In the Market for a "New" Car

The first car I ever owned was a 1988 BMW 325i convertible. In 1997, my parents needed a 3rd car since my mother worked on the weekends, and my father, who flew home every weekend, would leave his truck in Memphis. They shopped around, knowing that this would become "MY" car. My father found this car in Arkansas. My mom approved, and he drove it back to Texas. I was only 14 at the time. This would be the car I learned how to drive in.

Unfortunately, when I was 16, it got totaled. My father sold it for parts to someone who wanted the engine. In 2006, I received a fax asking about the car. It had been abandoned for several years at some shop, and several people wanted to buy it. No one knew who left it there, but a vehicle inquiry showed that we were the last registered owners. I called up the guy who faxed me. He wanted to buy it too. I had to explain to him that the car was totaled, and was sold 8 years ago.

I went to go see it. The original engine was still in the car, and was not parted out. The damage had been repaired, but there was still much to work on. Being that I filed for a new title, it was legally mine, so we trailered it home and began restoring it.  It soon became my daily driver. One day I was driving my mustang (the BMW's replacement after it was totaled). When I came home I discovered that my fender was missing. My husband had removed it in order to install a new fender (previous owner had installed one from a different car that didn't fit), but he left it off to show me something.  The car had previous frame damage that we knew about and rather than pull the frame, they cut out the bad part and welded on a new. It wasn't that they had use the wrong car as their donor (resulting in fitment issues) but that the welds had all come apart. There were cracks running down the rocker panel and firewall, as well as a centimeter wide crack going up and down my strut tower area. Basically the only thing keeping the car from falling apart on the road was the cross member, and strut tower brace (which we installed months before).

My husband would not allow me to drive my car anymore, and I had to get rid of it. Being my first born child, I couldn't part it out, even though economically it would make more sense, as I had about $4000 into the car. Luckily, I got $1200 for it, which is more than most totaled cars like that go for. And yes, I was very honest about everything.  I always said that I would never sell that car. Even when they towed it away in 1998 I said that. When I got it back, I still said that. I was a liar, and it was heart breaking when I watched it drive off.


What to Buy, And Where to Get It?

My husband suggested that I get another vehicle to play with. I told him no. There was no way that I would go through that pain again. He started suggesting possible vehicles that I had shown some previous interest in. I explained that we really ought to just save our money, and keep that extra space in the driveway that we recently got back. There's just us two living here, so we didn't need four cars.

Eventually the hobby bug bit me. Ok, like a few hours after he suggested that I get something else it bit me. Having only owned red convertibles all my life I knew that I was done with them. They're great, but since I still have my mustang, there's no reason for me to own another red convertible. I remembered seeing a few years back this strange British sports car behind this shop in a neighboring town.  We went to go look at it, and it was still there. It was too far gone to restore. It was being used as a parts car, and there was more rust than actual car. Since there  were no emblems on the vehicle, I took a


picture of it, and started researching. I soon learned that this car at one point in its life was a Triumph GT6. And not just any GT6. It was a MkI! Apparently there were three different body styles. I of course fell in love with the first.

Now I had to find one that was for sale. Looked everywhere online and there were only 2. One in Michigan, which was a MkIII, and one in Indiana, which was too far gone.  Luckily, my husband somehow found an expired ebay auction for a MkI in Montalba TX. It didn't meet reserve. We called him up to see if it was still for sale, and what he wanted for it. He agreed to sell it for $2300. Being 3 hours away, only

having the pictures that were given to me in the auction, I had to make a decision then and there to get it because we would be coming with a trailer.  From the pictures, the rust damage looked minimal, and having new carpet and door cards helped make the decision.

It seems that everyone I talk to online has trouble finding these. MkIIs may be sought out after for their rotoflex, but everyone wants the MkI for the same reason I did, the looks. People look for years and travel far. Some either settle for the newer body styles, or give up entirely. And to think, we only looked for a few hours online and found one just a few hours away. I had no idea how rare they were, and that there was a demand for them. I had never seen or heard of one ever, until I discovered the parts car they had out back.


The Journey - An Adventure All On Its Own

The seller was moving to Georgia that Wednesday, so if we wanted the car we'd have to pick it up that weekend. My cousin has a truck and trailer that we usually borrow, but he was out of town. He offered his trailer, but no truck. Then my husband asked a buddy of his. Again, we could borrow the trailer, but no truck. Figuring out that we'd have to rent a truck, we went with U-Haul. Since Montalba is just North of Palestine, renting from Athens made more sense because it was on the way. Only problem is, they wont let you rent a pickup for a one way trip. We would have to rent one of those big camper ones. They didn't have any 10' trucks, so they bumped us up to a 24'. But for some reason we would have to pick up our truck and trailer at  two separate U-Haul locations. Naturally we go to the trailer one first. The gentleman there was very confused as to how we planned on hauling a trailer with a Dodge Neon.

We then go to the other location to pick up the truck. Only out trucks not ready. An employee walks in and the guy asks if it ready. His exact words were "The AC doesn't work." "I think someone hauled pigs in it." and "You couldn't pay me to drive that thing again." So they bumped us up again to a 26' truck.  This things big enough to move our entire house. I seriously can't believe that they allow people with class C licenses and no prior training to operate these vehicles. Anyway, we manage to get back to the trailer place where there were several smaller trucks that somehow were not available to us, including the size we needed. The population of Athens is about 12,000, they're several hours

away from anywhere else you could call "civilization." But somehow, they're all reserved for some reason.

So we're driving this huge 26' monstrosity, hauling a trailing. So combine the trailer with the cab of the truck, you've got  40 feet of mobile terror!

So now we're driving about an hour to Montalba. Driving down narrow rural roads, roads that appear to be one way, roads made of gravel, and yes, we even off-roaded this thing.

Taking out tree branches and shrubbery, we take a look at the car, pay in cash, and load it up. I am then given more information about the car which can be found here in the "About" page. We drive back home, making good time, going to get home before Dallas rush hour, until we stopped for gas near Seagoville (which is just outside the metroplex). We had plenty of gas, but we stopped anyway because the trick is that uhaul charges you for gas used, and keeps whatever extra you put in. They always give you a 1/3 of a tank, knowing that you'll have to refill it, and fill up too much. So the idea was, by filling up just outside of Seagoville, by the time we drop it off, we'd have 1/3rd of a tank left.

Well during fill up we notice yellow oil running down the entire cab, and dripping all over the engine bay. We're pretty sure we can make it home safely, as we didn't notice any mechanical problems, just this one big cosmetic one. Well the instructions say that we must contact them, or we'll be held liable for the damage. So call them and see if they can send out another truck, because we aren't hauling anything in our, just need to pull a trailer. They said no, and asked us to wait an hour for a technician to get there. He shows up, and claims that it was the transmission cooler and goes off to get the part. Since it can be fixed we're stuck with our huge messy truck. It takes him another hour to come back and fix it. So far we've been at this station for 3 whole hours. Could have just been one, if they had given us another truck. But at least I got my very first compliment on the car. An elderly couple drove in not to get gas, but just to get a look at it and compliment me on it. They weren't sure what kind of car it was, but I knew that would be common since I also did not know what the car was until that week.

So now we're driving in Dallas rush hour traffic. Everyone seems to be on their best behavior. I think it was because everyone was smart enough to know that if you  tailgate, cut off, sideswipe, or don't let us in, we'd be victorious in battle. All was well, until we got into our home town. Then it seemed that everyone was doing all these things on purpose. Got to our street, again, knocking over branches, and block the street. We then unload the car, which has no brakes. A neighbor walks by and I get my 2nd compliment on the car. Hes never seen one either, and was shocked at how affordable these cars are.

Our street opened out onto the main road, making it easy for larges vehicles such as these to leave. Unfortunately a month or two before, they had closed it off and made a cul-de-sac. Since both the truck and the GT6 were blocking the street, my husband drove the truck around to get it out of the way, explaining that hed move the GT6 afterward. While he was doing this, for fun, I thought I'd see if I could move it myself. I was able to push it easily down the street without even breaking a sweat!!! I have never been able to do this with any car before! I felt like She-Ra, Wonder Woman, or some feminist heroine of that sort.

Because of this whole ordeal, the U-haul was now closed, so we dropped it off. When they reopened, they tried charging us extra due to how filthy we left it, but after explaining our whole story, they gave us a discount.

More information about the car's past can be found here.

First Snow?

I can't officially state this, but considering the possibility of it being an all Arizona car, and I'm pretty sure it didn't snow in Montalba in 07 or 08, this may very well be the car's first experience with snow. This is possibly the first blizzard in DFW history. I know that I've never seen it this bad, at least not here anyway. It is the first time it has ever snowed here on Christmas Eve (that can be recorded). It was also the very first "White Christmas" we've had in 83 years. It snowed again on the 29th, but quickly melted the next day, as temperatures reached above 50. This bizarre weather is not uncommon for us. The day before the blizzard I was in a t-shirt sanding down parts of the car. It was 75 degrees as the high that day.

Five Digit Mayheim

We went through hell trying to find "Year of Manufacturer" plates. In the state of Texas you can register your car as an antique or a classic with plates of the same year as your car so long as you have a front and back plate, which is kind of hard to find as pairs. Well 1967 is a pretty popular year. In fact every person I asked wanted to know if  I was restoring a mustang or camaro, due to the year of request. On the internet people were trying to sell them for over a hundred dollars! So I dragged my husband to every antique store in the metroplex, including several that no longer existed. Finally I learned of a town 1-2 hours away that has a HUGE antique fair once a month. So we decided to go.

We took my husbands car which started driving weird. He pulled over, and I discovered that the rear passenger tire was low on air, so we limped to the next gas station (same block) and bought air. I could hear the air seeping out. Several months ago we all had received recall notices from Discount Tire about our valve stems. I bent the stem, and sure enough the noise went away. That's how we knew. We limped to the nearest Discount Tire a couple miles away. It was losing air, but not fast enough to be a real threat, you just wouldn't want to drive 4 hours on it. Anyway, when we got there they were CLOSED!!! They're not open on Sunday apparently. To make matters worse, Monday was a holiday and would be closed then as well. It felt very weird changing your own tire in front of Discount Tire. Especially since we weren't even in a parking spot. Despite being closed, every spot was taken by an overflowing IHOP.

We drove back home and took my mustang. Problem was, we just did our very first engine swap and haven't worked out all the bugs yet. It hadn't driven more than 10 miles in a single trip since the swap. It made the trip fine, but when we got into town, with all the traffic from the antique flea market, the car started over heating badly. We managed to find a parking spot safely, but couldn't stay long to shop due to the fear of having it break down at night, or during rush hour. But of course, to let the car cool we had plenty of time to search for buried treasure.

This place had to be a square mile long. So we started asking people about classic plates. I quietly got angry as I started to see so many "arts and crafts" which were made using antique plates, plates which might of had another chance on a car. Anyway, many of them knew where I could find such vendors. There were several. The average price was $65, and no one would haggle. Problem was, I only took out $40, so now I was on a quest for an ATM. With the cost of gas, parking, coolant for my mustang, ATM fees, and the plate, it may have been better just to buy the ones online... ...HOWEVER these plates were special. Out of all the 67 plates every vendor had, these plates had 5 digits.  During the end of 2010, the state has started to issue 7 digit plates, making this plate even more cooler then when there were only 6. 1967 must of been the last year for 5 digit plates, because when I tried to get the DMV to approve them, they were having difficulty with their system due to the lack of characters. Oh, and in case you were wondering, we made it back home safely, and without overheating.

On A Roll

As soon as I got my plates the state changed the law. Starting January 2011, you will no longer be able to register Year Of Manufacture plates as "classics." You could still register them as an antique, just not a classic. What's the difference? Well an antique is only allowed to drive to and from shows, parades, etc. They are very limited on mileage. But with a classic, you can drive whereever and whenever you want. And with a car like mine, it would be pretty obvious to local authorities that it shouldn't be an "antique" if they start seeing the car driven fairly often.

Anyway, so I go to register the car... First thing they do is issue me a new Texas title. So now its officially mine. But they tell me that since it has never been registered in the state of Texas I have to have it inspected before I can register. Had it previously been, everything would have been fine and dandy and I would not have to worry about my plates. Problem is, the car is no where near street legal. It kinda bothered me that they had no clue of such a law, and it bothered me more when they rejected my request for a new title, because I owed $7 in fees that THEY forgot to charge me. Could I pay by mail or online? No. I would have to go back, and we all know what fun the DMV is.

So now  we're racing the clock trying to get the car street legal before 2011. We found a loop hole though. The law also states that the plates can be APPROVED by Jan 2011, but registered no later than September 2011. That bought us some time, but I had to figure out how to get that done. Because the one DMV was so clueless, this time I went to a different location (same county). Everything seem to be going smoothly until I had to explain that I cant register the car, or even get it inspected., as well as the reason why I would even need an approval first. Luckily I printed off the law including the section chapter and code number. She had to talk with someone, and that person had to make a call. They also had to make a second call when they had difficulties entering in a 5 digit plate. But I was successful and got my approval. But the pressure is still on, as I don't trust the DMV to understand their own forms. I would hate to have to defend myself about a law in my favor for just a couple of stupid plates.

Anyway, this fall and winter we have been on a roll restoring this thing. The engines finished, frame and suspensions finished. We just got the body finished. We've already got the engine to start by itself on just the frame. Things are looking good, but I fear that we will still miss our deadline due to a small missing part or two.

First Complaint

One day my husband took off work early. He started grinding at about 4:30 PM. At 5:30PM an officer showed up. He asked my husband if he knew why he was there. He questioned the noise. The officer, who wasn't very clear on the subject, said that must be the reason. He mentioned that if he has to come back he'll have to write up a warning (or sitation I don't know) but also mentioned that he was getting off in 30 minutes, so whatever happens after then wasn't his problem. I guess he understood the pointlessness in the report, and was trying to be nice. The grinding is loud, but mostly to us. Its really no different than mowing your yard with a gas powered mower. According to the legal decibel level and time of day, we're in the right. But I guess that's one of those deal that only works in court if you are willing to go that far. Technically anything is disturbing the peace.... ...a baby crying at a restaurant, a dog barking... ...ONCE. To be honest, I think the ricers a few doors down are louder just leaving home.

Anyway, a week later we get a letter in the mail from the Town. This time its to let us know that we were in violation of a town ordinance. It seems that my Triumph is considered a junked vehicle, even though we have been working on it every single day. Didn't seem to be a junked vehicle all the months it was just sitting there not being touched. What's sad is had it been registered, it would no longer be considered a "junked vehicle." I had previously tried to get it registered the week before the letter. So pretty much I cant work on my vehicle because its not registered, and its not registered because I need to work on my vehicle. Think that's amusing? Well if you cant get it out of view (no tarps or canopies) within 10 days you'll be issued a citation. To avoid being issued a citation you can get an appeal. But if you get  a citation, you lose the right to an appeal. HOWEVER, If you try to appeal, they'll ask for a citation number. They cant issue an appeal without a citation number, and if you get a citation you cant get an appeal! Make sense?

I thought everyone on our street loved the car, as many, man or woman, often come up to us while we're working to talk about it and compliment us, but I know its got to be a neighbor that reported us. What's sad is the police visit. For non emergencies, it typically takes them an hour to respond. Meaning that if it took the officer that long to get here, my husband was reported the second he started. At 4:30 most adults are at work. Whoever wasn't has a lot of nerve.

We avoided the whole "junked vehicle" issue so far because we had just finished metal work on the body.  The body had to remain in the garage during the finishing stages until the final paint job was complete. But we kind of feel bad about it, thinking that others may believe we're hiding it due to the complaint. If you give a mouse a cookie, he's going to want a glass of milk. Until everything is bolted on and sealed, it will probably still spend its nights inside.  Before the complaints, I normally would joke with people about how the town hated seeing the car, that they built a huge wall to hide it.  They actually blocked off half the street and added a sound wall. I like it better with it, but can no longer see the car from the main road, which makes you wonder...

A Horse Of A Different Color

It seems as though some time after it was green and before it was white, this car was also red. Like an onion, this car has many layers. Each one bringing a tear to your eye. Sealant, British Racing Green, Primer, Red, Bondo, Primer, White... ...all stripped away for one more color: Aurora Blue, a color from Mazda's palette.