I Want That One...
Triumph World|October - November 2019
Having spent his childhood being driven around in this Triumph, there was never any other car that Mick Armstrong was going to restore. Now that it has been converted back from carbs to fuel injection, he is on the finishing straight – after 28 years!

This car is a Wedgwood Blue 2.5PI, built 1971 and then shipped to Cavendish Motors in Chesterfield who sold it in 1972. I don’t know anything about the first owner or its early years, but within three years it had become our family’s car. My father worked as a mechanic at our local garage, Kinsall Green Garage in Tamworth, and they had a car sales pitch as well as doing the usual repairs. One day dad was asked to pick up a car they’d bought from the auctions, and I went along with him.

This was in 1975, I was seven at the time and this very car is the one we went to collect. The garage had bought a couple of big Triumphs – they didn’t specialise in the model, but they were obviously selling well at the time! My dad loved this car right away, and said on the journey back to the garage: ‘I’m going to buy this.’ We did already have a 2000, but this car just did it for him. I think it was the colour as much as anything. It went down well at home too, because mum loved it. She still does, though sadly dad passed away in 2016.

So this became our family car and I grew up being driven around in it. My dad’s family lived down in Devon, so we would go down there regularly from our home in Tamworth. We’d go out for Sunday afternoon drives too, for a picnic or to somewhere of interest as people did back then, so as you can imagine it holds a lot of fond family memories for me, and for my mum and my sister Pam.

However, while dad loved the car, he never got on with the fuel injection, so early on in our ownership he took that off and fitted SU H4 carburettors instead. I don’t really know what his problem was with the injectors, he just said it never ran right. Thinking about it, that may have been why it ended up going through the auction, because while a lot of people back then traded their car in after three years, you might have expected it to retail through the dealer rather than sell at auction. Certainly I know that at the time many people were having trouble setting the fuel injection up properly..

Anyway, dad used it on carburettors as his everyday car for 10 or 11 years. In that time it had a respray and gained a glass sunroof in 1985, but to be honest we didn’t use it too much after that. And it wasn’t what you’d call a quality respray, just more of a blow over, so before long it was starting to show its age again. The car wasn’t worth a lot of money, but dad couldn’t bear to part with it so he rented a council lock-up and that is where it sat for many years. I don’t think dad had any particular plan for what he was going to do with it, he just didn’t want to see it go.

Meanwhile, I’d left school and started work on the YTS scheme at Reliant. I actually wanted to be a panel beater and paint sprayer, and thought that at Reliant I might be able to do spraying, if not panel beating. Instead they put me in the jig shop where I would never do either, but it was a fantastic job. Because of our expertise in fibreglass we were building the RS200 Group B rally car for Ford, plus Reliant were developing the Metrocab and the Scimitar SS1 had just come out, so it was all very exciting.

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