Monday, April 18, 2016

Show Car Sunday/Monday returns with 2 natty Brits!

Last year I was spending a week out in Riverhead when I encountered this smart looking pair:
A couple of serious British sports cars in the purest sense! Both are honest 2 seater roadsters that are more about driving fun then super high speeds.
The lighter car is a 1969 MGB Tourer in Pale Ivory. 
From this angle you can just see that there are 3 windshield wipers, which denotes it as a Tourer.
The MGB was introduced in 1962 and ran with only a few changes through 1980. One of the major defining changes over the years that helps to identify when one was built is this chrome grill. In 1974 the entire grill and front bumper were incorporated into a massive black rubber unit.
The engines in these little cruisers were small inline-4 cylinder in the 1,622cc to 1,798cc range, never producing more than 95 horsepower. The small engine made for a pretty even weight distribution between the front and back which is just what you want in a sports car.
I've never seen red line tires on anything but American muscle cars, but whatever. The wheels are real-deal spokes that require lots of cleaning and occasional maintenance. You need a large wrench to undo the center cap when removing them.
The luggage rack is another Tourer touch. Those cheap reflectors on the sides represent the beginning of MG trying to sneak through US safety regulations. One disastrous attempt at compliance happened in 1975 when the new US headlight height regulations went into effect. As opposed to redesigning the front of the car, the MG's parent company decided to raise the suspension height by 1". It doesn't sound like much, but the higher center of gravity (especially with larger, heavier bumpers of the '70s) ruined the handling that MG was famous for.
This example is just clean as a whistle. Perfect paint and convertible top fit on a small quirky sports car are rarities.
The the taillights had an amber flasher on the  bottom would mean the car was a '68.
This next ride is more aggressive in its demeanor. What we have here is a 1974 Triumph TR6 in Dark Red. We know it's a '74 because that's the last year for the large amber turn signals to be placed between the grill and the bumper, but the first year for those unfortunate large rubber guards on the bumpers.
This is dubbed as the "last of the true sports cars" due to its very traditional construction. The body is bolted onto a frame as opposed to being a unibody. The dashboard on every TR6 is made of real wood! They were meant to be thrashed about and driven hard.
The 6 stands for the 2,500cc inline-6 cylinder engine. Look how proudly British this little punk is!
You've got to love the gas cap placement; right behind your head! Not spilling a drop on your paint seems impossible. The license plate housing is wide enough for euro tags.
I love the looks of the TR6 with its low stance and huge wheel openings.
Both of these cars shared a common evil and that is Lucas Electric. This was the company responsible for more automotive misery than any other in the UK. Their electrical systems would short out as a matter of course. I should know this; my father had a late '70s MGB that burned to the ground! He said it overheated but I still feel like Lucas is somehow to blame.
We'll close it out with a good look at this eager little tough guys mug.

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