Monthly Archives: May 2007
Let me introduce myself. My name is Simon Kotsailidis and my wife Marie and I moved to the valley from New York in 2001. We live in Southeast Chandler. She is a CPA and I work for Woodside homes as a back-end Superintendent. We both dabble in the real estate market for kicks. When we need money, we buy a house and resell it!!! We’ve met some great people here and call it our home. I’ve always had my heart on the TR6 since I could remember….And I’m only 37 years old! My wife knew that if given a choice, I would rather have a beat up TR6 over a new Corvette. With that in mind, she gave me the green light to go and find a TR to restore. It is still a dream to me today that I own this car.
Yes, It is true…My 1970 TR6 has been in the process of a rest-Mod since last May of ’06. The details of this resurrection are as follows. I bought the car from a young man in California through a non paying Ebay bidder. The car needed drastic mechanical work as well as body work. There was not an inch of straight metal on it! There was a blown differential and the car could not be driven more than 3 MPH. The car sat on the side of my house until I could evaluate which way and extent I should go with the restoration. Well, Luck would have it as we cashed out of an investment property when my wife Marie, decided to get this poor car back on the fast track to its former glory.
Soon thereafter, I was on the phone talking to Tony Vigliotti of Ratco (Ratco.com) ordering the best of upgrades on my new frame. It took about three months to get but worth every moment and penny. The frame arrived late in January of ’07. I sent the motor out to Gruelichs engines (Gruelichsengines.com) for a rebuild along with polished and ported heads, Roller rockers and balancing. Greg Gruelich did a wonderful job. The bumpers were restored and rechromed by Papago Plating in Phoenix. Next up was the reliability and strength of a Toyota 5spd from Herman Van Den Akker. (HVDA.com) Herman was awesome to work with as he had great patience with me deciding which clutch and hydraulic bearing would work with my setup. New Laycock pressure plates were sourced out of England, so I bought two of them!
I am one who believes these cars are to be driven and enjoyed and to be shown to the world on our everyday streets. My restoration was to make this car bulletproof yet look absolutely original from the outside. Richard Good (Goodparts.com) was a great help in communicating his upcoming new products. Aside from purchasing his Diff conversion, I waited two months for the release of his Nissan Axles which I received in great excitement! Richard has been amazing at calling me with status reports.
The bodywork started off great until I received the tub from the shop (name withheld for now) after three months to find it had been painted in a wind storm! I was soooooo disappointed that it affected my life for days until I mustered up the courage to complain. They took the tub back and after another $1500 and two months, I received it only 40% better. I ordered new sheetmetal and assembled the car. After searching high and low for a restoration shop willing to take on my project, I had finally found Liquid creations (Liquidcreations.net) and met Spencer the owner. He is a dedicated car buff and places attention to details. His beliefs are to make it look gorgeous since his reputation stands behind the work. It is finally going to be painted in the next week or so after intense re-bodywork to clarify the wrongdoings of the last shop.
In conclusion, This car will be repainted a slight darker shade of french blue, have a supercharger, alloy radiator, alloy sump and rocker cover, Toyota trans, Nissan diff and axles, Ratco powdercoated frame with coil over shocks. A new driveshaft made by Mesa Driveshaft will replace the old unit, NOS Tail lights and sidelights, Leather seats, NOS BL 8 track radio, New wiring powerblock harness (Britishmcce.com) , electric cooling fan, Stainless headers and exhaust, Mallory Unilite Distributor with tach drive and Hyfire IV ignition, and more goodies!
Most important of all, is my loving wife. She has been the rock through all this. It is through her support that is making this possible…..Our spare bedrooms are now parts bins! I hope to have the car ready by September and look forward to meeting everyone!
“Our” 1971 TR6 became part of the family with the help and encouragement of “Digger” Davitt. I’d known Digger for quite a few years prior and although partial to TR3’s he fostered all things Triumph. In fact, we became acquainted due to his love of Triumph cars and my British motorcycle affliction.
The purchase of the car is a unique story that you need to ask me about.
Since obtaining the car I’ve tried to “improve” it by installing Herman’s trans kit, a supercharger, roller rockers, alum flywheel, Toyota calipers, …………………….
It’s a work in progress.
When I bought this car in 1983, I had never kept up a car. I’d changed oil and filters – but my understanding of the internal combustion engine was “limited”.
The day I sat down in the drivers seat of this 1966 Triumph TR4A IRS with the original overdrive transmission I was hooked. I turned my head to the then owner and proclaimed – “how much do you want for it?” – “Love at first seat” – I drove it home.
Over the last 24 years, I have become intimately familiar with most of the inner and outer workings of this car. I’ve changed water pumps, starters and transmissions. I’ve taught myself to rebuild and tune Zenith Stromberg Carburetors. I’ve converted the car to alternator power, added an electric fan – you name it – I’ve probably “busted knuckles” over it.
Obviously, this was self preservationist thinking as mechanics in Louisiana – where the car and I are from – laughed and kidded at the off mention of repair work for pay. I kept it running and enjoyed every minute behind the wheel.
Until I got to Arizona.
In Spring of 2000, I moved to Arizona on a search for opportunity. I found it and was certain of it by September of that same year. My wife, Martha, and daughter, Alexis, moved here. We found and purchased a house – and contracted a mover to bring our belongings, including the TR, to Arizona.
By the time the car arrived, it had been sitting for almost a year. It was relegated into our third garage stall for a year. I worked on it, got it running, took Martha for a test ride, and lost first gear at the corner of Bush Highway and Usery Road. When we got home, limping without 1st or Reverse, I put it back in the garage and walked away.
By the Spring of 2004, I ran an add to sell it.
A fellow by the name of Jim Bauder came by to look and made an offer. As I listened to his offer, I was overcome by my affection for the TR – refused the offer – and got about getting her back on the road.
By Fall of 2005, I’d had the car in better shape than ever while under my ownership. Upgraded front suspension with shocks and polyurithane bushings, new bearings and u joints everywhere, new brake pistons and friction surfaces, rebuilt everything rebuildable in the running gear, spin on oil filter, new wheels and tires, new clutch, Petronics in the Distributor, 12v Cooling Fan, alternator upgrade and got all the lights and electrics – including the horn – working.
Everything was cool until January of 2006 when the motor lost oil seal rings in the two rear cylinders.
In March 2006 the engine was removed for rebuild. About a month later, I started taking her apart. So far, The chassis has been sandblasted, painted and rebiult. The body has been sandblasted and primed. I (with the help of a few “Close” frends) have replaced both floors, inside and outside rockers, rear valances and rear. Right now I’m (we’re) fabricating pieces to replace pieces that are rusted through.
In spring of “81, I purchased my first Triumph. It was a baby blue 72 Spitfire 1500. I bought it off a family in north Houston. I had just changed jobs and didn’t have a company car anymore so I needed backup wheels, as my main car was a 74 Europa. I figured that two british cars might be as reliable as one real car. Plus, an open car appealed to me after briefly owning a Healy in the “70’s. When I relocated 6 months later, I let the Spit go.
In the summer of “82, I came to the Valley to attend the “Willy” school for wayward young men. The Europa wasn’t the most optimum as there was no A/C, tiny windows and an anemic fan. I called it my rolling sauna. However, a fellow student from Maine with a “74 TR6 wanted to trade keys periodically. The bug was back; well maybe the idea of natural air conditioning was uppermost. I located my TR6 in Mesa and bought it off a real estate agent. I drove that poor car hard. Still do. It took me faithfully to New Mexico, back to PHX and on to California. Up the coast to Spokane, back to CA, through PHX and on to Grand Forks ND. The Europa was laid up for a long time following a small incident coming down the mountain from Ruidoso. In “90, my wife and I decided to come back to the Valley, actually, it was one of my few job offers. As we had 4 vehicles, I let the Europa go as it was worth the most and we needed the money. The TR was trailered down.
In the 130k plus hard motoring miles, the TR hasn’t been restored nor has required anything really more major than clutches. What a piss poor design. I had it repainted about 6 years ago following an incident in the garage. Oh well. I have pretty much done my own work for the past 25 years of ownership and find the car easy and straightforward.