1956 TRIUMPH TR3
Here is the end result of my 5 year frame-off restoration of my 1956 Triumph TR3. It was a long but very satisfying journey to see the car go from boxes of parts to the finished product..
My first Triumph was this 1959 TR3A .
It had been a dream of mine to find another TR3 one day. When the opportunity arose from a fellow club member who was moving, it was hard to resist. Here is what it looked like before restoration.
This early small-mouth TR3 was purchased in mid-2005, but sat in my workshop more or less idle in terms of restoration. Here it is in 2009 waiting for restoration.
I started the restoration in earnest in November 2010, and by September 2013, the car was finally back on the road. Here are some of the highlights along the way.
Started restoration November 2010 - separated body from frame and mounted body on rotisserie.
December 2010 - tackled body work over the winter and started to check out the mechanical components and frame.
January 2011 - body work near completion, primed and painted on all interior parts ... waiting to do final painting till body back on frame. Block sanding is time-consuming but rewarding. Colour is Cotswold Blue. Tracking down missing parts and refurbishing electrical and mechanical components.
February-March 2011 - worked on exhaust and brakes and sorting out wheels. Gave up trying to straighten steel rims and purchased new Minator wheels and Kumho tires. Hoping to get body back on frame soon. Continued to track down parts and rebuild bits and pieces as required. Heater rebuilt, horns refurbished, and finally found a replacement for missing wiper wheel box. Fuel gauge and sender unit matched. All parts for dash located and cleaned/rebuilt ready for final assembly. New vinyl applied to dash, centre panel, and glove box door.
April 2011 - resolved rear drum fitting problem, and installed new wheels and tires. Exhaust manifold and stainless exhaust system installed. Ran new fuel line, but still need to rebuild fuel tap as it was damaged (will replace inner workings). Working on rebuilding pedal box assembly (one pedal needed welding and redrilling) and master cylinder. Located wiper motor bracket and wiper motor now complete. Turns out I had wrong pedal assembly, so need to find an earlier one, not the newer one I received with car.
September 2011 - slow progress over the summer ... fuel tap rebuilt and ready for installation, correct pedal assembly located and rebuilt, body back on frame, doors fitted, and block sanding completed and now ready for final paint.
October 2011 - Final painting of car completed and car now back in my garage. Very happy with colour (Cotswold Blue). Starting to refit the components that were rebuilt earlier and to work on upholstery.
November 2011 - January 2012. Wiring harness laid in place, rear lights refurbished, beading installed between panels, fitted splash guards, wiper mechanism, pedals, and heater in place, seats reupholstered, and all interior bits trimmed. Gas tank and filler spout installed. Scuttle vent installed. Working on tracking down bumper springs so that bumpers and front nose piece can be installed.
February 2012 - August 2012 - Had a bumper spring made locally and now have finished front end and bonnet installation. Interior essentially completed (carpet and upholstery). New windscreen seals installed. Mirrors added. Hood stick frame refurbished and installed. Master cylinder rebuilt. Next project will be installing master cylinder and running lines to brakes and clutch and bleeding the two systems. Going to try DOT 5 silicone fluid, which I hope does not mess up the rubber seals.
September 2013 - Quite a long time to sort out last details (generator not charging, vacuum leak at intake manifold, and assorted little issues after this 3.5 year restoration), but low and behold I completed the restoration in late September, the car passed its safety check, and it is now licensed and insured. First drive was to the wife of a great friend who was a tremendous help with my restoration (but who recently passed away) and then on to a meeting of the Ottawa Valley Triumph Club. Round trip was 56 miles (seemed somehow appropriate for my 56 TR3) and all was fine. Was a cold evening but what a fun experience. I'm still smiling!
2014 to date - Since getting the car back on the road, I've done some other things to make sure it is running well. I had some issues with overheating and decided to have the original radiator re-cored add an electric fan. As part of those revisions I converted from a generator to an alternator and switched the car to negative ground. Other electrical work included converting signal and brake lights to LEDs for much great visibility, adding some daylight running lights, replacing the brake light switch with a mechanical one, adding a relay to the horn circuit to take the heavy load off the push button on the steering wheel, and fitting a 12V outlet to power some more modern accessories and charge a phone. I also rebuilt the carburetors, degreed the cam, and had the distributor rebuilt. Very happy with the way it runs now.
From 2017 ... this is what fun in a TR3 is all about ... grandkids, daughter-in-law, and son all having a good time with Grandpa! Boys won't fit in occasional seat much longer.