1962 Triumph TR4 CT611L
This neglected TR4 was originally purchased to be used only as a parts car. Here's the story about how it gained a spot on my project list.
On the way to the airport one day, I happened to spot a couple of cars for sale in someone’s front yard. “HEY, THAT SECOND ONE WAS A TR4!” I exclaimed as I flashed past. With no time to stop, I secretly hoped it would still be there when I returned from my flight that afternoon. After all, it might have an o/d gearbox in it!
On the way home I was happy to see that the raggedy TR4 was still parked in the yard, and this time I could see that a reasonable price was written on the windshield. “Got to be worth parting out for that much” I said, and with that I knew that I’d probably haul it home before I was even out of my car.
I quickly opened the bonnet to see if the commission number had the coveted “O” indicating o/d and I was disappointed to see that it did not. But the disappointment quickly waned when I saw that the car was CT611L, one of the earliest TR4’s that were assembled in 1961. I told myself, “Not too many of these early cars left but it’s in really sad shape. Still probably a parts car.” Glancing at the engine number, I found it to be CT562E, probably the original. Checking further, I noticed that most of the early TR4 bits like the boot prop rod, aluminum gauge panel, and short bubble hood were still there. “No, I can’t save this thing, its too far gone. Better just part it out."
The owner was now circling like a buzzard over a dying man in the desert, and the negotiations began. He had the title (bonus) and I tried to control my excitement. He must have seen the gleam in my eye because he held out for the asking price. How could I go wrong?
I picked the car up the next morning, and stopped at the bank so the seller could have the title notarized. When I got it unloaded and looked things over closely, I started to lean more toward saving this very early 4. After all, I only know of about 10 of the 1st 1000 TR4’s that still exist and I’m well stocked on TR3 parts which were used extensively on the early 4’s. After digging through my used sheet metal inventory, I found that I already had most of the outer panels needed to replace the really bad ones, but “NO, I don’t need another project. Better to just part it out, or perhaps sell it on.”
Then my wife Tonda got a good look at the sad little TR4. “Hey, there’s windows in those doors” she commented. (You see, I have been telling her that sports cars only came with side curtains). “Those are pretty neat” she said. “I’d rather have one of these than my TR3.” And with that, the Macy collection gained another Triumph and my project list now reaches well into my retirement years. How could I refuse?
UPDATE, January 2011:
I successfully put this major project off until another early TR4 dropped into my lap. We have acquired #288, and it's a much better restoration candidate that 611. So #611 will again become the parts car that I thought it originally was, and 288 will be restored to satisfy the wife, who is pushing hard to get her car onto our shop schedule.