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Some Earlier Additions

Shortly after returning to California I decided to get back into vintage British sports car restoration. I was gun shy about the costs and difficulty of rebuilding an XKE. I had always had a soft spot for the venerable Triumph TR3 after I became familiar

Our 1959 TR3 after restoration

Our 1959 TR3 after restoration

with one in a high school autoshop class. I had worked on Triumphs in Canada so had experience.  I thought the TR3 had the right combination of performance – it was a winner at Le Mans in the sub 2 litre class after all – vintage rakish looks and ease of restoration. The fact that Moss Motors, right up the coast, had almost all the parts for the TR3 in stock and at reasonable prices was an added inducement. One day a 1959 TR3 came up for sale online for a price I could afford. I had been checking early every morning on various online sites. Promptly at 8:00 am (I am an early riser) I called the owner and said if the car was as described I would buy it. I then took off for a 100 mile drive into the desert with my wife and came back with a very tired looking, but solid and relatively strong running TR3. Although, in retrospect given its appearance I am surprised I decided to drive it back some 100 miles. At the time of purchase the Triumph had several different colors of dark green paint on various sections of the body, including a brush painted front fender. The interior was some sort of a 1970’s vinyl retrofit. Mechanically, various bits and pieces needed replacement or rebuilding. With my son assisting me from time to time and my wife and daughter consulting on color and finish we managed to get the TR3 rebuilt and rolling for local trips. One thing about the TR3 is that it always attracts friendly attention where ever it is driven. People just love the raked doors and classic car looks of it. It also seems that every guy of a certain age owned one or knew somebody that owned one back in the day. Still, fun, and one Ihave kept up to now , but  it is no Jag…

Another car I had always hankered after was the Porsche 914. Something about that vintage 1970’s mid-engine look, the targa top and the go-cart handling just appealed to me. Also, I knew they were easy to work on and many parts were shared with various Porsche and VW models. So, a couple of years ago the hunt was on for one of these – something different from the British cars I usually worked on. I looked at dozens of cars online and contacted sellers all over California. My patient wife and I drove as far north as the Central Valley town of Bakersfield and as far south as the desert town of Hesparia to inspect various 914’s. We saw lots and lots of cars with a lot of problems – and became experts in the pluses and minuses of the 914 in the process. Still we could not find the ‘right’ 914. Then one day after returning from one such trip a beautiful orange 914 came up online. We were almost too exhausted to think about heading out again in the afternoon – but finally managed the energy. We returned that evening with the newest acquisition for the stable. It is a lovely orange 1973 914. Way back it had been the property of the owner of a Porsche shop in the San Fernando Valley. He sold it to a customer who has a beautiful red Porsche 356 and his daughter used the 914. They both liked the little 914 and wanted to see it go to a good home – ie someone who was not going to cut it up to drop a V8 in it for instance. I had the fuel lines replaced and rebuilt the fuel injection system. In addition, I have redone the interior. It is probably the most fun car to drive around the local roads in the Santa Monica Mountains and Malibu that I can imagine. It sticks like glue! The little 914 is a riot – again, Ihave kept the Porsche and enjoyed it, but still not an XKE. Then Last summer we decided to drive the Porsche up to Monterey in August for the classic car week there – and that was the start of the hunt for a Jag…

The Porsche 914 at at Concorso Italiano in Monterey

The Porsche 914 at at Concorso Italiano in Monterey

2 comments on “Some Earlier Additions

  1. Bart says:

    thank you for that. Extremely pleased to find another Series 2 enthusiast! am looking forward to your next entry.



    1. gmmacdonald says:

      Thanks! Glad to know I am not alone in my appreciation of the Series II. Things are progressing – but too much travel keeping me slow from updating.


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