Newsletter of the St. Louis Triumph Owners Association
www.SLTOA.org June 2002
The following individuals were members in 2001, but have not yet paid their dues for 2002. Kevin & Sophia Bach, John Bickford, David Butler, Jack Fansher, Donna Taylor & Chuck Glomb, Rick & Chris Green, Greg & Chrystie Heise, Pam Hoffman, Thomas T. Kwaitkowski, Katherine Cuba/Michael Mason, Michael & Sarah Polcyn, Richard & Debbie Radasch, Jerry L. & Margaret A. Sanders, Robert Shaw, Donald G. & Mary Jo Ungerman, Casey M. & Rene Yunker. These people have been removed from the SLTOA roster and have not received this June newsletter. If you know any of these people, feel free to contact them. If they have just forgotten to mail their dues, let them know that they will be returned to the roster as soon as their dues are received.
Well the summer is all but here, those busy, scorching days. With luck, Triumph pursuits will not be neglected in favor of other obligations that inevitably accrue. Hope everyone got to drive his or her LBC during the "Drive Your British Car Week." I drove mine to work and got the usual mix of compliments and comparisons to pedal cars. In club related news, thanks to Karl and others who made the club barbecue/meeting go off so smoothly. Once again, this is an example of club members making the club great! I briefly visited the European Car Show on June 2. Several of our club members were there, as were some Healey guys. Steve Hurst, Healey Club president, won one of the awards with his big Healey. Perhaps the participants could give us details on some of the show cars when we get together for our next meeting. I also look forward to reports from the Champaign Car Festival and the Louisville gathering.
For the more sedentary among us, the June issue of Thoroughbred and Classic Cars features fifty "Best of British" cars from successive decades. the TR2, TR4, Stag and Dolomite Sprint saloon are listed. The "Mini" was determined the best car - oh well. So where was the six-cylinder Triumph: in an article on an upgraded (192 bhp) TR5! In other news, I misquoted the address of the North American Spitfire Squadron. The address is http://www.nasshq.org/. Spit fans might also check http://www.abcs.com/bauguesh/nass/ and http://www.triumphspitfire.com/. http://www.triumphspitfire.com/ has a mention of a Spitfire and GT6 magazine. The Great Race starts June 15, but the race is in the southwest this year. We can probably follow their progress at http://www.greatrace.com/.
On a more personal note, I finally found a TR6 hardtop, or actually, Roy Matteson found it for me. Many thanks, Roy. When I picked up the top, Roy was painting a Stag in a beautiful dark green.
Keep in mind the Mid-Ohio races, June 14 to 16, as well as the "Antiques, Guns, and Cars" day on June 15. Guns and cars, all we need is alcohol for an all-American combination! Just kidding.
I look forward to seeing you members on Tuesday at Chuck-A-Burger.
Our May Meeting was an excellent time; Des Peres Park was a most beautiful setting. We would all like to thank Karl for cooking the Brats and the Hot Dogs. Also big thanks to Joe Miller for the great tasting Ted Drew’s.
A Reminder all Dues are now past due. Please pay soon or sooner even! This enables us to do the fine things we do each year.
The Route 66 Car Show was fun; however the rain kept a lot of drivers away. All that attended received Fuzzy Dice; well Arlies’ were deposited along the road as high speeds in his TR3A. There where a total of 4 Drivers from our club, hopefully next year the weather will be better and Arlie can keep his dice in a safer place.
May 25 thur June 2 is Drive Your British Car week. Get out and drive your British cars, and remember pushing it does not count.
In the April- May newsletter is an Article about how to repair cracks on your dash.
Check it out. Also in the Newsletter is information about Concourse Detailing. Brad Bloomquest is the Leader in this area, and his documents are to be included on the web site. Look for them soon.
We are looking for a few Newsletter Editors, to assist in completing the newsletter. Currently Creig Houghtaling is the lone ranger in this effort, and it is a major task to supply the newsletter in the quality we provide. Addition newsletter editors would work together to capture club information as it happens, and forward it to Creig for insertion into the newsletter. Please contact Creig at email@example.com.
Champaign Car Show is on May 24-26. The theme for this Car Show will be a 50’s theme. Any one interested in driving up there, we are meeting at the Krispy Kreme in Florissant at 11:30 on Friday. The show should end sometime around 4:00 on Sunday, awards being presented at 3:00 pm.
We will be staying at Jummers and are looking forward to having a good time, as always.
June 2 is the European Car Show. There are about 60 cars registered so far. The fee to register is 17.00.
Mid-Ohio Car Races are June 14-16. This is the 50 anniversary of the TR-1. There is talk that the VTR President will be there. The races will be Saturday and the Indurance Run on Sunday, There will be 14 Drivers and 15 Cars from Euro there. Contact Andrew Stark for information about this event at firstname.lastname@example.org
Also to be held on the weekend of June 15th is a BBQ Tec Session, in Troy Illinois. This is an all day event. All the Wives are invited to go Antiquing in Lebanon Illinois. Arlie is setting this up, but the news so far is we will be eating well, seeing a few nice weapons, and a great Tec session to boot. If you’re going to miss the Mid-Ohio Races, don’t miss this!
Jon Rhodes will conduct a Tec Session in Washington Missouri. He restores Jags, and does a real fine job. The session will take place in June or July; watch the newsletter for the date.
Up coming events
6 Pack Trails will be held in September on the 26th, 27th, and the 28th. This is the TR 6 Annual Convention, for those not familiar with it.
The next meeting will be on June 18, at Chuck A Burger.
Hi all. This will be my first installment of news from the pits. I will do my best to give you all an update of what Frank and I are doing with our Triumph racecars as the year goes.
This month is called "It's In the Details"
Details can either help you or hurt you when it comes to racing. This year so far details have been biting me in the butt from the get go.
This year I set out to get my SCCA regional drivers license. What should have been a straightforward deal turned out to been a complicated and costly hassle. Realizing in late February that I was not going to get my car finished for the school I started looking for a rental car. It turns out that renting a racecar is very expensive. I was thinking $500 to $1000 when in reality it is $2500 to $4500 a weekend. Jaw dropping to say the least. With this info I decided it would be best just to wait until my car was done and deal with missing several races early in the season. Luck would have it that Frank found a guy willing to rent a Gt4 car cheap at the driver’s school in March. Cheap should have been my first warning sign but in my excitement and urge to get my race license as soon as possible I worked out a deal with the guy that I would rent his car for the weekend at a cost of $1,000.00. The car was so cheap because he had just bought it. Because of this he did not know much about the car and could not guarantee the performance. Our deal ended up being the car would finish the school and I would not put it into the wall or another car. Deal was done and I was on my way to getting my license.
What I did not know at this time was that I was going to be the first one to drive this car in many years. Apparently Ford Motor Co. had sponsored the car back when it was new. It had been pulled off the assembly line and built as a racecar from new. From there it had been raced a few times then sold. It changed hands several times not being raced much with each owner. So the car was a total unknown to the present owners. I was not very confident at this point but my will to get my license was overriding any reason that I had against renting the car.
For the most part the car ended up being pretty darn good. It handled like a dream. It had one of the best transmissions I had ever used and it was easy to drive. The only down side was that the engine was sick. I mean it was so dog @$$ slow, stock Ford Escorts where leaving me on the straights. It was a bit frustrating to be killing people in the twisty turny infield and getting completely blown away by every other car on the straightaway. I kept my cool and kept telling myself to worry about finishing the school. "NO ONE WINS DRIVERS SCHOOL" I will give the owners of the car credit. They worked their butts off to keep the car running and trying to squeeze some kind of performance out of the engine.
By the second day we had found out that the car actually was not getting full throttle from the current linkage rigging. This was a big part of the power problem. We also found the car was not jetted correctly. Both are details that can ruin your day. We did what we could with both and the car did get a little faster. By the third run of the day I could actually keep up with cars on the straight if I could keep the RPMs up above 4500 all the time. That meant I had to drive very aggressively and deep into all the turns and use very little breaking to slow down. After a few laps I was actually running some decent lap times and not loosing ground to the middle of the pack cars.
I was actually starting to have some real fun. Unfortunately it was not going to last. With about five laps to go in the third session I was mid way into a turn about to dive down under a slower car when I heard a BOOM!!. Then what sounded like marbles then lots and lots of smoke!! I was done for the day.
I won't bore you with the rest of the details but on the post mortem of the engine we found that one of the last owners had installed one of four venturis in the Webers backwards. So when the car reached around 4,000rpms it basically shut off #2 cylinder. The engine beat itself to death. Not paying attention to the details killed that car. Simple stuff could have made it very fast. Who knows how long the throttle and the venturi had been wrong. It may very well be the reason the car had hardly been used over the course of its life.
Fortunately for me the current owners of the car gave me another car for next school and I was able to get my license a month later. I won't give you any details because if I did you all would go out and buy Miatas!! Oh God those cars are fast!!!!
The next detail incident that has hurt Frank and me is his car. Frank has a 64 GP Spitfire that is about as cool as they come. It is what every Spitfire wants to be when it grows up into a racer. Unfortunately with Franks car we keep paying for the previous owners mistakes. (A couple of ours as well.)
Mothers day weekend we decided to run the Regional National at Gateway International in East St. Louis. Franks car already had one pretty successful weekend on it this year and we pretty much just changed the diff and were ready to go. So we thought.
The only thing I knew to be wrong with the car going in was that the previous owner did not believe in Shoulder bolts on the differential flanges and the drive shaft flanges. This is a warning to all in the club. If you don't use Shoulder bolts and new Nyloc nuts on your half shafts and driveshaft you will break your car!! You could also really hurt yourself if you break it at the wrong time. For your own safety next time you do some maintenance on you car check to see what is in it. We replaced the bolts that we could and made a risky decision to leave some of the bad bolts in that were not showing signs of wear yet in the car. Calculated risk?? This was the first detail that could have been bad.
Second detail that was a pain in the arse all weekend was an oil leak. There is a cap that goes over the main bearing that creates a surface for the oil pan to mate to. On the Spitfire there are two threaded holes that the pan attaches with that also open up into an area that has lots of oil splashing around. Thee two bolts are stripped on Frank’s car. Brand new engine! This really was not a huge thing. I can fix it later when we get the car home. What it did do was put undue worry into the drivers head about being black flagged for smoke if the oil started to hit the exhaust. Also made for one more thing we had to deal with in the pits and paddock when we were working on the car. We had a constant oil slick both days.
Third detail was the new Diff we had just put in. We forgot to put oil in it. Five laps into the first qualification run the rear end melted down and stopped working. This detail cost me several hours on my back under Frank’s car dealing with hot broken parts. The diff was so hot that for an hour and a half a bare hand could not touch it. Several hours later when I was taking it apart to see the damage it was still warm. Diff oil is now going to be on our regular prep check off sheet.
Fourth detail that was caught just in time was the Distributor rotor. Once we had everything else fixed the car still did not seem to have a lot of power. I started to just check everything to see if I could find an answer. I took the distributor cap off and found that it was beat to crap on two of the electrodes. I checked the rotor to see if it was tight and it was loose to the point it had at least 10degrees of rotation in each direction before it engages the shaft. It also was wobbly as heck. Frank found another cap and I cleaned up and refitted the rotor and the problem was patched. Car now had more power. Not what we needed but at least Frank was not going to be totally blown away on the Straights. He also had much more of a chance in the turns now.
Number Five on the detail list is the one that POed me the most. During the final race of the weekend the course was black flagged because of a major wreck. This results in all the remaining cars to be put onto a false grid. When they are there they are not to be touched by a mechanic. When it came time to start Frank's car would not start. Lucky for us the chief steward allowed me to choke the carbs in order start the car. In doing so I had to unlatch the hood. Guess what he hood latch bracket broke. I was not able to fix it because of the rules. Frank had to do one lap before pitting. I had a glimmer of hope that the hood would stay down but it did not. Frank came in after one lap with the hood flapping wildly in the wind and he could not see over it.
We quickly taped it down and sent him on his way. Unfortunately he was now to far behind to do anything but finish the race. The culprit was shotty workmanship by the previous owner not making a strong enough bracket for the hood fastener. That detailed killed us the worst. We had the car running good and a couple of pop rivets cost us a good race.
We learned a lot and finished the day basically in one piece but the details kept us from being competitive.
Next race we will have it all fixed and will be ready to do some real racing.
Hopefully my car will be in the mix. It is almost done just waiting for me to finish up on some details!!
Classified Ads: Contact Creig Houghtaling at the address listed below, or email@example.com or 636-305-1143 to place a free ad in this newsletter.
FOR SALE - 1972 TRIUMPH GT6 MK3 Photos are posted: http://www.sltoa.org/Members/Gilliam/Gilliam.htm
Original paint, very good condition. Asking $5,000. In need of seasonal oil-change/tune-up, but that's it.
Begging to be driven. Brenda Gilliam / 636-536-1272 / firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Louis Triumph Owners Association
36 Copper Mountain Court
Fenton, MO 63026-5682