By Bill Pugh
It all began in 1985, when our daughter came to me for advice on buying her first car. She had her eyes on a Miata, and after thinking a while, I remembered some good advice I’d heard somewhere, “Every young woman should have one red convertible”. And so she did!
Many years later, in 2004 to be exact, I used the same advice for AnnaBelle, my wife. I’d seen a beautiful 1970 Red Triumph TR6 on eBay, and after contacting the owner in Kentucky, and calling a few folks who lived in that area, I bought the car. In my first email, I asked if the car could be driven back to California, and I was assured it could. We bought one way tickets and flew to Kentucky, met the owner and were taken to his home (make that Estate). He was a lawyer.
The car came with a hardtop and all the goodies. The hardtop needed a little “tweaking” and we were to take it to his mechanic the next morning – which we did – in a lot of rain! We drove down the long curved driveway slowly, but when I shifted to 2nd and accelerated, THE WHOLE CAR BEGAN TO SHAKE! There was no way it could be driven to California. The owner was in Federal Court then, and couldn’t be contacted. But when he came home, we had a “discussion”. He called his mechanic and we took the car down on Saturday. He must have used this guy for a long time. After inspecting, the mechanic said the front drive shaft U-joint was “loose”, but he had no parts. If only the previous owner had handed him a box of U-Joints! I asked that both were replaced and they were, took it for a test drive and it was much better. I called AnnaBelle, told her to pack; we were leaving as soon as I filled Rosey with gas.
Arriving back at the house, I got “slightly disturbed” when I noticed gasoline pouring out of the tank! Then the owner said with a straight face, “Oh! You didn’t fill it up all the way, did you?” We almost quit the transaction, but the car was so good-looking we decided to head home. On every fill up, we sped away and burned down that first gallon as soon as we could. Lesson learned: Shell Oil Premium smells the worst! We made it home with no more surprises, and began to fix the car correctly. We spent the next year making the car safe and up to our standards.
When the car was finished, we had fun entering SCCA Judged Concours events. We won 1st in class at Ironstone, Nielo, Palo Alto, Shriners—not all at once, but over a few years. The original restoration was done in 1998, and by 2015 Rosey was beginning to show her age, but it was at Nielo when she almost had her first bad performance. We were parked on a pretty steep hill, and I had chocked the front wheels. As usual, the Judges were asking for lights, turn signals, and then they asked AnnaBelle to put on the high beams. Now you must understand that to do that you must press the button with your left foot, which had been holding down the clutch—with the motor running. To our shock, the car was in 1st gear and not neutral. The car jumped forward, and the Judge jumped sky high! The chocks saved any real consequence, but we did not make the podium that day.
That was the day we decided Rosey would no longer be a show car. We drive Rosey to rallies, show and shine events, cruises (Captiol Carrera, twice), and to two day 500 mile events from Sacramento and back. Rosey never lets us down. We still do Ironstone every year, but it not judged so hard. To date, we have been to 15 Ironstone events, and have six TR class 1st places. Ironstone is the third Saturday of September, last year it fell on the 23rd of September, which was our wedding anniversary. We didn’t win, but we brought a big flat cake, and gave it to all the folks that came by to help us celebrate 60 years together!