Neville Turbit's Life with TRs.
"I was 19. Wanted something sporty and had no money. A bad combination. Looked at a few cars including a Jag XK120 ex race car, but it had no starter motor and had to be parked on hills. Finally decided to buy a TR3a - real cheap. Most of the body mount points had rusted away so the body tended to wander on the chassis. Once it bumped up against the engine, or a wheel it stopped moving. No problem to a 19 year old.
After a few years I stripped it down to the last nut and bolt and rebuilt it. Remember this was the 60's. Some features were an orange chassis and a chrome plated diff cover. There was in fact more chrome on the car than most yank tanks of the era. I drove it on the road and on tracks for a few years until one fateful night.
I never knew where Byrock was until that night. It is literally the back of Bourke. This young guy got his license that week, flew to Sydney and borrowed his brother's car. He made it about two kilometres before he came across his first traffic lights. Seemed a good idea to turn right and see what happened. I "happened" coming the other way. T Boned him. The TR was a write-off and ended it's days at Sportscar Spares. I still do have the commission plates and managed to salvage the aero screens.
A few years passed in which I picked up a Spitfire but it was not the same even with a hot motor and ridiculously wide wheels. I tried that on the track and the time made up going around corners did not compensate for the time lost down the straight.
One day in 1977 I was driving through Woolloomooloo when I saw a TR by the side of the road. SA plates and unregistered. It had a for sale sign for $2,000. I screeched to a halt and started a quick inspection. I shocked a car full of business colleagues as we were on our way to a meeting. Here I was in suit and white shirt climbing under a car. Within 24 hours it was mine. It all happened on Good Friday 1977. An omen.
Took a few weeks to get it roadworthy but duly it was presented to the RTA and registration obtained. In retrospect, there are a few odd things. Firstly it was unregistered from another state. Second commission plates were missing. Thirdly, the engine number was not an original engine. Fourthly, it had recently been resprayed and fifthly, I never thought to ask the guy who I bought it from to prove he was the name on the registration papers from SA. Being no REVS at the time it could have been stolen.
It has been a work in progress. A few engine rebuilds; swap to a TR2500 gearbox; install rack and pinion. Most bits have had some attention. The big effort came in 2014 when the body was restored. It was not an off chassis job but all panels were removed, sand blasted and repaired. Thanks Brian Galea. Car was painted a Mercedes colour - Yellowstone.
The TR is my everyday drive. I keep telling people I can't afford a new car. It has rarely let me down, and there is always something to tinker with. I have never been focused on authenticity. If something makes my drive easier I do it. Latest was to add a GPS speedo attached to the top of the steering column. "But Officer, I thought the sign was mph!" doesn't work any more.
I am only the custodian so one day it will pass to someone else. Where I have modified things I kept the originals so if they are so inclined,it can be returned to original. Hopefully there are still many miles to come before that day."