On a cold rainy day during the spring of 1987 I drove down to a tiny hollow in northern Kentucky and purchased a 1964 Triumph TR-4 from a good old guy named Bernie. Bernie was the car’s second owner and it had been his daily driver through thick and thin for nearly two decades. The rocker panels were riddled with rust. Within the floor beneath the driver’s feet I found a hole through which I could have passed a healthy sized cantaloupe. The interior was a nightmare mix of tattered seat covers and carpet remnants and the four-cylinder engine was running poorly on three cylinders. It was love at first sight!
My friend Rick gave me the courage to buy the beleaguered TR-4. He promised that he would help me get it running properly and sure enough, we soon had the engine in pieces. I’m far from an automotive expert but what I do know about the guts of an engine comes from those days beneath the hood of the Triumph with Rick.
For the next 15 years the Triumph sat in the corner of the garage collecting dust. I just didn’t have the money or the skills to tackle the car’s still long list of needs to make it safely roadworthy. Ray, one of my dental patients, has three Triumphs. Each time into the office Ray would ask me if I had the Triumph on the road and each time I left him shaking his head in frustration and disbelief. At one point I talked with Ray about selling the car and he even put me in contact with a gentleman from the local Triumph club who was looking for a TR-4. The prospective buyer spent some time getting acquainted with my car but politely elected to continue his search.
A huge break unfolded about five years back when another friend, Dave took interest in helping me with the car! Dave stripped the little TR-4 down to bare metal. He found that the rust was really pretty much confined to the areas we knew about from the surface. The frame and most of the sheet metal was really quite solid. He replaced the floor and rocker panels and returned the body to its original glossy black. I hired Jerry Schnetzer to install a handsome interior carpet and leather upholstery set in original red. And ultimately just within the past year I connected with Jim at European Auto Specialists in Deer Park, Ohio. Jim pulled all the pieces together and made my little Triumph safe and roadworthy just in time to celebrate its 50th birthday!
It’s been a terrific summer for me but the zenith came on Sunday July 13th when I took my Triumph to its first British Car Show. I simply went in search of an opportunity for the car to mingle with its vintage British peers. I was stunned when the judge came by and ultimately left the blue ribbon for our class on the windshield of my car!
I was alone that day but I found myself profoundly aware of the fact that through the car Bernie, Rick, Ray, Dave, Jerry and Jim were all there with me. Smiles don’t get much broader than the one I wore that day as I drove home alone, yet among friends in a blue ribbon Triumph TR-4!
Dr. Davis is especially good with kids. And his staff? Helpful, compassionate, and caring. They take care of business for you. Thumbs up. 10 on a scale of 5.