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Triumph TR8 Barn Find Restoration


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It has been a long time coming, but this barn find was started probably nearly40 years or so ago back in the day.  It has been discovered and will get a complete restoration to the original intent of the initial build.  The shape the model in now is exactly as it was left in the 1980's by the owner, who is the original owner! :) 

The delivery truck showed up at the shop today, with the car in pretty bad shape.... we will need some equipment to get it out of the truck.



Yesterday the engine showed up, and our mechanics looked things over and checked that all the parts and pieces are there.  Like any car project, some things won't fit the application and some parts are missing, so we did an inventory and my purchasing guy got out there and threw a fit because there wasn't a bill of lading nor a receipt of the individual parts.  It was not itemized, as it came in as ONE BIG component.  




This may have its advantages as it entered and exited customs much quicker and might I add, less duty to be paid which made our accountant happy.  So we sent those two guys off into the office to sort things out and leave the real car work to the mechanics.  It didn't take long to clean up the parts and get them prepared for the machine shop on Wednesday - and wait for the project car which arrived today, Thursday.



So now back to the project car, while the guys were figuring how to get the car out of the truck without damaging it, they figure they have to sublet a rigger to help get it out.  Boy oh boy, the accountant got wind of that and all the added expense and went ballistic!  Whoa! Things really hit the fan when he called the BOSS MAN and lit things up!  So the BOSS MAN shows up and ripped everyone up and down!  It was crazy!


Once things settled down a bit the BOSS MAN and the guys figured a way to get the car out of the truck and set out to inspect the project.  Little did we know that the car is actually a TR7, not a TR8 by checking the VIN, but really that is only a hood issue and some minor changes which were gonna happen anyway, since it is a complete rebuild of everything on the car.  So for today the boys called it quits and headed off to the local bar to conjure up a plan on what and how they are gonna attack their new project.  


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Hi Steve, 

Absolutely THE best introduction to a WIP thread I have seen. I read it this morning having my breakfast, great way to start my day! Thumbs up from my wife too. Not my usual subject of interest, but I am definitely in for the ride, bring it on… 

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Heard through the grapevine that you work on these orphan unloved Triumphs, and that you had the ability to make them better than original.  Put me in your schedule for your next project.  😉

Seriously, loved the introduction!  I do have this for a future project, conflicting with the 50 other projects I want to do.  The thing with this curbside series, they are decent bodies, with the plastic axle one piece chassis, which will get switched for a Corvette.   Look forward to your WIP! 🇬🇧

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22 hours ago, Steve H said:

Hi Steve, 

Absolutely THE best introduction to a WIP thread I have seen. I read it this morning having my breakfast, great way to start my day! Thumbs up from my wife too. Not my usual subject of interest, but I am definitely in for the ride, bring it on… 

I agree.. Me too.




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It was a long day today, $aturday and lots of overtime.  But first, BOSS MAN picked up the whole bar tab so a big shout out to him.  The guys got pretty messed up and in not to standard fashion, didn't get much completed Friday...but you know how it goes.  I sure do. When the BOSS MAN says projects are HOT, we say "you can't spell hot without OT!"   

So we got right to it today and the shop was smokin' with progress.  Now just to fill you guys in on what's been going on around here, I have quite a lot going on with modelling this year, with a BRBO going on, a lot of side jobs, a Formula One build for the new season and trying to get the shop set up as well.  Another hint, I am not a "fair weather modeller".  I am a "bad weather modeller".  Meaning being in Michigan, when the weather is nice, I will not be at the bench.  So time is a tickin' and lets get to it boppers...

Let's start with a few images to share so you can see what we got going here...




The car on the rack, and we can see where (I) left off so many years ago... Not sure how much detail we are going to get into, it's gonna depend on the budget.  Since we are going Time and Materials, with a phantom budget, were going to start with the parts that you normally would see from the outside with the car down on the ground and in Parc Ferme.  So we already opened the hood and stripped some of the chassis...and got the engine, at least we are going for a more detailed TR8.  

Here is another shot.  I am leaving the subject details out of this for the moment, but someone will guess it as we go along, and someone will be familiar with this. The vinyl roof was discarded back in the day so we are good there.  But the engine compartment will need a lot of detail such as strut towers, firewall, and fitting that aluminum V8 in there, the heart of the beast.


For the time being, we are going to have to work on this car "California Style", meaning the hoist will be outdoors until we can get a permit to begin the interior of the shop.  Gonna leave the details of that to the BOSS MAN and our accountant, but I will slowly be building more parts and tools to stock the interior when we get it done.  A lot of the guys are really shy and don't want their photos on Social Media, so you won't see any of the guys for a while either.  Hopefully we can find some new hires that are less bashful soon.  I have never done a "diorama" before, but this is kind of fun....we will see how it develops once the city agrees to our permit.

I can't show some of our clients cars either, until we get their permissions and releases signed.  But I can tell ya, we got some cool stuff coming up before spring breaks and the Calcium Chloride gets washed off the roads and into the protected wetlands around here.  IMG_9993.thumb.JPG.6b350ca0ee97e011bed50c3967997d0d.JPG

Here are all the parts that we found in the barn with the car.  Enough to get a decent start, but we are going to have to use that engine as a boat anchor - I don't know what it even is.  I guess back in the day that was the closest to a TR8 engine from first glance, but it is just junk.  The hood as you can see is for a 4 cylinder, it does not have the raised bump, so that will head off to the bodyshop.  

The guys got a lot of hours in today, lots of overtime which will buy some new models or maybe a new boat for summer...but we gotta watch the effort during the week.  Be productive and get our projects done including this old Triumph. Gotta keep the El Dorado out of the pictures....  We sent the engine off to the machine shop today as well.  Another report coming soon!

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Just got a tip on another TR7.  This one has been collecting dust in an undisclosed location.  The guy had a nutty idea for drag racing it, so it's rough.  He didn't like the vinyl roof either, what were they thinking?


I'm digging your garage diorama.

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Easiest, most efficient and profitable way to get the car on the ground?

Chain it to something heavy, drive the truck out from under it, bill the client to repair the damage.

You have to think differently to stay competitive in today's business environment.   B)

EDIT: Or just ship the truck with the car in it to China. Let those guys deal with everything, when it's done ship it back to your shop and mark the cost up 100%.


Edited by Ace-Garageguy
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  • 1 month later...

It has been a crazy last MONTH since we last had an update from the shop.  The TR-8 has been in a quagmire of red tape that I think we got figured out.  The Feds paid us a visit cause they thought we were tampering with stolen property.  Dude completely fooled us as he showed up in this ride (thought it was a new customer).




They SHUT us down for a month!  That was "Thirty Days in the Hole" for the BOSS man - and now he is eating some Humble Pie.  We had to post bond and now he feels he has a debt of gratitude to pay us.  So I guess we can get back on the wagon and get moving on the project a little bit till the nicer spring weather comes.  We didn't really lose too much to the project as our team spent a week supporting our local rally wrenching on cars and drinking beers with the locals up north.  It was a fun time, and yours truly got "roped into" driving one of the course opening cars - which requires driving the stages and making sure all proper safety elements are in place.  It turned out I am buying this ride from another guy for a steal.  No rust but beat to all heck, perfect for driving fast in the woods. 



So when me and the boys got back to the shop, and found the cease and stop order on the door, we contacted our lawyer and sent him to work to get things straightened out.  In the meantime, the machine shop, which we outsourced the engine to, was able to get a few things done and made progress on the engine.  We are leaving the pan off for now, so we can see how the engine is going to fit in the chassis, and working on these "headers" from a SBC that are gonna fit come heck or high water!  They really won't be too visible, and tucked down low.  Someone walked off with the distributor, so I modified one from that same SBC and it is gonna fit right in. 


Here is my reference from back in the day.  The real car as it was.  I have other photos of the "restored" version as well, but this one is perfect to start with.  I am unsure If the customer wants the original white with blue trim, or the Quaker State white and green, but the basics are there to get moving on the project now that the shop is open and busy again.  


There are so many other projects going on at the shop, so updates may be a bit sporadic.  Plus, in two weeks time, there is the local Model Show to attend in Warren, MI and have a lot of fun stuff to take and display.  So that will be a wasted weekend.  Hope to have less drama, more production especially now that the BOSS MAN is off our backs!

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