TC5308 (built April 22, 1948) came to me through eBay – I have wanted a TC since I read Don Stanford’s book THE RED CAR in elementary school, and I decided I had better get one while I was still young enough to enjoy it. The decision sparked a rapid look at three different TCs through Internet contact and photos. TC5308 showed up on eBay with a lot of nice photos and an ad that listed extensive work done during a ‘total restoration’.

Although I know those words can mean anything from a fresh coat of Krylon spray paint and new spark plugs to Concourse level work, the photos were detailed enough to inspire confidence. I waited until there were 5 seconds left and bid the maximum I could manage, expecting to get shut out by more well-heeled TC lovers. Only to win the car by the $66 padding I’d stuck on as a hedge! The car arrived from Florida on February 17, 2009 not running due to claims of messed up carbs - but the truth showed up once they were redone. Under the valve cover was a snapped rocker shaft and a bolt broken off in the head.

On the flip side, the TC was beautiful. Her Sequoia Cream paint and Regency Red leather looked new, as did the dash, chassis, and wheels. She had the correct air cleaner, rare factory alloy valve cover, and even the original three-spoke black wheel! The top was another matter - not only tired, but made of leather-grain white vinyl. She also had reproduction Lucas P700 headlights in step-down rims. I was able to get the bolt out of the head with a left-hand drill bit, and was driving her a week later. By this time I had been over the car enough to know she had potential to be a show winner. I bought the car to drive and enjoy, but as luck would have it, there were two national Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA) scheduled close enough to be reachable and soon enough that I could get the 'trailer queen' phase done in a couple of months.

It about this time that members of T-ABC kicked into high gear providing invaluable advice, services, and parts. The original wheel went to Ben Cordsen in Colorado, who made the plain black wheel a thing of beauty. Other list members have assisted with loans of parts, or sold me needed items at very fair prices.

The challenge was getting everything done before April 3rd, the AACA national show in Charlotte NC. Fellow TC owner and car bud Richard Hall helped me install a new cloth top, and my next couple of paychecks ended up divided between Jeff Zorn at Little British Cars, Doug Pelton at FromTheFrameUp, Craig Seabrook (great wood pieces), and of course, Moss Motors. It all came together just in time, with last-minute painting and detailing being done at Charlotte the afternoon before the show. The rest of the class was formidable, and included two TFs, a TD, and two Jaguars. However, TC5308 got her First Place just 6 weeks after I first laid eyes on her!

The nest (and last) hurdle is May 30th, and the AACA national show in Gettysburg. Competition for a Senior is tougher, and I have been scrambling to fix things that I knew were wrong. The P700 headlamps had not cost me points in Charlottet, but they were wrong, so I put together correct lights. Ben Cordsen ended up supplying NOS Catseye headlight lenses and rims. Joe Curto provided a dress-up kit for the pitted handbrake that was cheap, easy, and beautiful. Moss is getting even more of my money, and I need to spend a lot of time under the car doing detailing and touchup. Still, I have high hopes for a Senior. In any case, once Gettysburg is over, the car is getting some serious road time.

Any information on the car’s history would be greatly appreciated.

Bob Stein