until my next project.
This is the appearance of the car on July 4, 2007
On August 4, I took Fagin to Das Awkscht Fescht in Macungie PA. He was the only TR3 of any type, and one of only a handful of British cars on the field of nearly 1300 cars. Many people seem to have fond memories of their own, or of friend's Triumph cars, so we were happy to help people relive those years. After the show, he went into K & T Sports Car Restoration for a brief vacation and bearing replacement.
On the road to Das Awkscht Fescht and on the field at Macungie Park.
After the show, Fagin was taken to K & T Vintage Sports Cars for some work on the front end. It seemed to be out of alignment and would shimmy at highway speeds. They discovered that in the installation of a TR4 rack and pinion steering system, a previous owner had failed to include a rack tube bushing and a tab washer to lock everything in place. While awaiting some parts Ken also did some work on the rear carburetor which seemed to really smooth out the engine. Upon getting the car back right after Labor Day, I took a few moments to again drive around the Lehigh Valley and take a few more photos which are included below. I took these for the contest on the British Car Forum for a fund raising calendar under development. Although none of them will probably ever be published elsewhere, I had a desire to share them with my friends.
Now that the temperature is getting a bit cooler, I felt it was time to try and fit the tonneau cover for protecting the interior of the car. If you do not know what a tonneau is, it is a vinyl or canvas cover that goes snaps onto the top of the dash board, around the doors, and across the back of the interior. Cars like Fagin have little rods onto which the various covers can snap on for attaching the hood (convertible top), the hood sticks (frame for the convertible top), and the tonneau cover. Whenever you acquire one of these objects you need to mount the snaps to the item spaced to match the attachments on the body. Since no two Triumphs are exactly alike, you punch the hole and four slots in the cover for each 'Lift-the-Dot' snaps. It is slow, but once you get started it is not too difficult. I did take the car out tonight to see how it felt driving with the cover over the passenger seat, but opened on the drivers side. It did reduce the airflow on my body which should allow more autumnal drives, or driving in a drizzle not getting to the majority of the interior. And then a quick closing of the zipper will allow fastening a complete cover for the interior. The photos follow.
Shortly after getting the car back from having the alignment done, the cable snapped for the tachometer. I ordered a new cable, and the day before it arrived, the brake pedal went to the floor and there was fluid all over the right front wheel. Fagin went back to the shop and had a caliper rebuilt so that I could stop the car when I desired. Upon the return, I put the new tachometer cable into the car, and was glad to once again know my engine speed, even though the speedometer is still all over the place. I probably need to lubricate that cable as well.
Anyway, when returning the tachometer cable under the bonnet, I must have moved the capillary tube for the temperature gauge. It should have been clipped to the engine, but probably never was when the engine was replaced. While driving, this very flexible tube must have bounce down near the steering column, and eventually wrapped around the column. When backing out of a parking space I felt the steering briefly tighten, then a snap and a pungent odor. I warily drove home, and soon noticed that my temperature was not reading a proper level for during driving. I popped open the bonnet to find the previously ether filled capillary tube wrapped around the steering column, and no longer being attached to the temperature sensor on the thermostat housing. So now Fagin is again resting in the garage awaiting the return of the repaired temperature gauge.
The day before Thanksgiving, I found out the above photo of Fagin with his headlights working had been chosen to be in the first ever British Car Forum Calendar. I am very excited to find Fagin being a part of this publication, even if it is of limited circulation. If you want to see the cars that are in the calendar, or order a 2008 British Car Forum calendar, just check it out at Lulu Publishing. By visiting the site you can see all the cars that are included this year. Fagin is part of the December 2008 page.
With Fagin's second season in my ownership, I now have the antique plates and have enjoyed just taking some runs through the Lehigh Valley. Above and below are some photos of the car on a November afternoon drive. Fagin also went to Das Awkscht Fescht again this summer. Soon the driving season will end, and the car will again go into the shop for some improvements. Last winter the transmission was rebuilt, and this year we hope to find why the warm up takes so long, and why the engine is running too rich. Also a small leak in the rear end needs to be fixed plus a few other minor details, but the car has been much more reliable this summer.
The British Car Forum has again published a calendar of member's cars (in fact this year there are two calendars to get more cars featured), and Fagin again has made it on one of the calendars, this time as Mr. June where it is the sole car on the page. The photo below is the photo that you can see at the Lulu Marketplace, and the photo is page 7.
The next repairs that were done were to correct work done by the previous owner. He had changed the engine to one from a 1964 TR4 which is very similar. But we had not realized that he had put the original TR3B transmission inside the case for a TR3A which was the reason the synchromesh was not working in first or second gears. My mechanic had checked out the transmission and said everything looked good and shifted properly until he put it back in the case. Finally it was figured out that the TR3A case kept the sychros from functioning, so a TR4 case was found and my tranmission was installed in that fixing the problem. Another project was the manner in which the previous owner had mounted the improved rack and pinion steering system that he had installed. A frame was built for the steering box, but when everything was put together, they had bent the tie rods and the steering column to meed up with the box. This explained the weird handling and vibration at speed that Fagin had been showing. K&T's shop redid the mount, fixed the tie rods, and put two universals in the steering column to remove the bent section. At that time as well, the engine was retuned and now idles wonderfully. Fagin became Mr. November in this year's British Car Forum calendar, using the photo below.
My TR3B also made the 2011 calendar in the
October slot this time. You can see that photo below.
During the summer of 2011, my one turn signal
went out of whack, so I tried to fix things. At the time, I
decided to put all new rubber gaskets on the car at the signal
lenses and the back-up lights. By the time I was done fussing
with wiring, none of the turn signals flashed, and the back up
lights were not functioning either. I finally called a friend
who is more mechanical than me, and he found a section of
wiring that seemed to not be functioning. We replaced that
piece of wire, cleaned the contacts, and now Fagin just awaits
breaks between the earthquake, the hurricane, other torrential
rain, and the freak wet snow this fall that downed powerlines
again, so that we can get a few more drives before winter
comes once again. I have decided not to enter any photos in
this years contest to let the other members of the forum get
their cars into the 2012 calendar. Although I did not show
Fagin this year, he had some great times on the road, when I
was not out on my newly acquired 2009 Vespa 150S.
Please check in for updates from time to time, as I learn more about this piece of very enjoyable machinery.
*** Web site disclaimer - Please Read before proceeding *** **** Viewers are warned that if they attempt any mechanical repairs or modifications, or follow procedures referred to here, they do so at their own risk, and no liability will attach to either myself or any of the companies that performed work on car.****
But then, why would anyone do anything mechanical based on me and my attempts???
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