Desert Centre – Triumph Registar of America


Our 1969 TR6

I never dreamed that falling in love with my husband, Mike, would mean falling in love with vintage cars.

We were freshmen in college when I met “Bubbles,” the resident TR, in my now in-law’s garage. Bubbles was a light blue 1959 TR3A that immediately caught my eye. As I wandered through the garage that spring day, I also spied an Austin Healey 100-4, an Allard L-type, and an Allard K2. I quickly learned that cars had always been a part of Mike’s life. In fact, there were cars that had been family members longer than Mike!

While we were dating, Mike and I attended Vintage Rallies on crisp New England fall days in the Healey, watched numerous VSCCA races at Limerock, and attended hill climbs. I slowly became adept at identifying old cars. Fast forward through a college graduation, a wedding ceremony, and a first home. In 2002, Mike and I were able to purchase our first vintage car, an Allard K3. It was a special car that was owned by a family friend and in which Mike rode on several occasions as a child. We were smitten with the car, its racing history, quirky handling, and copious amounts of torque. There was only one problem; I couldn’t reach the pedals.

One year later, I’d had enough serving only as “passenger extraordinaire,” and told Mike that he couldn’t be the only one having all the fun! That began our search for the perfectly sized British roadster. After a few months of Hemmings catalogs and testing out seats in a variety MGs and Triumphs, I found a car I thought might be the one – a 1969 TR6. I had finally found a car that I could comfortably see over the hood, reach the pedals, and handle the steering. There was one catch however – the eccentric, but fanatical owner. We spent several weeks driving the 60+ miles to visit the car, to make sure it was right for us, and to prove that we would, indeed, provide a good home for her.

Little did we know the tricks our newly purchased TR6 would play on us. When we got home, we learned that she was pouring oil out of a valve cover, which was held on with bailing wire and unending optimism. The second trip out of the driveway (20-feet from our garage) the ignition switch decided to catch fire. These two events began Mike’s campaign to make the car safe and reliable enough for me to drive back and forth to my work. Our car’s tricks created her nickname, “Trixie,” spelled Tr6ie, for all of the tricks she has played on us over the past few years.

Tr6ie has had new tires and wheels, a high-compression cylinder head with petrol ignition spec cam, an alloy valve cover, pertronix ignition, rebuilt carbs, new brakes all around including master cylinder, new suspension bushings, new shocks and a rear tubular shock conversion kit, and all of the Lucas smoke has been forced back into her electronics. She now starts every time, is a blast to drive, and ironically, has never let me down. And thanks to Mike, that’s my Tr6ie!!

Dr Mark K Loeschen

In 1979, I purchased my first Triumph, a used dark brown Spitfire from the British Leyland dealer in Kansas City. I traded in my 1971 Mustang and never looked back. At the time I kept searching for a TR-6 but couldn’t find any that were in good enough shape and affordable while in graduate school. The brand new yellow ’76 TR-6 in the dealership was tempting but way over my pocketbook at $7000. I kept the brown Spitfire for four years until I went back to school and then had to sell it for tuition.
After I moved to Phoenix in 1987, I kept looking for a TR-6 but just never found one I liked. I purchased another Spitfire in 1993, a used 1980 in white with only 12,000 miles. It had been in storage for 10 years but almost immediately I got an offer to sell it for twice what I had paid and was once again without a Triumph.
In 1996, I finally found a white TR-6 which seemed to be in good enough shape at a reasonable price. The previous owner in the process of restoring it but as it turned out it still needed a lot of work. I have since replaced the engine twice and have progressed from dual Weber to triple Keihin carburators. With the exceptions of the rear end and body paint everything else has been repaired or replaced.
Last summer while surfing E-Bay I located a 1978 Spitfire in BRG with less than 17,000 original miles. Ironically, like its relative I had purchased in 1993, this Spit also had been in storage for a long period of time. So after a week of bidding I was the owner of two Triumphs.
This past spring after walking into AZ SuperBikes on a whim I realized I had finally come across a Triumph which would be relatively maintenance free, would not leak on my garage floor, would be the fastest Triumph I would ever own and above all would be the most fuel efficient, a red 955i Daytona. So now I have a Triumvirate of Triumphs each one very special in its own right. 026-dctra.jpg

Bob Hohanshelts '54 TR 2

I bought TS22L in San Diego in Sept ’64 when I finally got out of college and got my first job as an electrical engineer. With a wife and three young children I felt  I could not afford a TR3A or Austin Healy at around 2-3 grand (six months salary) so I bought the 10 year old TR 2 for $750. At the time it was painted metallic green but the original “split pea soup” color was visible in spots. It is curious that the TR histories do not admit to using this color until much later in production. An uncle who was a mechanic at a dealership claimed that some cars arrived in such ugly colors that the dealer simply repainted them to make them more sellable.


I drove the car to work daily through 1972. Sports cars were popular among young engineers so once a week we would have mini slalom races in the parking lot during lunch. Each participant was expected to provide at least 6 traffic cones for the event. One of us would lay out the course while another would be the timer. A Corvette owner might design the course with three long straight-aways while a Mini owner would make the whole course a series of tight S turns. The idea was to set your fastest time and then trade cars to prove if it was car or driver. I eventually learned how to use the handbrake to introduce a rear-end slide in order to fool the non-synchro tranny into going into first gear. (New rear axels were still available from BAP in those days).

We moved to Arizona in 1973 and my son drove the TR 2 to Scottsdale High and ASU until he could afford something with more sex appeal. His two younger sisters lusted after the TR 2 also but I began to realize that a TR in the hands of a teenager is too maintenance intensive. So the TR just rested in the garage until they were all out of college and had other modes of transportation. Around 1982 I decided to fix the TR 2 up a little. No frame-off, but practically everything else was done. The body was sandblasted to get rid of that ugly green paint and I repainted it GM Passenger Car White because the color is widely available and likely to remain so for my lifetime.

TS 22 at age 50

The original steel rims began to crack and I could find no replacements so I got a set of used wire wheels instead. One curious aspect of the TR 2 is that the spare tire well is too small to accept a wire wheel spare. They did not increase the size of the spare tire well until later when wire wheels were offered as an option.The “bonnet” of the first 100 or so cars was made of soft aluminum which tends to dent easily. Especially if your son’s high school buddies sit or stand on it. The internal bonnet latches are released by a knob with interconnected cables so precise adjustment is required to get both sides to release at once. If one side does not release, or if the cable breaks you are in deep yogurt! Consider for a moment how you would achieve this precise adjustment when you can’t even see the problem with the bonnet closed! It is easy to see why they put Dzues fasteners on later models.

I should point out that while the TR 2 may be the progenitor of the TR 3/3A/3B,  they are totally different animals. There is hardly a single part that interchanges. Many parts such as aluminum rock guards are produced in the after-market for the more common 3A but they simply don’t fit a 2! Popular folklore has it that that the first few bodies were produced at Mullners for hand assembly to see if everything would fit. As you can see by looking at my TR 2 — they just barely fit!

I am unable to drive the TR 2 at the present time because the wind noise drives my hearing aids berserk. I suppose I could turn them off, but what is the fun in driving a TR if you can’t hear that fruity exhaust. I suppose I could also sell it, but it is almost a member of the family and that would cause a mini-revolt amongst my adult children. So it now just rests in my sons’ garage in Tempe waiting for my grandsons to reach driving age.

Welding Demo @ Horton's

Welding demonstration for 18 August at 10:00 AM We will go over Arc, Gas, Mig, Tig, silver solder and Plasma. So come and try your hand. If you have a welding helmet please bring it.

It is important to make sure any area you intend to weld must be clean. no rust, dirt, powder coat or paint. Zinc coat is also a no no.

Contact John Horton

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