© 2019 - Macy’s Garage, Ltd.
Macy’s Garage
America’s BEST Triumph Shop
SAD RESTORATION STORY

A Sad Restoration Story

The title of this story can be interpreted two different ways.  It's either a sad story about a restoration, or it's a story about a sad restoration.  The actuality is that it's both, and unfortunately it's a story we hear and see all too often regarding TR's that were "restored" somewhere other than here at Macy's Garage. Imagine how fortunate you would have been if your Father had purchased a new TR3A in 1959, and took your mother and you to England to pick up the car at the Standard-Triumph factory. Then, following the trans-Atlantic flight and all of the excitement of receiving the new family sports car at the factory, you toured Europe in your Triumph for 3 weeks before flying home to await the arrival of that special little car.  As great as that experience was, imagine how lucky you felt when this same TR was presented to you a few years later as a gift following your high school graduation.  You drove that car all through college and well into your new adult life, until the day it had become so used up that it entered a long slumber and slowly started to rot.  You promised yourself that some day you were going to fix it up and drive it again, but then the years passed by so fast. Now one day you realize that it's time to bring your TR3 back to life, and you start looking for someone to restore it.  Imagine again how lucky you would feel to walk into a business that restores old cars, and find that it is owned by a transplanted Englishman!  Who better to restore your precious little British car than someone who was born and raised in England?  You must certainly be feeling like you and your TR3 were both born under a lucky star.  And this is the point where the wheels came off of the apple cart.  The shop owner was better at telling tales about things he used to do back in England that in actually doing quality work here in the USA, and his knowledge of TR's was superficial at best.  The restoration drug on for multiple years, and ended up costing more than $75,000.  At that time it wasn't an unreasonable amount to spend on a quality restoration of a car needing everything, but it's about 3 times as much as it should have been for the hack-job that was received.  The photos below will show just a small sampling of the technical errors and poor workmanship we discovered once the car was brought to our shop.  The problems noted here aren’t all-inclusive (there are plenty more), but this is enough to give you the general idea.  Unfortunately, there's no shortage of low quality work like this that folks have paid to have inflicted on their precious TR’s.  Don’t become the next victim of some incompetent who can tell a good story! This car would barely run when the "restoration" was finished, and so it sat unused for a couple more years.  Eventually the owner found Macy's Garage, and saved up enough money to have us make the repairs necessary to make the car run reliably.  It still isn't pretty, but it's finally able to be used as dependable transportation once again.  And the best part is that the smile has now been restored to the owner's face!
Grill badges proudly display all of the European countries that were visited when the car was new in 1959.
Sidecurtains were "rebuilt" with one solid window that cannot be opened.  They keep the rain out, as well as any fresh air!  Also note that the windshield frame and posts were not re-chromed.
Another view of the neglected chrome plating.  The car also retains it's original seats.  While it's nice that the original seats could still be used, both fresh chrome and new seats could have been included considering the overall cost of the restoration.
More interior snafus.  There's way too much padding on the door panels, which causes the screws to pull in too deeply.  The screws used are also one size too large, and have Phillips heads instead of the original slotted style.  Also note the red painted sidecurtain brackets.  If you are going to take the time to paint something, why not use the original color paint?
I know it’s hard to see the fine details in this small photo, but both the chrome bezels around the gauges and the spring for the adjustable steering wheel are heavily rusted.  The heater fan knob is also dirty and crusty.  All are things you should never see in a quality restoration, and again these are things which should have been addressed considering the total cost of the restoration.
The cowl vent lid would not stay open, which compounded the problem of the non-opening sidecurtain windows.  The owner could not get any FRESH air inside the car!  The door link at the top had been fabricated at "The Limey's" shop, and the lower link is a correct length original that we installed from our extensive used parts inventory.  The vent lid stays open now!
We show this photo to point out the extremely wide door gap at the front of the door, and the very tight gap at the rear.  All of the panel gaps throughout this car are atrocious!  We work extremely hard here to assure that all of the body gaps on our restorations are even and precise.  The dent in the door is an "oil can" that wasn't shrunk and removed prior to paint, and it will pop in and out until the paint is stripped, the metal is worked, and then the door is repainted.
A big part of the reason that the car didn't run well was because the camshaft of the "rebuilt" engine was installed one tooth off.  We had our suspicions that this was the case when we revved-up the engine with air cleaners off, and a mist of gasoline could be felt blowing back out of the carburetors.  Pulling down the front of the engine and performing a mini cam degree process confirmed our hunch and repaired the problem.  It still has a couple of cylinders pumping oil, but now it will at least keep up with traffic!
Another contributor to the poor running, especially on hot days, was the absence of the carburetor heat insulators.  Both carburetors were bolted directly to the intake manifold with a single thin gasket.  Needless to say, it was very difficult to get the car restarted after the hot engine had been shut down for 10-15 minutes.
While the front apron was off to repair the mis-timed camshaft, we found that the screws for the bonnet popper supports were left off.  It's no wonder that the bonnet popper was bent under the aluminum tie bar and the bonnet prop rod was difficult to keep seated in it's slot.
This is the fuel line, just ahead of the left rear wheel.  First, this is missing a rubber grommet to keep from wearing a hole in the line by metal to metal contact with the frame.  The second issue is that it passes through the wrong hole and will prevent the front spring pivot bolt from being withdrawn if the rear spring ever requires removal.
Another problem with the main fuel line is that it is supposed to pass under the body mount tube, and you can see the small hole in the bottom of the tube which is supposed to hold a clip.  Without the clip and being located above the tube, the fuel line and union rattle continuously against the bottom of the floor.
More plumbing problems, this time it's the rear brake lines which are routed under the rear leaf springs.  These lines are supposed to turn up immediately to get them up where they are less likely to be snagged and ripped away by anything which might be driven over.  This could make a bad situation much worse if running over road debris causes you to lose the brakes!
And yet more plumbing issues.  This is the brake line which runs from the front of the car to the rear axle.  There are several comments I could make about this, but the single point I'd like to make here is that if a "professional" restoration shop coils up a line because they are incapable of cutting one that's too long and re-flaring it, then they aren't really capable of performing a complete restoration on any car.  It doesn't get much more amateur than this!
Sometime after you have stripped and painted the bottom of the car is not the time to discover that you should have welded some extra holes shut.  They left quite a mess here which has started to rust the floors again.  The saddest part of this is that two of the four holes are supposed to be there with rubber plugs in them, and the other two could have been "repaired" with rubber plugs as well.  Also note that the brake line has been run through the spring pivot bolt hole just like the fuel line on the other side.  At least they used a rubber grommet this time!
The clutch didn't feel right, and here's the bulk of the problem.  The clutch slave cylinder has been installed on the wrong side of the bracket in such a manner that to change it required the clutch hydraulic system to be drained and re-bled.
We had plenty of vibrations and clunking noises from under the car, and we traced most of it to a loose driveshaft yoke on the rear of the gearbox.  The large castellated nut did have a cotter pin installed half way in, but it was 2+ turns away from being tight.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!
Here's the rest of the clunk noises and vibrations.  A correct 3/8" driveshaft bolt with a shoulder is shown on the left, and the incorrect and much smaller 5/16" fully threaded bolt(s) which were installed front and rear are shown on the right.  We all just stand there and shake our heads in disbelief when we see things like this.
All of the guys got a big chuckle over this one.  The pigtails for both front parking lights were made from solid strand building wire like that which would be run through metal conduit!
Here's some more of the solid building wire behind the instrument panel.  We had to pull the center instrument panel to repair many other wiring problems as well.
One week after I first posted this story, I received the following e-mail from the owner.  It warmed my heart, and so I want to share it with all of you who visit here.  This is why we all work so hard on these wonderful little cars.  Lord knows it isn't for the money! “Until this summer I not only thought about every time I wanted to drive the TR...I worried about it. I knew that even if I could get it started it probably wouldn't run long enough to get me home. Besides all the horrendous things that happened it was just NOT reliable. Which I hated because when it was new; it was.   Granted I haven't driven it as much as I could have before I started this job. BUT I know that if I get it in it now my baby will start, run wonderfully, stop without chugging, AND start back up again at the end of the day!!”
© 2019 - Macy’s Garage, Ltd.
Macy’s Garage
America’s BEST Triumph Shop

A Sad Restoration Story

The title of this story can be interpreted two different ways.  It's either a sad story about a restoration, or it's a story about a sad restoration.  The actuality is that it's both, and unfortunately it's a story we hear and see all too often regarding TR's that were "restored" somewhere other than here at Macy's Garage. Imagine how fortunate you would have been if your Father had purchased a new TR3A in 1959, and took your mother and you to England to pick up the car at the Standard- Triumph factory. Then, following the trans-Atlantic flight and all of the excitement of receiving the new family sports car at the factory, you toured Europe in your Triumph for 3 weeks before flying home to await the arrival of that special little car.  As great as that experience was, imagine how lucky you felt when this same TR was presented to you a few years later as a gift following your high school graduation.  You drove that car all through college and well into your new adult life, until the day it had become so used up that it entered a long slumber and slowly started to rot.  You promised yourself that some day you were going to fix it up and drive it again, but then the years passed by so fast. Now one day you realize that it's time to bring your TR3 back to life, and you start looking for someone to restore it.  Imagine again how lucky you would feel to walk into a business that restores old cars, and find that it is owned by a transplanted Englishman!  Who better to restore your precious little British car than someone who was born and raised in England?  You must certainly be feeling like you and your TR3 were both born under a lucky star.  And this is the point where the wheels came off of the apple cart.  The shop owner was better at telling tales about things he used to do back in England that in actually doing quality work here in the USA, and his knowledge of TR's was superficial at best.  The restoration drug on for multiple years, and ended up costing more than $75,000.  At that time it wasn't an unreasonable amount to spend on a quality restoration of a car needing everything, but it's about 3 times as much as it should have been for the hack-job that was received.  The photos below will show just a small sampling of the technical errors and poor workmanship we discovered once the car was brought to our shop.  The problems noted here aren’t all-inclusive (there are plenty more), but this is enough to give you the general idea.  Unfortunately, there's no shortage of low quality work like this that folks have paid to have inflicted on their precious TR’s.  Don’t become the next victim of some incompetent who can tell a good story! This car would barely run when the "restoration" was finished, and so it sat unused for a couple more years.  Eventually the owner found Macy's Garage, and saved up enough money to have us make the repairs necessary to make the car run reliably.  It still isn't pretty, but it's finally able to be used as dependable transportation once again.  And the best part is that the smile has now been restored to the owner's face! For our mobile site, we can only show just a few of the atrocities we found while repairing this car.  For more photos and descriptions of the low quality workmanship of this “restoration”, and things which can go wrong if you choose the wrong “restorer”, please view this page on a large screen device. A big part of the reason that the car didn't run well was because the camshaft of the "rebuilt" engine was installed one tooth off.  We had our suspicions that this was the case when we revved-up the engine with air cleaners off, and a mist of gasoline could be felt blowing back out of the carburetors.  Pulling down the front of the engine and performing a mini cam degree process confirmed our hunch and repaired the problem.  It still has a couple of cylinders pumping oil, but now it will at least keep up with traffic! Another contributor to the poor running, especially on hot days, was the absence of the carburetor heat insulators.  Both carburetors were bolted directly to the intake manifold with a single thin gasket.  Needless to say, it was very difficult to get the car restarted after the hot engine had been shut down for 10-15 minutes. There were plenty of plumbing issues.  This is the brake line which runs from the front of the car to the rear axle.  There are several comments I could make about this, but the single point I'd like to make here is that if a "professional" restoration shop coils up a line because they are incapable of cutting one that's too long and re-flaring it, then they aren't really capable of performing a complete restoration on any  car.  It doesn't get much more amateur than this! We had plenty of vibrations and clunking noises from under the car, and we traced most of it to a loose driveshaft yoke on the rear of the gearbox.  The large castellated nut did have a cotter pin installed half way in, but it was 2+ turns away from being tight.  Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy! One week after I first posted this story, I received the following e-mail from the owner.  It warmed my heart, and so I want to share it with all of you who visit here.  This is why we all work so hard on these wonderful little cars.  Lord knows it isn't for the money! “Until this summer I not only thought about every time I wanted to drive the TR...I worried about it. I knew that even if I could get it started it probably wouldn't run long enough to get me home. Besides all the horrendous things that happened it was just NOT reliable. Which I hated because when it was new; it was.   Granted I haven't driven it as much as I could have before I started this job. BUT I know that if I get it in it now my baby will start, run wonderfully, stop without chugging, AND start back up again at the end of the day!!”