Why did I get a TC? The story starts way back in 1958. I was 15 years old and in my 5th year at Ringwood High School, in Victoria Australia. At the time I had my first “real” girlfriend – Her name was Valerie and we went out for nearly a year. She then decided to move on to someone who was a bit more mature – she was 9 months older than me – an immense difference it seemed at the time!
If we now fast forward to a school reunion about 6 years ago – we met up again – having seen each other only a few times in the ensuing 45 years. Val’s husband had died suddenly in 1989. I had been recently divorced. I still found her very attractive, plus she had a 4 car garage – enough for me to indulge in my fancies of starting a car collection. I persuaded her that I should move in – together with my Jaguar MK2, MGA, Ford Capri Convertible and work car (I was a Product Planning Manager at Ford at the time).
We then added to the collection by buying our TC. A car I have always loved – and in particular I always wanted a hot version (in looks anyway).
We have had TC 9284 for 4 ½ years now and bought the car almost by accident. We had visited our local sports car specialist (The Healey Factory in Ringwood) one Saturday morning, to buy a Moto-Lita steering wheel to replace the Mini Minor one incorrectly fitted to my MGA 1600. Val spotted the TC on the showroom floor – it was being prepared for sale on consignment and she asked for first refusal on the car when it was ready. The following Monday I returned and took the car for a test drive – I had only driven a TC briefly before – and that was more than 40 years previously! The car seemed to do everything expected – it even had good steering (allegedly – the qualification being, for a TC), so we decided to pay the asking price and bought the car.
Since that time it has not driven a great number of miles – but it is always a thrill to get behind the wheel. No other car so successfully transports you back in time and no other car is such fun at such slow speeds! It never fails to bring a smile to your face when you drive it. It of course is always the centre of attention on the road, with youngsters hanging out of their cars waving and taking photos of it on their mobile phones.
We have changed a couple of things – the steering was dangerous – in spite of having an adjusting screw. All this did was take up the free play on centre, then cause the steering to lock up when it reached the unworn areas at full lock – hardly inspiring confidence when halfway around a sharp corner!.
So a Datsun steering box was procured from the “Pick-a-Part” wreckers next to the Healey Factory and the conversion handled expertly by well known Melbourne T Series specialist, Ray Skewes. At the same time the carburettors were rebuilt.
The car is not standard – it has common upgrades such as a Brooklands Wheel, the original early style alloy rocker cover and an alloy sideplate. There is a starter button and solenoid, the SUs are 1 ½ and it appears to have a “hot” camshaft. Aero screens, 16” “Sydney” laced wheels, mesh shields on the front lamps and a radiator overflow pipe complete the picture. The previous owner had a fair amount of maintenance performed on it over the years by Ray Skewes. The car has been restored at some stage. The soft top is a little tatty, and there are chips and some small blemishes in the bodywork – but overall the car is very eye catching, with just enough of the “café racer” look to make it a standout!
PS I have joined this wonderful organisation as a result of my brother Gavin’s recommendation.
That’s his car next to me on the membership list!