Class: Rueful Britannia
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Introducing: The Shaguar! Its a 78 Triumph Spitfire that a friend and I rescued from a guy planning on a diesel swap and welded back together with rebar and angle iron. Its mostly bondo under that shiney paint; which I did myself for free using expired aircraft paint. I welded the diff, put on a skidplate, and taken on the gambler 500 2 years in a row. Its been beaten hard and rarely gets new parts, just hand-me-downs from my other spitfire. This thing is made of spare parts. It currently using the muffler from a yugo that is safety-wired up, for example. Its hand-me-down 1500 engine will not rev over 4 grand because valve springs are so wore out. But it has enough power to do stupid things off road that a spitfire should never do. The best part is it looks pretty enough to fool people into thinking its a nice car and we are idiots. We have an absolute blast with it all the time. Was looking forward to making it to concours de'lemons this year.
I made a quick video of it: https://youtu.be/RIn_lmu_Zr8
So, after a decades-long absence from the cockpit of a "race car," I decided to show those who may have remembered me...just how far I'd fallen.
Some call it "losing' my flipping' mind"...but I digress.
Enter my 1967 Rover 2000TC, a proud and deeply-flawed survivor car. The only major thing that's been done to it is an engine rebuild, due to a failed oil pump. it has the ragged OE paint, the ragged-ier OE interior, and only a few square feet of the boot floor that's been badly patched. Other than that, Margaret is pretty much as she left the factory, at Solihull.
No seriously..that's what I did: I entered it in one of SCCA's local Rallycross events.
After the laughter subsided, and I passed Tech, I competed in the daytime stage. I weenied out of staying till the late hours of the evening stage, afraid I might not find any of the hard-to-source original parts that might have fallen off during the night.
But, the Mighty Rover--Margaret, to her closest friends--availed herself well, and in the day stage, set one of the faster times, in its class.
Hey, it's not a full-on LeMons racer, but I think it's close enough!
It takes true heroism--or a seriously compromised sense of personal self-worth, and a vanishing sense of personal safety to enter a 53-year old British sedan in a racing event.
I'll let you guess which overtook me....
PS: don't tell McKeel I raced it.
In its day, it was compared favorably to the Rolls-Royce. In my day, it hasn't run. And my day hasn't started particularly recently.
But despite being off the road for longer than it was on, this 1952 Rover P4 75 has many distinguishing features. As an early P4, it shows off the rare "Cyclops" front end that puts any Studebaker to shame, and necessitates any decades-long storage to be conducted with the front end pointed out (a process that may indeed involve the honor of being towed backwards by an MGB). Its F-Head straight six doesn't require you to make that difficult choice between flathead and OHV designs because it smartly combines main features from both. It has suicide doors that surely aren't a subtle suggestion to anyone attempting to work on its F-Head engine. Its four gears are selected on the column, like all of the finest motorcars (including but not limited to the 1974 Plymouth Valiant). It even has a transmission freewheel device that has something to do with decoupling the transmission from the engine in a manner that Rover swears is on purpose.
As originality is of paramount importance in collector car circles, I have included a circa 1978 compression test of the unrestored powerplant. The variation between 23psi in cylinder #2 and 160psi in #3 clearly shows that this car is a rare and valuable survivor.
Much like seeing a Ferrari 250 GTO or Zagato-bodied Aston Martin, witnessing a Rover P4 is an experience to cherish. I now present that opportunity.
"How much car is car?" This is a question that has plagued gearheads and nosy HOA enforcers alike for decades. As time marches onward and rust never sleeps, many of our hoopties become less "car" with every passing season, choosing instead to adopt the identity of "heap", "pile", or "jumble."
Amidst this entropy, one manufacturer was brave enough to start from the bottom and race downward. Berkeley, an intrepid group of shed-dwellers located in Biggleswade, in Bedfordshire, on the Thames (as declared with odd specificity on the VIN tag), set out to make a car that started life as so little "car" that once it becomes less "car" you question what is "car" and what isn't, in fact, "car."
This is my Berkeley S492, VIN #84. Originally powered by an Excelsior engine, it is now powered by nothing. One morning at a Cars and Coffee, I stumbled across a Berkeley SE328 and remarked to the owner that I've always wanted to own one. He told me to follow him back to his garage, which I did in my '72 Leyland Mini Pickup. Once there I saw this beautiful specimen of fiberglass, aluminium, and sadness. I offered $350. He responded, "I'd be more comfortable with $250." A deal was struck.
It was at this point that I realized I did not have a trailer. But I did have a tape measurer and theoretical degree in physics. 48" wide... yup. That should fit. It came home inside my Range Rover, creating the most British sight since Elton John mispronounced a French word while suppressing his emotions. As a bonus, if you take the doors off the Berkeley, you can even close the glass hatch of the Rover. Science!
I'm slowly making it into something slightly more car-ish car by installing a Suzuki G10 from a Metro, cobbled together with Austin America shortened suspension arms, a custom subframe, and unfounded faith in my own welding abilities. It will never be done.
Your Berkeley project is both inspiring and maddening to look at! I love it. And the fact you brought it home in the back of a Range Rover only makes the lore of this vehicle even more impressive.
This Mini started life as a 998cc, right hand drive, front wheel drive standard Mini. It is now a left hand drive, mid-engine, rear drive, V-6, 300hp beast. Why? Why not!!
Minis handle great but are a little underpowered. This one still handles but has more power than it needs. 0-60 mph in 3.9 secs. From the outside it looks stock, but looks are deceiving. It even has it's own matching trailer for longer trips. I hope you like it because if definitely falls into weird category.
If Brian Johnson or any other Judge would like to try it out, arrangements can be made. Bribes are allowed, right ??
My wife and I decided to travel across Australia for the Triumph Sports Owners Associations National Rally to be held at Margaret River in Western Australia, some 3650kms or 2270 miles away from our home in Melbourne Victoria.
But what to take? It was a Triumph Rally and the TR6 race car was not an option. We decided a cheap sedan might be the go. Checked out ebay and facebook and found one in Sydney New South Wales that looked OK. Hooked up the trailer and drove north for 9 hours (875kms/545 miles) to check it out. Did the deal for $1300 and had our very own Triumph 2500 TC Sedan. Trailered it home the next day. Fuel bill was $400
Seven months to go before we had to leave so plenty of time. Some 4 months in still hadn’t looked at it. Time to get stuck in. Rust repair, radiator replaced, carbies rebuilt, suspension rubbers and tyres replaced, brakes rebuilt. Change the oil and give it a tune. My wife added some graphics to enhance the paint work.
Finally, roadworthy and registered 2 weeks before we due to leave. Quick test drive for 100 miles or so and off we went. What could go wrong? Well nothing really (apart from a tail shaft universal joint that decided it didn’t want to continue with us with still 700kms to go). Quick replacement at a repairer in Esperance with make do part and we continued on.
Made it to Margaret River 7 days later for the 10-day rally party doing another 450miles on tours around the region. As you can see, we stickered up and plotted the journey on our Australia map as we went on out Triumph Relic.
Car now sees duty as an occasional run about and on TSOA club drives. Wouldn’t sell it for quids as we say here.