When I was in college in California, in 1959, I joined the Sports Car Club because it looked like a fun thing to do. I learned about Healeys, MGs, Triumphs, Jaguars and Sprites. A lot of friends I had met drove one of these British cars, and I envied them, bumming rides to wherever they went whenever they'd let me.
I couldn't afford a car then, but the LBC (Little British Car) bug bit me hard and the desire never went away.
In 1971, I purchased a brand new TR-6, and owned it for a year; however at that time I was married and we were starting a family, so the Triumph became totally impractical and it was sold. There was a tear in my eye as the dealer drove it away and replaced it with the biggest, ugliest 1972 Ford Galaxie in the world. But the Ford had air conditioning and carried all of us and our junk much better than the Triumph.
Fast forward to 2012, and approaching retirement - I decided to finally stop wishing, reading magazines, and drooling over every LBC I saw, and started shopping for a Triumph. Of course I wanted to buy the first one I saw, but members of the 6-Pack club, which I joined, recommended looking carefully at a number of cars before you leap.
As an aside, I commented to one of the club members that I was considering getting either a 37 year-old blonde, or a 37 year-old LBC when I retired. His comment was that the sports car may be a money pit, but it would be far cheaper in the long run than the blonde!
I've heard that when you go to the dog breeder to select a puppy, the right one for you will eventually gravitate to your side and you will "know" that this is the right dog. Well, the same thing appears to happen with classic cars. After looking at 4 or 5 cars in person, and researching dozens on line, I found a BRG (British Racing Green) 1976 TR-6 being lovingly cared for by an owner in Massachusetts. The car was all original, and his attitude toward it made it clear he was reluctant to sell it, but with four classic cars in his garage, there was just no more room.
I drove the car, put it up on a lift, photographed it, studied it carefully and decided the things it needed were well within my budget. All the major systems had been kept in tip-top shape; it was rust-free and everything except one light bulb in the car actually worked.
Like the puppy at the dog-breeder, this Triumph found me and after a day or so of thought, I purchased it. While the car was at the upper range of my purchasing budget, it was in excellent condition and the prior owner's attitude influenced the sale just as much as the car. I picked up the car, drove it home; the PO gave me extra tires and wheels, parts and filters, and oil he had in stock for the car, without being asked.
After a tune-up and replacement of wear items - hoses, spark plugs, plug wires, etc., the car ran like new, even better than the test drive I had taken. Trusted to the care of one of the premier LBC mechanics on the East Coast, the car returned from the service with a glowing report about its overall condition, and now we are together at last.
It's frustrating to wait out the winter with the Triumph sleeping under a warm cover in the garage, but spring is just around the corner. Many summer days I decide that I "need a ride" and take the TR-6 out for a couple of hours exploring the back roads and rolling hills of central Connecticut. Finally, after more than fifty years, I have the British sports car I lusted for, and it takes me back to college years every time I drive it.