The lobby
Exiting the grip of covid, I am faced with what will go down in history as one of the biggest blunders in Texas history. That’s bold, given Texas history. Time will tell, but regardless of how big the black eye, still a black eye. As my personal energy is returning, we start prepping for this artic blanket, and one of my focuses is finishing my starter relay issue on the 6 cause I don’t think I have a good mix of water and anti freeze in the car. All other cars are good with their mix, but not the 6. In the garage, and in stages, I get my new relay wired up, juice the carbs with a little gumout, full choke, and bump that starter, and my aftermarket bosch relay does its job, motor fires, and I get to a decent idle as I start topping off the radiator with full strength coolant. I replace my overflow with full strength too. I run the car a few times over the course of 2 days, and at this point, feel like I have dodged a bullet. With that concern out of the way, I start hunting for firewood, only to realize everyone is too, and Dallas, even now, is out of firewood. Literally. The good news is, while there has been tragedy, it could have been worse. And for us, it was a few days of camping inside our house.

Whats new
Car starts with my key now. That’s good. I found my generator and starter place – thought they had gone out of business when their building was torn down for a bigger fire station. Gonna get them to help me with my 8g alternator wiring project, and maybe a few others. Snow and ice on the ground and roads still, so I won’t be backing the school car out of the garage until this week. But when I do, I will drive for a bit, and wake her up a bit. The artic blanket, while bad, will be a memory in a few days. I’ll be in shorts by Tuesday.

Tech tip. Trailing arm mount upgrade
Staying cool
Throwback – the 73 grip

Tech. Upgrade your trailing arm mounts
It would be nice if I had sponsors throwing money at me to promote stuff. They don’t. In this case, you’d think Richard Good asked me to mention this. He didn’t. I’m on a trek to the 6pack trials in 14, and my left rear trailing arm bracket fails. Splits down the axis of the bolts. I’m just outside of Dallas, and at a truckstop when I notice it fueling the car. More camber than it should have – quick look under the car, and sure enough, bracket in 2 pieces, barely hanging on to the trailing arm. Welder shop nearby, I limp over, he fixes, I replace, and I am on my way. But RG trailing arms go on my car as soon as I get back from the Trials.

This isn’t my first rodeo with this issue. Just out of production, call it 1979, with my first 6 – the 72 car, I have this happen to me. I don’t know to look under the car, but I know the car is sitting funny. I take it to the foreign car shop that we use, and the mechanic looks and shows me what happened. 1 bracket. A few months later, another bracket failed. I assume we replaced all 4. And I am not smart enough to know then that production design of these brackets changed over the years to address the squat.

So my push today is – if I had issues in production, and I have had issues recently, anyone still on factory steel bent, fatigued trailing arm mounts….are on borrowed time. And the RG adjustable brackets give you so much improvement on camber and squat – even as the car continues to settle so to speak. And the design is light years over the original bent, fatigued steel. Thumbs up for me, and I hope you consider this change to your car.

The HVAC project
Its ironic that I am focused on TR6 AC while my house and town is just now thawing out from a winter wonderland. But I have dusted off some due diligence I started a few years ago. I don’t know what year it was, but lets say 2014. It was after 2013, and I know this because that when the vision came to me. I drug a tired 1988 ford escort from NC to Texas. In reviving this car, I went thru more than I should have in getting that factory AC system back online. I replaced everything on that car. I found a wholesale shop in Rockwall, with a counter guy that taught me the system. Mechanic Chris just needed the parts, and I had to have some hoses fabricated. I had all this at my disposal. And when I get done with that, I look at the school car and think – I can do all that with this car.

I find everything for the car – in bits. Honda Civic condenser, Jeep sanden compressor with V pulley, hoses, dryer…..everything. Except the cabin unit. There are many names for this rig – but essentially, it’s the HVAC box that has a heater core and AC evaporator coil. Newer cars are designed around them – and they spread out all over the footwells today. But with our car, this thing needs to be the size of a shoe box – maybe timberline boot box, but that’s it. And this unit was the where the project came to a screeching halt. Behind our wood dash is a tight area of wiring, heater hoses, glove box, and this awkward, odd heater box tied to the firewall for fresh air.

I hate the original setup. Those extra vents, the butchering of the engine bay sheet metal, and all the dealer rigging that came with this feature. Further, all the approaches to AC I have seen today aren’t much better. One had the glove box space used. For me, this is a small cockpit, and we don’t need a Chevy tahoe rig to cool or heat this space. Miniaturized is what we need. And it needs to use existing vents, and the controls should be in the same spot as the current dash knobs, even with those knobs rigged to the new controls.

So, I am closer to getting this project done. Vintage Air, in San Antonio, continues to improve their systems, including this cabin HVAC unit. I need a new heater anyway, so I think I am going to upgrade to this unit for heat, plumbed for AC down the road, and work progressively in that order. We need better venting, certainly at that defrost area. My vents are half shut off. All that needs reengineering. More to come. Cold or warm dry air, in our cockpit, allowing us to drive in the cold and rain and see out the windshield, and to be more comfortable in the middle of summer or winter.

Throwback. The spoiler.
Digging up old blog stuff, and decided to reshare adding an air dam to a 72 car. For those following along, I had this stunt car….almost movie stunt car like the herbie love bug cars. There were dozen’s of those cars – found that out on a great documentary, and this guy has the studio car number 26 or something, and it was the one that went over the cliff and he drives it the way it landed. All bent up. Anyway, this 72 car was modified, and stripped of stuff like the grill badge, exhaust snakes, and even the rear tr6 letters. As a rookie, kid, and fast enthusiast, I had this dilemma of trying to get the car back to stock looking, and also to a level that I wanted to be. It’s the late 70s, so the later models had a big influence. I don’t know much about this mark yet, but I do know Triumph made a major change to styling in 73. And one of the things that I noticed, and stuck out heavily for me, was the front air dam.

I called this a spoiler for years. Until I was corrected on 6pack years later. Fine, Air Dam. But what little resources I had, I found this part, I assume at the parts counter of the triumph dealer. Can you imagine that today? I assume a microfish plate, scrolling around, until the counter guy says – is this it? Yep. I won’t get the price exact, but I promise it wasn’t more than 20 dollars. In fact, I think it was like 18.50. I paid for shipping – I have no idea what that was. I’m 16, I don’t care. Lets call it another 20 dollars, but that is tall, but to think less than 40 dollars shipped for a brand new Air Dam for a 72 car – that seemed like a good deal. A few weeks later, I get a call from the bus station. Your package is arrived. Greyhound station. And there it was – in a long white triumph rectangle tube, packing slip, and all. And off I went back to the house.

This air dam came with no hardware. Just the air dam. Holes, predrilled where the bolts go. But here is this new body work, pressed up against a virgin valance, and realizing …..I get one chance at mounting this. That moment of oh shoot. I haven’t even brought out the drill and extension cord yet, much less sourced the bolts, washers and nuts. To this day, what helped was having extra hands. They came from Billy Holmes. School friend, and I have no idea why Billy was there for this project. But it was total shade tree. 2 teenagers, on a Saturday afternoon, under a few pine trees, in the grass and straw, on our sides and backs, lining up this air dam. Marking holes, measuring. Realizing after you start the project, the dam lines up pretty good. Drilled, mounted, dusted ourselves off, and put away the tools and trash. And there it was. A new front end.

We rarely talk about the impact of this air dam. 4,5,250 and early 6 – there was no air dam. But someone in design thought it was a good idea. It certainly caught my eye. And I had a great perspective. I was able to drive a 72 car without an air dam, and then drive the same car with one. I remember thinking, damn. What a difference. At around 60, I could literally feel the front squish down – like the dam was pulling the front down about an inch. The car got tighter on the road at speed – steering wheel tied to a tired original front end. Before 60, some play in the wheel. After 60, tight and firm. The dam covered the bottom valance and sway bar. And to me, even it wasn’t correct for a 72, I loved this mod. Even today, I look for that feature on all tr6s. Its not special. It doesn’t match the paint. But it seems to complete the front of the car – for me, anyway.

That’s enough for today
Your Triumph TR6 is a great diplomat. You help people around you with this car without even knowing it. You bring happiness, and thumbs up, leaving a memory with a guy in a truck on his way to work. You are a steward, responsible for it, and to it. Please start the car with it out of gear and foot off the clutch. This helps save your thrust washers, which have poor oiling at startup. Smile when you drive, and whenever possible, take a kid driving.

L.O Guvna