Early motoring years P3

So, it must be 1981. I’d moved on from a Mini and acquired the first of many Triumph Vitesses. SUT 355H (which still seems to survive according to the DVLA database) was a rough 1969 Mark II saloon, exquisitely finished in red oxide primer with a white roof. These were the days when you could pick one of these 60’s gems up for peanuts.

I don’t have any photos of that particular one, but the ones above show a nice Mark II convertible that I had in 1992 for a while

Anyway, back to the 80’s. SUT was rapidly equipped with a) a CB radio (see previous post) and an overdrive. Then, due to their nut and bolt construction, the roof came off. Driving a saloon with the roof off and without the additional strengthening of the original convertible gave new meaning to scuttle shake, and often a door or two would spring open during spirited cornering, which was a bit less dangerous a task than on a Mark 1 due to the supposed rear suspension redesign.

A rotten rear outrigger didn’t improve the handling, and a propshaft UJ exploding at speed causing the propshaft to flail around dementedly wasn’t quite so much fun, but it did lead directly to an interesting encounter with a young lady that I won’t go into here, so every cloud etc…

As an aside, I went to see a guy in Aylesbury around 1982 to buy a tonneau cover for my convertible. At the time he had an as-new and low mileage late Mark II convertible in Damson in his heated garage, that he was looking to sell. £1500 would have bought it apparently…but a) I thought he was mad, and b) I only had about £150.

Over the next 3 or 4 years I had, I think, at least another 4 of them, possibly more, ranging from an early 1600 saloon through to a couple of Mark II convertibles, but the finest one was a Mark II saloon in black with red interior, minilites, SAH twin-pipe exhaust, and a webasto sunroof. I bought it from a mate locally who’d restored it, and fitted a highly-tuned motor to it. Suffice to say he managed to blow the motor up, and then lost interest. I had a similar one that was falling apart at the seams, but had a good engine, so bought his and, over a weekend, transferred the running gear over to his beautiful shell. It was my pride and joy and I kept it for quite a while before having to sell it in 1985 for the deposit on a house. I was then, for a while, relegated to a Morris Minor for a while, but that’s dull.

Apart from the one in the pictures that I had in 1992, I’ve never had another one, although if a good one came up I’d be interested.

Next time (when I can be bothered) we’ll move onto classic Fords (or at least Fords that are acknowledged classics now, but were just cheap performance cars then)…