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Posted on: June 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM
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I Could Have Had a V8

At Jones Garage I believe that a car finds me versus the other way around. This story is one of many that supports my theory.

Kevin Jones, CEO/President

I have a fondness for rare and fast sports cars, even if they’re not a “popular” model. One such car that I had always wanted was a Triumph TR8 convertible. The TR8 is the Triumph TR7 body shell with a small aluminum 3.5 liter Buick/Rover V8. Only about 2,700 were made and only several hundred still survive.

Several years ago I was driving to one of MIDFLORIDA’s branches and spotted a TR8 in very good condition at a local repair shop. I stopped and asked about the car. They told me that it had been sitting for several years and an older gentleman was trying to get it running again. But, more importantly, it was not for sale.

Years went by and one day I was taking my kids to school and noticed a car parked at a house with a cover on it that appeared to be a TR7. I’d glance at the car occasionally on other trips to school when one windy day the cover had blown partially off. I was surprised to see the same TR8 I had spotted years before. Obviously, this car had found me and was needing rescue!

A few days later I stopped by. An older man came to the door, and I asked if the car was for sale. Initially he said no. His brother had purchased the car 20 years earlier but then, tragically, soon passed. The car had been sitting in his brother’s widow’s garage in Texas until five years ago when she asked if he wanted the car.

He had it shipped to Florida and was attempting to get the car back on the road, but had run into some issues with carburation and exhaust. In essence he was trying to honor his late brother by repairing and hopefully driving the car. However, he had other cars to keep running and had hit a wall on the repairs.

We spoke for some time. I explained that my goal would be to restore and keep the car and that I would share the progress with him. He finally agreed to sell the car “in a few weeks.” I called him occasionally and finally, about seven weeks later, we agreed on a date. When I picked up the car, he wanted to take one last drive in it wearing the leather hat that his brother had given him many years earlier. After a few tears, we completed the deal and I drove the car to its new home at Jones Garage.

The repairs were actually simple – new wheels, a new carburetor and headers and the car was running like new. I stopped by his house a few months later to show him the final results. He thanked me and promised to stop by and visit the car occasionally.

He did stop by one day, though I wasn’t there. He left some extra parts he’d found and a picture of himself wearing his old leather hat.

Jones Garage will be a monthly column by Kevin Jones, President of MIDFLORIDA and certified car guy to talk about his cars and automobilia and the cars of MIDFLORIDA’s members. In addition to his stories, we will feature a different member’s car and story each month. Please email your car story with a picture of your car to Julie Townsend at jtownsend@MIDFLORIDA.com

A special prize will be awarded if we use your car in an issue of Jones Garage.