Contributed by Scott Shepherd, Clermont
The car belonged to a good friend of my daughters. It showed up in my drive from time to time. Jack had seen me working on my Triumphs and said he would contact me when he was ready to give up the car. A few years later he gave me a call and said that the car was a mess, and the engine would not turn over. He
offered to give me the car knowing I would have it restored. I slipped him 500 dollars and had the car towed home. It was completely worn out, everything you can imagine needed to be replaced.
The Triumph is a 1964 TR4A with a salvage car ID and title. Sometime in the early 70’s a new car was created from wrecked cars found in the builder’s salvage yard, located near Columbia, S.C. We found a brass dash plaque that said, “CUSTOM DESIGNED AND BUILT by Bruce D. Wright”. The custom work was
extensive. The tub was mostly from an early TR4. The front wings (fenders) had the Art Deco turn signal lights from a TR4A. The boot (trunk) had holes for an emblem, identified it as coming from a 1968 TR250. The windscreen was from a more modern TR6 with lever l
ocking handles to latch the convertible top. Functional side air vents were from a Trans Am. A second tear drop on the bonnet (hood) was taken from a second bonnet and welded on. Louvers were stamped on the bonnet similar to those found on American Hot Rods of the period. Finally, what most British car owners wanted in their cars was a drive train from an American car. The builder put in a Chevy 350 from an early Corvette along with a three speed trans including a “quick shift kit” by B&M. To complete the custom work, he installed a Ford 9-inch differential with posi-traction, chopped and narrowed to fit under the smaller car. In order to keep the monster cool, additional small 2-inch vents were inserted into the inner fender wells.
Our goal was to restore the car back to the way the builder customized the car, 70’s style. I asked my best friends if they would restore the car. Fred and Jody had
restored my 68 Triumph TR250 a few years ago. They do beautiful work. When it came to replacing the engine, I decided on a crate motor from Chevy, a 350/290hp deluxe motor. With the Holley 670, it produces 300hp. Car weight is around 2100lbs, so the power to weight ratio is fun.
I call her my Triumph TR350, a British car with Italian styling and American horsepower!