10 February 2014

T.R. The Car

Barbara Nist was fresh out of college in 1963, and her first car was a used 1959 Triumph TR3. Although a Mustang intervened, in 1971 she bought a new Triumph Spitfire. As part of the experience, she learned how to replace the points and do her own routine maintenance. But then, she explains, “life and babies” got in the way.

Eventually she retired, left Washington, D.C., and settled in the Nashville area. About a year after relocating, she started looking for a small second car. After rejecting every new option, she decided on another Triumph. The first car she looked at turned out not to be the Spitfire she was expecting, but a 1974 TR6, which she bought in 2008.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t until she took it to J.D.’s British Cars in Nashville that she learned of the car’s many needs. J.D. already knew the car and advised that Barbara take it back to the seller. Instead, she embarked on a complete restoration. With the motor out, the engine bay was painted as a first step in the cosmetic restoration. After roughly a year of mechanical work and regular invoices, Barbara learned of a retired body man who worked from his home. He stripped the TR6 to bare metal, addressed the dents and rust, and although it was originally French Blue, he repainted the car in the factory-correct bright white.

During reassembly, all new rubber was fitted, as were a luggage rack, the correct racing mirrors, the optional stripe kit and a factory hardtop Barbara had found in Canada through eBay. To complete the restoration, she fitted the car with obligatory redline tires.

To facilitate running the car back and forth to shops, Barbara had a utility trailer adapted to accommodate T.R. the Car. When the TR6 was completed in 2011, Barbara made it a focal point of her social life, scouring the Internet for shows to attend, assembling photo albums to display with the car and going so far as to make a sun dress out of Union Jack fabric so she could be properly attired at shows.

Although she stresses that her lovely white Triumph is not a “trailer queen,” having the trailer allows her to take friends, luggage and her displays along as she hits shows that are further afield. So if you happen to be at a British car event in the southeast and you hear rousing "British Invasion" music and spy a sparkling white TR6 with a woman dressed like a British flag, you’ve found Barbara Nist and T.R. the Car.

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