Can a Healey guy get along with a TR bloke?

I can’t get the yellow TR6 out of my head. The car screamed seventies’ 8-tracks and shag carpet. It was an unusual shade of color and I’m surprised I liked it as well as I did. I wouldn’t have thought a car could pull it off. The bigger surprise, however, was meeting the driver, Bryan Passman.

As I stood staring at the car, a gruff, grizzly man with huge shoulders and a big grin approached me. “That’s Colonel Mustard,” Bryan said proudly. “He’s my daily driver.” He walked me around the car and with only the slightest provocation a friendly debate ensued about whose straight six was the best. An utterly pointless yet endlessly entertaining argument that would spawn a great friendship.

The Six is the kind of car that’s owned by bare knuckle boxers and folks with handle bar mustaches. It’s at home parked in front of the local pub or barber shop. Driving a TR6 is akin to receiving a right cross to the jaw and asking, “Please sir, may I have another?” You’ll find yourself in a world of scotch and cigars, inappropriate hand gestures and open challenges of all sorts. Restraint is the exception not the standard, and your imagination explodes with images of bar room brawls the world over started by blokes trying to match the sheer masculinity of their cars. Folks who drive this TR are most certainly a breed apart. They have five o’clock shadows shortly after breakfast, and above all, enjoy seeing Big Healeys in their rear view instead of in front of them. At least Bryan does.

Bryan said half jokingly, “When I got my car I added another tattoo, when you got your Healey you most likely bought another derby hat.” He was right, of course. I have many at this point. Like myself, Bryan is the second generation owner of The Colonel and by naming his son Preston Maxwell he has ensured that the car will see a third generation inside The Family. He remembers fondly the day his uncle Corey showed up with the TR and a cigar. “I always wanted a muscle car right up to the point I heard that straight six rumbling towards me with plumes of smoke streaming from the driver.” Bryan instantly grew a beard at the sight of Colonel Mustard and his wife Jessica was elated they finally had an old car in the family. Uncle Corey restored the car and couldn’t think of anyone more deserving, or manly, to give this British street fighter to. The Passmans joined their uncle’s British car club and soon became key players in planning events and keeping the tradition of British motoring strong in the community.

Driving in The Colonel with Bryan is a firm reminder of how to drive a proper British Sports car.

Bryan pushes the car hard into the twisties, braking late and getting on the gas early. I said out loud, “A little aggressive today, eh Bryan?” He gave me a wry smile and said, “A Healey man would say that.” The TR6 screams down the tree-laced roads, the overhead valve symphony loudly proclaiming “British or die!” and the six is hungry for some action. The gearbox, in classic British fashion, has just the right amount of throw and the gearing suits Bryan’s driving style. We finally reach a stoplight, and after a few moments of silence Bryan simply states, “Fuel injection is garbage.” Definitely my kind of guy.

Now the TR spirit is taking over me and I can finally see the single malt man emerging. This car grabs you in a primal way.

“I love the smell of exhaust in the morning,” Bryan says. “Why wake up and drive a computer when you have to sit in front of one all day?” He explains his reluctance of having Jessica drive the TR6 for fear of her growing chest hair, and beating him to death with a Maglite upon returning from her drive. Still, he wisely relents to her requests. The car has affected everyone in one way or another. Murphy, the family dog used to be a sweetheart, but now if a stranger approaches the Triumph he starts to growl and foam at the mouth. A proper British sports car dog!

Bryan tried to explain how “the car knows when I need it to brake.” A concept I don’t yet fully understand; it must be a Triumph thing. As we arrive at our destination, I’m grateful I’m still in one piece and Bryan has thoroughly put my driving habits to shame. He lights his cigar and says in reflection, “The only problem I have with this car is I was hoping to buy something to work on, but nothing on this car likes to break.”

There are many more granite-jawed TR guys like him who uphold the proud tradition, but this one is my friend and I shall keep fiddling with my Healey until one day Colonel Mustard is in my rearview.

David Allan Prado… still a Healey guy.

But now, every morning, most likely on purpose, I am startled from my sleep by a faint echo that grows into a cacophonous howl. The Colonel’s route to work passes my house and has made itself my alarm clock. I am reminded of what my dad used to say—“If you ever need a dose of manliness, get yourself a TR, that should fix it relatively quickly.”

By David Allen Prado
Photos by Andy Medina

Tagged: ,

'TR-666' have 7 comments

  1. September 30, 2012 @ 11:49 am J. Goler

    I have seen the car up front, and personal. It is the real deal. The events are awesome also.


  2. October 2, 2012 @ 8:56 am Gayle

    As a female owner of a ’73 TR6, the second in my lifetime to date, I had to chuckle at the quote “If you ever want a dose of manliness, get yourself a TR”. It is true …… The Six is my sub-hub: at times frustrating, but good looking, powerful, dependable, with a strong voice and presence.

    Oh, and contrary to the fears of some, driving one does not cause hair to grow on the female chest.


  3. October 3, 2012 @ 10:18 am Neil

    cool car


  4. October 5, 2012 @ 7:23 pm T. Monique M.

    Beautiful car, well-written story, and great photos!


  5. October 11, 2012 @ 9:59 am Dean Parks

    Yep! You nailed it exactly.

    At 6’2″ people wonder how I fit in my 69 TR6, but “Oliver” was my daily driver for many years before I moved out of California. Oliver is currently mimosa yellow like Colonel Mustard, although he was originally signal red.

    I drive like Bryan too, my friends say I only have two throttle positions…on and off!


  6. October 16, 2012 @ 10:13 am Dave Goodsole

    Great story. Having originally been a Healey man, inherited a BJ8 from my brother Charlie when he traded up to an XKE……loved my Healey. Had it for sixteen years and it never failed to get me where I needed to go, although there were some great adventures, including a seventeen hour drive through the Blizzard of 77. Sold it foolishly when I had enough of it being vandalised in my unsecure parking. But that car always brought good people together and nothing sounded better.

    I now have an early 69 TR6…..have been doing a slow restoration on it but it is a pretty good driver now inspite of some dubious mechanics not knowing their job. I like the grunt of the 6, and the styling is fascinating given the heritage of the car…nothing like a mix of British tractor, Italian curve and German clean design. Sounds almost as good as the Healey but wish I had that elbow room. All in all, very similar cars actually to drive, but not many can afford the BJ8 as a daily driver where the 6 is a bargain in comparison.


  7. October 31, 2012 @ 8:15 pm mike

    I bought my first TR6 in 1975 for $200, it was a ’69 that came into the dealership that l was working for as a salesman (Grand prix motors) in Jacksonville, Fl. lt was a rag that came in on the hook at the dealership. l went to the service manger and ask him what was wrong with the car and who owned it. He informed me that it’s owner was a sailor stationed at NAS JAX and that the rearend had teeth broken off the ring gear and needed to be rebuilt. When the owner was contacted and informed of the problem he was told that someone was interested in buying the car. So rather than paying for the repair, he took the $200.00 that l had offered.

    l drove that car for for 4 years then had to sell it due to hard times, but l caught the fever!

    My next one was a ’71 TR6 l bought when l was working for Matheny Imports (Jax Fl). l had to pay more for this one that came in on the hook—$300. lt too was a rag! Told my girlfriend at the time that l would be spending my spare time with another girlfriend name “Lucy” (car was red). Took six months to get it looking good and road worthy. Both doors were kicked in and l was all over the road driving it home because the rack was sliding back and forth. But it ran!

    A couple of years later l bought the third TR6, a ’72 for a parts car, can you believe that l had to pay $600! lt was well worth it over the years, saved me tons in parts!!

    l drove Lucy for 11 years. Drove from Jacksonville to Boca Raton and back several times. Moved to Mobile, Al, then to Jax, then to Chicago ll, back to Jax, and then to Ft. Lauderdale. Rebuilt the car inside and out with the help of friends. Even added triple weber carbs!

    Moved back to Jax in 1987, and had to sell Lucy in ’89. Sad, sad day.

    Update: bought my “LAST” TR6 in ’09. lt’s a ’74 Java green with port of entry A/C with only 42,000 mi. for only $2000. Big problem, it sat for 7 yrs sometimes undercover, sometimes not, 3 blocks off the ocean. Surface rust everwhere!!!

    l finally got around to doing a restoration, it just kelp getting deeper and deeper. Turned into a frame off with everything new going back on. Had to replace lower A frame mounting brackets that were distroyed in a wreck when the 18 yr old owner had no idea what she was driving.

    To sum it up, at a standstill again due to the ecomony.

    This car is going to my son, then hopefully to my grandkids. Can’t you just imagine how cool they will be driving a motorcar that is older than their teachers?
    Hope l’ll be able to finish by this by this summer.


Would you like to share your thoughts?

Please note: technical questions about the above article may go unanswered. Questions related to Moss parts should be emailed to

Your email address will not be published.

© Copyright 2022 Moss Motors, Ltd. All Rights Reserved.