1962 Triumph TR4 Restoration

Brian Sanborn, Groton, MA

Doing the Research

After a lot of research on the Internet and in British car restoration books I decided that the fantasy could in fact become a reality. One book in particular, "How to Restore British Sports Cars", by Jay Lamm, is a good primer for understanding the restoration process. Of the 100 or so great websites for Triumphs and TR4 a few were the most helpful. The main one is the website of the Vintage Triumph Registry at www.vtr.org. The VTR is a North American organization that acts as the central driving force for an entire network of regional and local Triumph clubs all over the US and Canada. Their website has pointers to many other great information sources worldwide. I also started looking for Triumph workshop manuals and publications on the Internet auction websites like www.ebay.com.

On Ebay I found an army of people buying and selling memorabilia and parts for TR2-TR6 and every other type of Triumph. One book, which is very helpful, is by Bill Piggott. It is titled "The TR4/4A/5/6 and 250, A Restorer's Guide". It can be purchased through www.amazon.com , Classic Motorbooks at 1 800-123-1234 or Moss Motors at 1-800-667-7872. Bill Piggott provides an excellent presentation of the TR4 and its siblings with beautiful color pictures of expertly restored cars. He includes a complete description of the cars with careful attention to the history of changes that occurred during production. It is a mandatory book to evaluate a potential car or start a TR4 restoration.

The other and probably most important source is the "Triumph Mailing List" which is an online Internet club of Triumph enthusiasts all over the world. They are tied together by a majordomo mail server at www.autox.team.net. The list works by first signing up (the instructions are pointed to on the VTR site http://www.vtr.org/mailing-list.html) and then sending e-mail messages to triumphs@autox.team.net. Your message will be received by the mail server and then broadcast to the 1700+ members worldwide. At first you should lurk for a little while to check it out and learn the protocol and etiquette. You will learn more, by far, from this source than any other. The only problem is that it means getting 40-50 e-mail messages a day. In the beginning, this will seem daunting but you will soon learn to perform mail triage on the daily deluge and quickly delete the stuff that you are not interested in and focus on the important stuff. The best thing to do is sort your messages by subject, then you can delete entire message threads that you don't want to read. However, what is even more valuable is that you can start asking questions of the group as you find things that you need an answer for. Another option is to sign up for the "digest" version. With this version you get just one e-mail message a day with all the traffic for that day in one big e-mail. This is hard to read because it cannot be sorted into subject threads, but some find it a way to checkout the "List" before diving in.

It took me about 3 or 4 months of thinking and researching to decide, in fact, this Triumph TR4 restoration was very do-able thing