Don’t you think it’s absolutely crazy how things go when you start tearing down an old car? You tell yourself, “This time we’re just going to do the brakes” or “This car doesn’t need much more than a tranny overhaul.”
But things never stop there, do they?
That’s how it’s going with the ’68 Triumph TR250 that came into Gunner’s Great Garage a few weeks ago. It was a nice car that had been sitting since 1981 or 1982. It’s also a one-year-only model and the 65th TR250 made. And all the numbers match. So when it’s restored, this car is worth $30,000+; it might even bring close to $40,000.
It’s a car that’s too nice and too rare to just brush paint the chassis and tune up the engine. From sitting so long it has crusty bushings and body mounts. The carburetors would probably leak if you just started the car. And the radiator shop said the core was clogged and a new one would be $450. So do you buy a new, made-in-China radiator out of a catalog for $130 or do you re-core the original, correctly coded radiator at great expense?
You think about all these things as you’re taking another part off. The tranny was shot and had to be pulled, so why not pull the engine? It’s not that hard and it can sure be cleaned better out of the car. While the motor is out, why not rebuild the carbs that are sure to leak? And gee, couldn’t we just undo the bolt, lift the body a bit and change the mounts? Sure we could.
And so it goes. You swear that you’ll only take off a minimum amount of parts, but you wind up going nearly as far as a total restoration. And, hey, while the car is so much disassembled, why not restore it? You tell yourself, it’s silly to do all this and not do the rest.
Unfortunately, taking a car apart is easy. Putting it back together again is a “whole ‘nother story.”