Norman, (the quiz) TR3a.
Norman the 1959 TR3A, was named after the evening quiz show on ABC radio, he has certainly raised many questions over the 38 years since his previous road use.
September 1976, last registration.
Bought in Balmain in the mid to late 1960s, no previous history is known, a hint was a 1962 Ballarat newspaper used as packing behind body filler found much later. Norman was used as the fun machine for several years, even competing at Oran Park in club events at one time. Around 1972, I bought a half interest which funded a rear axle rebuild and some rust repairs. Mechanically, Norman was still in good condition, I achieved 95mph with two passengers onboard south of Sydney at one time. Weekly use in the lunchtime races at Tech College was a highlight.
1976 saw the overdrive and much of the wiring loom die a glorious death, and a restoration was decided upon with a local firm. After 18 months they went bankrupt, luckily we retrieved Norman before they closed, and after the gearbox was overhauled. Other cars in the workshop however were held as part of the wind up process. At home (1978-80) disassembly of the major components commenced, with items tagged (more on this later) and boxed.
Fast forward to 1987, marriage, and house had been sorted out, my father in Sydney mentioned to my wife Jennifer during a conversation, that he wondered when Jack would be taking his old car to Canberra? I informed my wife that, yes there was half a car I owned, and now was the time to bring it to Canberra with us! Jennifer decided to buy me the other half of the car so all was well,
Children were the next development, then in 1992 I had a six month gap in contract work and started the restoration. This stalled after my return to work, and, apart from a program of parts buying and stockpiling, (e.g. four sets of rear brake rebuild kits bought years apart!) little progress happened.
2001, saw the new millennium, and the TR Register National Concours held here in Canberra. Norman was entered in restoration class as a rolling chassis. The public nudity was too much however and he didn’t roll out. The buying of parts continued sporadically and then in 2007 panel repair work started.
Norman turned 50 in 2009, and work continued into 2010, although compared to previous years progress was terrific, until in June GHL bodyworks in Yass were chosen to complete the bodywork and paint. GHL did the work on a fill in job basis, which continued until December 2012 when the business closed down and was auctioned off. Once again Norman was the last car out before the business wound up. Luckily with the bodywork and paint complete.
In the meantime, in my Vehicle Restoration Facility, (the garage) work progressed on the mechanicals, electricals and interior, through 2012 and 2013, although I had forgotten about the hardtop. All the stored parts now saw the light and now I found out how 30 years of storage and the activity of mice (and not men) had made most labels useless, many more question and answer sessions were needed, my thanks to those TR Register members I questioned.
A few minor upgrades have been incorporated during the rebuild to improve safety and reliability using more modern equipment, but overall the original look and feel have been retained.
October 2014 was the TR Register National Concours once again with Canberra as the venue. Again Norman was entered, but no front brake calipers meant he went in the restoration class. As the only participant in the class he won handily, 14 years on from his first entry, better late than never.
November 2014 was my son’s Wedding, and Norman was booked to appear, which he did, unregistered and with no front brakes, lucky it was on a property and he could drive on the dirt tracks and paddocks! The brake calipers needed a lot of work, and I should have updated to modern calipers and saved a lot of time, but live and learn, sometimes.
2015, I remembered the hardtop and had it painted, and this time the business didn’t close down. The brake calipers were modified and refitted, so after 38 years of restoration Norman was re-registered and back in use. Of course he is not finished, but most of the questions have now been answered, although I expect new ones will keep occurring.
Family, friends and the fellow Triumph addicts who all helped in some way, deserve, and receive our thanks. Cheers.