Join us as we explore our garage in detail and showcase where these cars are headed in the next several years!
Just like my garage is my home for autos, it feels good to be sharing on Gearbox Magazine again; a home for my automotive words.
Gearbox Magazine was the first place to give my words a professional place to live, and Brian Driggs the first person to really believe in me as an automotive writer. Returning to GBXM is like driving a car into the garage for the first time—it just feels right.
So, too, do the current array of vehicles in my garage. These two-seaters all seem like part of the family, now, making the place I have with my husband feel like a home.
We love cars. My first cars may have been dismal (a broke-down Nissan Sunny whose windows didn’t work while I lived in Japan and a Dodge Shadow that burned more oil than a British sports car), but I’m making up for that now.
My personal vehicle is the 1996 Mazda Miata MX-5 M-Edition in Starlight Mica Blue. It has a tan leather interior and Nardi wood on the shifter and parking brake handle. The stereo system is a tape deck that is rarely used and the speakers need to be changed out as the driver side is going dead. The trunk is signed by Tom Matano.
This is the only vehicle that is my own, as the rest are owned by my husband.
It takes a special place in my heart, too, because of the memories made within it. You may remember my initial GBXM article about Pacific Forest Rally back in October 2013. My Miata took us there. Up where the cows were big, the trucks were bigger and no one knew what my vehicle was. (It’s only the most popular selling two-seater in history!)
Rob’s first vehicle in the garage is a 1993 Toyota MR2 Targa topped and turbocharged. It’s stock. Never touched, even has the original paint. Barely over 100,000 miles, but we use it as it should be.
When Rob and I had met, he bought a Toyota Supra V6 and then, when that proved to be a bit much on small Japanese roads, he purchased a ’94 MR2. During the course of our dating, we took those two cars all over Northern Japan. Now, we drive this MR2 all over Washington State.
A few years back, I went to a SOVREN classic car event at the Pacific Raceways in Kent. While there, I fell in love with one peppy little British sports car: The Triumph GT6.
And not just any GT6, the 1968 GT6 is the one for me for numerous reasons. The front and rear bumpers are lower (in ‘69 they were raised for really reasonable safety reasons). It’s the smallest out of the 4 years of GT6. Triumph designed the GT6 to look like a little Jaguar E-Type—and it does! The rear end of the 68 is the only model year with the rounded tail, ’69 and later goes to the square ‘boat’ tail … and I’m not fond of that. It has a wonderfully loud inline-6 that seems like it’d be right at place in a tractor.
So, once we’d been bitten by the British Car Bug there hasn’t been an end. We keep our eyes out for other good deals on easy to repair vehicles (easy when compared to modern, electronic wonders). During his perusals of Craigslist, Rob found a not-working 1959 Triumph TR3.
The engine had lots of water in the oil. More than we expected when we had emptied it. However, the engine has replaceable sleeves to protect the engine’s metal. It also means we can get thinner sleeves, better pistons, and have a larger displacement engine for cheap. (It will be done as it has been ordered).
It’s low and swoopy and beautiful. Sit in either seat and you can lean a minor amount and touch the ground. It looks like something Cruella DeVille would drive if she had a lighter, more care-free heart. There’s plenty to tell about this vehicle, but we’ll save that for the next article.
Back to the Triumph GT6
We got this vehicle knowing it will be a LOT of work. Like hundreds of man hours to complete. And we’re prepared for that, so long as it isn’t done quickly.
It’s a running, driving car—or was when we got it. There’s been some… developments along the way, but nothing we can’t handle.
What we’ve done so far
We’ve driven it more than the previous owner had in years. Probably a good 100 miles were put on it before winter drove us back indoors. Having had some serious delights, albeit close to home. We also found a transmission problem…
We’ve ordered a massive list of parts (that we’ll spare you the complete listing thereof). We’ve also purchased many tools for the work that needs to be completed; welders, gear pullers, torque wrenches of varying sizes and more.
What we’re doing next
Probably pulling a transmission out of a GT6 so that we can work on it where it’s not 20 degrees. We will probably need to rebuild that as it leaks oil, makes lots of noise in first through third, and the synchros are bad. The rear differential also needs rebuilding, but he doesn’t hear anything bad over the cars many, many other rattles.
“The transmission lever linkage needs to rebuilt because it feels like trying to stir two nuts in the bottom of a Crisco can with a large screwdriver,” Rob said.
Any Road Blocks?
It’s cold. Washington State has been hit with a cold blast that even blanketed sea level Seattle in snow. To do the work we need to means working in 35 degree weather for several hours and neither of us are keen to get on that too quickly. Instead, we’re working on cleaning areas within the actual garage for working on the transmission. That means moving plenty of things around our house, too, to make room for other things.
Prior to the weather hitting us, Rob was out there working away on things in the covered parking area. Mostly getting a clutch replaced on the MR2, but also working here and there on the GT6 (or at least looking at it whilst planning).
Once the weather warms up (let it be sooner rather than later), we’ll be back out there getting things all buttoned up.