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That was a year that was..

 

This was the year in which Lyndon Baines Johnson had been sworn in as President of the United States following the assassination of John F. Kennedy (an event which had occurred some 14 months earlier).  The same year Sir Winston Churchill’s funeral took place in London.

Stanley Mathews played in his last 1st division game, and the unmanned lunar space probe Ranger-8 crashed onto the moon.  The USA sent their first 3,500 combat troops to Vietnam and instigates Rolling Thunder (almost 3-years of sustained aerial bombing).  While back home in Alabama - State troops lay mercilessly into a peaceful protest march (known as Bloody Sunday).  Ironically this happened on the Edmund Pettus Bridge which was named after a former Confederate Brigadier General,  and also Grand Wizard of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan.  Following graphic television coverage of that event,  Lyndon Johnson implemented a Bill of Rights for American Negroes.

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Russian Cosmonaut Alexei Leonov leaves his spacecraft for 12 minutes to becomes the first man to walk in space.  ‘My Fair Lady’ wins 8 Academy Awards, and ‘Mary Poppins’ takes five Oscars.   Intelsat-1 communications satellite is deployed - marking a turning point in television, telephone, radio, internet, and military technology.  While down on earth - the Pennine Way is officially opened.

Racing driver Jim Clark wins the Indianapolis 500, and then goes on to win the Formula one championships.  Muhammad Ali knocks out Sonny Liston in a world heavyweight championship rematch, while the Rolling Stones “(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" is released. The Beatles second movie Help!  premieres and they perform the very first ‘stadium concert’ playing before a 55,600 audience at Shea Stadium in New York City.  

 

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Cigarette advertising is banned on British television, and Singapore is expelled from the Federation of Malaysia. And then recognised as a sovereign nation.  After almost two years the Auschwitz War Crimes trials in Frankfurt are concluded. 66 former SS personnel receive life sentences and 15 others receive lesser sentences for their doings.  Bob Dylan releases his influential album ‘Highway 61 Revisited’

Incredibly all of the above happened in the first 8 months of that year ..even before Tom & Jerry or the Thunder-Birds were first aired.!  

 

But then.., around about this same time a small sports car was sold ..to an American working in England.  His name was E. Crawford Morton. And he came from New York State. At that time, he was assigned to work in Britain & Europe for the International Paper Co. of  Ticonderoga, NewYork.  

The year was 1965, and so this particular story starts some 54 years ago.  The car he chose  was British Racing Green with a light tan coloured hood and leather seats. It was the new independent rear suspension Triumph TR4A.  And aside from its Laycock type-A overdrive, and it being a Left hand drive car delivered to a customer in England - it was unexceptional. 

Well that is as ‘unexceptional’ as any gleamingly brand new TR4 sports car might be ..when owned by a wealthy American living in Britain during the swinging sixties.  So, Crawford (as his family liked to call him)  took the car to Standard-Triumph’s authorised specialist tuners ; SAH of Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire ..for a few ‘enhancements’.   

 

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Sid A. Hurrell  (SAH)  had made a name for himself preparing and successfully racing a TR2,  indeed his performance tuning parts were used in Triumph’s work’s cars, with aspects of those carried into subsequent production.  The Triumph TR2 soon made a name for itself in both club and International racing events, in sprints, hill climbs, and in rallying.  SAH had a catalogue of special parts for the Triumph Herald (which made also quite an impact within international rally circles) and Vittesse (competitive in saloon car racing).  Parts were developed for the 1300 and 1500cc Triumphs, the Bond, and for the Triumph 2000 and 2500 models. Naturally each model from TR2 onwards were tuned, tweaked and lightened..  If you're not aware of SAH - they later became Triumph-Tune.     

E. Crawford Morton was a great enthusiast of motor racing and whenever an opportunity arose he would take off to a Grand Prix event ..anywhere across Europe.  Apparently he was not only a spectator but according to his nephew Fletch  “Crawford never raced that TR, but he was a very fast and skilled driver who used all of the cars capabilities on those lovely New York Adirondack roads” 

Clearly a man of discernment who also appreciated the advantages of  lightweight components in racing &/or in a true seat-of-the-pants sport-cars, because one of the things Crawford really wanted of  SAH was a set of their knock-on  JA Pearce magnesium-alloy wheels (Magna alloys).  A set of these make wire wheels, alloys and even the works perforated-steel wheels appear heavyweight and/or fragile.

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This is a TR4,  so not the same car but coincidentally is in the same colours and with magna wheels.

Of course, as the car was to be left with SAH  anyway -  then the engine might also be tuned, an oil temperature gauge, cooler, and filter fitted.  A Girling ‘brake booster’ and addition driving lamps were also fitted.   It is believed the engine received a Stage-1 tune : for fast road use.  In petrol-head terms that’s raising the TR4A's standard 104bhp to a modest 135bhp - without loosing around town low rev’s driveability.  What’s that 30% more power ?

This was achieved mainly through camshaft and cylinder-head re-work, carb jetting and filters, ignition electrics, and the standard exhaust manifold being swapped out for SAH’s four branch extractor pipes.  It is probable that the engine was also balanced for endurance ..to survive his high-speed jaunts to GP events across Europe.

What's certain is that the wheels and tyres selected to transmit this performance potential to the tarmac were of wide profile.  And, for road use throughout Europe, that meant the wheel-arches needed extending.  Remember we’re talking about a brand new car here.  Incredible as it might seem nowadays - Crawford had SAH replace the TR4’s four wings with fibreglass ones.  These not only had extended wheel arch brows but I understand saved about 15lb in weight ..off each panel. 

That weight saving may not seem very much, but from a standing start in a quarter-mile acceleration run ; a 30lb weight saving would equate to 0.1 seconds difference. Again seemingly not worth the effort, but.. with two otherwise identical cars side by side - the lighter one would be 12-foot in front.!  And aside from aiding acceleration - such weight saving at the extremities also help to centralise the car’s mass for crisper handling. 

These Triumphs aren’t a heavy car anyway,  the weight distribution is also pretty good on the 4-cyclinder model,  and then of course the C of G is very low too.   With IRS and a 30%  increase in power, and also factoring considerable weight saving in having magnesium-alloy wheels,  and a little tweaking of the suspension parts, then we’re beginning to talk about a road car that not only performed exceptionally well but also handled better than most any other on the road at that time.   Jaguars and Astons would have had much more power but a lightweight TR  might well take the inside track ..and be whole lot more fun as well.

Anyway, I’m rambling..   not least because much of this SAH special equipment has been lost to the financial needs of the car’s more recent owner. 

 

Unfortunately this car’s history, subsequent to Crawford,  is at present a little vague - except that there were three further owners, and what we might gather from a bumper sticker, believed to be a pass to a military installation - dated 1982.   So let's fast forward to  June 1998  when the present owner - a Mr. Raymond Lucas Hatfield of  Little Rock, Arkansas  bought this very same TR4A.    " I rescued the car from what was basically a junkyard - a garage that had many old cars abandoned behind it.  My wife said the I was giving it a 'second chance' at being used, and the name stuck ".   Apparently it had been there as junk for years. 

Mr. Crawford passed away before I bought the car, but apparently he told the second owner that he had rallied the car in England for several years before returning to the United States, bringing the car with him.  There is evidence on the car that it had been driven hard at some point and suffered some damage ; dents to the frame, some holes and dents in the body.

 I spoke to the second owner, who states he only drove it on the road until about 1980 when he started tearing it apart to rebuild it.  The rebuild stalled and he finally sold it to the individual I bought it from in 1991.   There it sat until 1998 when I bought it "

The car was bought and so collected from Birmingham, Alabama  (some 375 miles away from Little Rock, Arkansas).   Unfortunately on the way home, with the car on a tow dolly - it dropped off its rear right wheel.   While loading the TR on the dolly,  I noticed that the 'spinner' was missing off the right rear wheel, but thought it of no consequence since I  (and the seller)  were under the impression that these were bolt-on wheels.  In all fairness, I do not recall seeing any part of the spindle showing on that rim to clue any of us to the fact that it was a knock off wheel.

…    I'm quite sure that all of you know what happened now. I made it from Birmingham, AL to about 50 miles from my home in Arkansas before that wheel came off. As it came off, it tore the fiberglass rear fender off.  Fortunately, that was the extent of the damage to the TR, but now I am stuck with the car on the side of the freeway in the middle of the night! "

 

Raymond in his forum posts and in correspondence with myself tells us that the "engine was seized up from being parked in a junkyard for 10 years".   In due course the motor was removed from the car and stripped down,  with the offending piston released from its bore ..courtesy of a big hammer smashing the cylinder liner.

On the four banger TR’s these are wet sleeve (dry on the six cylinder), and rather than simply replace the liners, the owner acquired another short-block TR4 motor.  But in his heart of hearts - he hankered for a Triumph TR5 with its smoother and more powerful six cylinder sea anchor.  And so is found investigated, on American brit-car forums, the options of a more powerful engine to drop into Chance.  

V8’s as well as straight-six Toyota and the 2.8 ltr BMW motors were each considered for  “a sleeper Vette killer”.  At the same time he was also considering selling the overdrive transmission in favour of a modern five-speed box.,  but after much deliberation he opted to buy a six-cylinder TR6’s engine.  In the same transaction came a TR6 chassis - which still appears to be in good shape.  The replacement 4-cylinder short-block was sold on, and the original engine remained in bits.

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Over the past, almost 21 years of present ownership, the car’s  Second Chance  hasn’t yet come to realisation.  The front brake callipers have I’m told been swapped out for Toyota four-pot items, and the rear suspension has modern shock absorbers in place of the original Armstrong lever arm types.   Raymond  has his own TR enthusiast website which recall some of this car's history (last updated  c.2005 ).   Unfortunately  there is not one photo of the car nor any part of it.   

Below is a recent photo from the for sale advert to which I replied.  

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The exceptionally lightweight and strong knock-off Magna wheels were sold for $800, to an English guy in 2003.  And bolt-on Mustang Bullitt (c.2001 model) aluminium alloys fitted instead. The Englishman who bought the wheels was a Mr. Roger Butt “who then restarted the company and made new wheels on the same pattern. The company he worked for (Rotex Developments) had a factory/warehouse here in Arkansas 

Tidbit : Roger Butt was Company Secretary to Osprey Marine Ltd between February ‘94 and March 1998.  He was appointed Director of Rotex Developments Ltd (Company status : Dissolved ) in August ‘05,  and again appointed Director of J.A. Pearce Engineering Ltd  (Company status : Dissolvedin 2012.   The latter is of course the same name as having originally made racing and sports wheels.

 

The car has been stripped out of its interior.  I’m told the original leather seats didn’t withstand being out in the elements ..so they have gone in favour of a pair of high-back Mazda Maida seats, not yet fitted. The dashboard timber, light-tan door cards and carpet set have been replaced, but again not refitted.  The black steering wheel looks like an SAH one (it’s leather rimmed with slotted aluminium spokes). And little niceties like the SAH embossed ashtray and the engine’s SAH cast-alloy rocker-cover have also gone, as has the car’s oil cooler, temp gauge setup, and quick change filter. Non have been replaced.  

 

 

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The fuel tank  and under-bonnet space are also stripped out, but most of those parts are with the car,  albeit in unknown condition after having been stored for the past 21 years,  plus another 10 years " parked in a junkyard".

From what I can see in photos and has been discussed in email correspondence with Raymond, around the bulkhead’s battery tray is rusted,  as is the lower forward edge of the boot floor and spare wheel well.  These have in part been patched by one of the interim owners,  as has one sill.  Both sills have holes to their inside rear corners, and the floors show sign of nature’s aeration.  The paintwork is scruffy, apparently looking better in the photos than in life.  And the bumpers, like pretty much everything else, are off the car and have seen brighter days.  Most probably there are numerous minor bits missing or beyond repair,  but as an optimist - I’ll presume 90% of the car is there and might be reusable,  if enough time and money is spent in their recondition. 

Oh btw.,  the car is still in Arkansas, which in case you are unaware is 450 miles sorta north of Huston, Texas and similarly from New Orleans.  This being west across state from Memphis Tennessee  ..so not exactly close to any coastline or shipping port.    So, as a largely dismantled non-runner, the overland transport and shipping freight is going to cost £-thousands.   However, even factoring in the transport cost - this TR4A is as cheap as I could find (..cheap is a relative term !).  And unlike most cars from the States ;  it does has an interesting history.  Although not at this time paper-documented ;  the (three remaining) flared grp wings and other remaining SAH parts, as well as email correspondence from the nephew do confirm the story.   Accordingly,  a week last Friday I put a bid on it.  And then I had a counter offer, which I accepted on condition that he’ll prepare and pack the car (together with the 'spare' chassis)  for transport (my proposal below) .   Last Monday evening I received an affirmative response.  

517087242_chassisontopofcar02ds.jpg.3412df5aedf8038b1325bb8c45e37c90.jpgNo, I promise to NOT paint this TR4 red.!

So there we are,  I have to sell a motorcycle or two and my Ami-super  but.,  despite it being ridiculously too small a car for someone as old, or tall and broad as myself (6’-5” with the accumulative effects of gravity for 60++ years) - it is what I hanker for.  And if I don’t do it now then I don’t suppose I’ll ever have the chance  again.     

I hope my reckless abandonment of any last remnant of common-sense ..and the consequential issues I’ll have to deal with over the next couple of years will of some passing amusement to you all.

In the meantime - my thanks to the Suffolk section of the TSSC who again made me feel very welcome last Tuesday evening.    

Bfg 

p.s.  As a pushed-into-early-retirement individual (former design engineer) ..this restoration / recommissioning will be on a very tight budget.   As mentioned - I'm also very tall,  so concessions to those factors override any idea of originality.  This will not be a car for the purist as I have no qualms at all in using seats out of a Triumph Herald or else an MG or Austin 7  if they are suitably period styled, available cheaply,  and better accommodate my freak-sized frame.   If anyone chooses to help me out anywhere along the line - then I'd be incredibly grateful - I'm in Suffolk.  Cheers to all !

 

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Ok Colin., I'll keep you informed on one condition too.. that you and others participate. 

;)

Because there's nowt less motivating than my talking to me self !   :huh:

 

Presently I'm looking for bits which I know I'll need  ..such as a rocker cover !   My thinking is that I can most likely find used parts in better condition, more cheaply than I can buy for over here in England.  The seller has agreed to receive these and drop them into the car for sea freight - so then I'll only pay postage cost within the US  and no additional import taxes.   I did however find a set of four TR4 steel-wheels on ebay.co.uk  so have already bought those.   In due course I'll sell the Mustang Bullitt wheels on complete with adapters to fit the TR4 / 4A or TR6. 

Although I specifically wanted the TR4A  ..for its IRS,   I personally prefer the less glitzy look of the early TR4,  so aside from anything I'll be looking for the early TR3A / TR4  style air filters.   Conversely I plan to sell the TR4A's side lights and chrome strip, and most likely a new (solid teak I understand) dashboard panel (LHD),   a brand new carpet set (still in packaging) in the beige colour (sorry I do not know the official name for the colour),  and possibly the door trim pads and other covered boards.   I'm sure there will be other good stuff to be passed on too.  

If anyone has a TR4 / 4A engine (long or short) kicking around in their garage (that in reality they'll never actually restore and use),  then I would consider that as a way to get this car together as quickly as I can.  Remember though I'm on a really tight budget and live in East Anglia (for collection within 150 miles say).          

In the meantime I'm very much on the lookout for overland transport from Arkansas to one of the shipping ports -  ANYONE ?    pleeease !

..and then of course the lowest price I can find for sea freight to Felixstowe or nearabouts  .. ANYONE  consolidating ?  

Bfg   

p.s.  if anyone is interested in post-war vintage but still very everyday usable motorcycles my advert is < here >   B)

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History 101

.  .  .         it's not about things, it is all about the people.

In correspondence with this  Tr4A's  seller Raymond,  I felt he was reluctant to tell me straight what the car's condition was,  where things got lost along the way,  and how things never worked out.    Personally speaking I was disappointed that important aspects of the SAH 'enhancements' which made Chance  a bit special - had been lost to the ravages of time or sold on (recycled-up !)  but I came to accept that.  It's all part of this particular car's history.  

I wrote to to Raymond to try and explain this,  and also the fact that he himself ; Raymond L. Hatfield was now an inseparable part of that car's history.  And then how their story is of great interest to the car's new owner (right now that'll be me,  but in due course it will be someone else).   I reasoned that times change,  and what we once had was worth almost nothing..  And in line with the culture of the day we start to play around with things like our old cars.   In his case,  some 15 or 20 years ago - he hankered for a TR5.    So when the original engine needed too much time and money spent on it - he decided to go with the straight-six lump.  Thereafter the four-pot engine was kept, but essentially.. dumped in a back corner of the garage. 

Now me being me,  I love the background story - so practically pleaded with him to pass on what he has.   This week I received the first of several email correspondences.  I thought you might enjoy reading it too.. 

Bfg.    

- - -

The following  ..which appears to be in reply to something Raymond posted on his own website,  goes back to 25th August 2006.  

First Contact   .. 

- - -

-----Original Message-----

< F. Veitch >   wrote:

  

I know your SAH tuned TR4A - In fact I drove it The day I was married.!

The car belonged to my uncle, E. Crawford Morten And he purchased it new in England tuned by SAH.  The car was not raced in England, nor while he was the owner. It was a real screamer, I had a stock TR4A-IRS and his ran circles around it.  Original color was BRG, and it had Laycock OD.

I do have some original photos of the vehicle, Both exterior and under the hood.  If you finish the beast and wish to sell it to someone who will care for it as it deserves, please let me know  before putting it on the market.

Additionally if you know the whereabouts of a TR3-A S/N TS53537-LO or know how to see if it still exists, I would love to know where it is. That was my first TR, also owned by Crawford.  I did autocross that one, and it was a world beater!  The fastest damned TR I ever drove, and I have had 5.

Crawford also had  Peerless GT (TR engined) and Herald 1200 (POS).  His daughter Christine Morten Smith also had a Spitfire.  A real TR family!

Regards, Fletch.

> Fletcher P. Veitch III

- - -

-----Original Message-----

From: Raymond

Sent: Monday, July 10, 2006 08:23

To: Fletcher Veitch

Subject: Re: SAH tuned TR4A

 

Hello Fletch,

Thank you for writing me,

I'm glad to find out additional information on my car, do you have any other details that you could share with me?  The stories about it being raced came from the person I bought the car from, and I must admit it bears signs of having been driven hard.  Would it be possible to scan any of the pictures you have of the car and send them to me?

It would be a great bit of history to add to my website.

The car is still BRG at this time, though I am thinking of painting it blue once the restoration is finished.  Still has the Laycock OD.  The interior is being redone in light tan, which should make it much more comfortable during the Arkansas summers.  I did sell the wheels that it had, because I didn't feel I could trust 40 year old mageseium wheels on a daily driver, which is what I plan for the car when it's complete.

I don't know anything about the TR3-A, but you could check the TR registry website (www.trregistry.com), they may have it listed if someone owns it.  Also, you might join the Vintage Triumph Registry's mailing list and make inquires.

It was great hearing from you, and if you have any interesting stories or information concerning Mr. Morten or my TR, I'd love to hear them.

Thanks for writing,

Raymond

- - -

 

< F. Veitch >   wrote:

Ray, I forwarded your email to Chris Smith who is Crawfords daughter.  She may have more information including original purchase stuff.  Crawford never raced it, but he was a very fast and skilled driver who used all of the cars capabilities on those lovely New York Adirondack roads.  He was a fanatic about car care, so if it was damaged or not maintained it was by someone other than him.  When I say fanatic, I mean just that - you had to see it to believe it.  My TR3 which I got from him when it was 7 years of age looked and drove like a new car.

I probably have 2 pictures which I will try and find and scan for you.  The SAH was what the TR4A should have been - My 3 ran circles around my TR4A-IRS untill I ripped out the polution control crap and rejetted the carbs properly.  Milage went back up to 27-28 MPG from about 23.  Performance greatly enhanced.  The 3 still kicked it's ass in an autocross, but that was an exceptional car and it didn't beat it by much.

Best regards - good luck with the restoration.  It doesn't seem like that car has been around over 40 years....

Fletch

- - -

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Raymond

Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006 15:20

To: F. Veitch

Subject: RE: SAH tuned TR4A

 

Hi Fletch,

Thanks for forwarding my email, one of the things I find fascinating about the car is the history - even with all the missing pieces.  I really appreciate you helping to fill in the blanks.

One thing I am very curious about the story about how Mr. Morten went to England  and purchased the car, including getting the tuning from SAH.  My guess was that he was in the service at the time, but it would be great to know what actually happened.

 

I guess it's my turn to fill in the history after that, according to what I've been able to find out :

Mr Morten sold the car to Ronnie Van Zuphen (sp?) sometime in the '70s.  Ronnie drove it in New York for a number of years (and from your comments apparently abused it quite a bit), Then moved to Tupelo, MS.  He continued to drive it, finally taking it off the road around 1980, disassembling it to restore it.  That restoration effort never took off. 

The car was eventually sold to Russ Hepp of Birmingham, AL about 1995.  Russ stored the car uncovered behind his restoration shop and never touched it, where it deteriorated quite a bit.  I came along in 1999 and bought all the bits and pieces and brought them home.

It's been a slow, agonizing process trying to resurrect the car, but I'm getting closer all the time to the day when it'll run again.  At least now it's stored out of the weather and not deteriorating any more.  I hope to have it running again by this coming spring.

Thanks again for writing

Raymond

- - -

 

- - - - - Message - - - - -

From: F. Veitch

To: Raymond

Sent: Tuesday, July 11, 2006, 2:22:46 PM PDT

Subject: RE: SAH tuned TR4A

 

Ray, the SAH was a follow up to my TR3.  Let me put things in sequence.

Crawford was in the service - he was a Marine on Tinian during WW2 with the first Marine radar fielded.  C came from a long line of military officers and West Point grads, his G/father being the longest continuously serving combat officer in the AUSA when he retired. 

He fought in every war from the opening skirmished of the Civil war through the end, was appointed to West Point, served in Texas and the Arizona territory and the indian wars under Gen Crooke and later in China, the Phillipeans and San Juan PR (Puerto Rico) .  He was the combat officer (Br.Gen) who actually led the troops up San Juan hill after their CO was wounded and was unable to continue. (Note, there is no mention of TR there - we have the original transfer of command signed by all parties including TR. (Theodore Roosevelt  )

His son retired a Col in the quartermaster corps.  With this for a recent military history, you know Crawford was pushed into the Point where he ended flunking out to marry Christine's Mom.  He ended up at Parris Island (South Carolina)  as a DI (Drill Instructor)  and then in the Pacific. 

He always loved performance cars and the Triumph string began with a Peerless GT, TR-3, Herald (side car) TR4A (SAH) and then a string of Mercedes.  He worked for International Paper Co in Ticonderoga NY.  He followed racing avidly, used to go to Europe to watch the GPs, and on one of these trips he picked the TR up, having ordered it prior to leaving.

Keep me posted

Fletch

- - -

 

So there we have it.  First Contact,  where the car was ordered,  Chance's  First owner and even an obtuse link to the American Presidency,  plus second & third owners,  and then Raymond..  the present custodian and now seller..   The pieces of its history are coming together !  And is possibly more complete than the car is itself !

Bfg ;)

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History 101 - part 2 follow up correspondence

.  .  .         it's not about things, it is all about the people.

Bfg.    

- - -

Sent:  Sunday, October 1, 2006, 9:55:58 AM PDT
Subject: Emmett Crawford Morten

Recently I heard from Fletcher Veitch (..the Nephew- that you have my father-in-laws TR4. You can not believe how happy I am to know that the car is still around. In fact, a bunch of us here in Ticonderoga are thrilled.  Fletch mentioned that you would like to know a little about Crawford. I could go on forever if you were here but you are not so I’ll just jot down some quick thoughts.

After quitting West Point and getting married, Crawford moved to Ticonderoga and decided to buy a sports car. After much research he decided on a Peerless. It wasn’t too long when he discovered that the English had not mastered fiberglass and his cars had to always look good, so he made a deal for the dealer to take the car back and give him a TR3. LOADED. He loved it, so a bit later he sold it to his nephew Fletch, ordered a TR4 out of Rutland, Vt. (Russ Smith Auto), had it shipped to SAH, blue printed, and he flew to England to pick it up. He drove it around to a couple Formula One races and sent it back home.

 

Let me describe Crawford…..

Crawford was a big man, wicked smart, eccentric, and when he spoke, you listened. He loved cars, guns, wines, gourmet cooking, astronomy, and reading. He hated improper English but some four letters were quite OK. I am sure I am missing other hobbies of his.

He was the 1955 US Muzzle Loading Pistol Champion.

During the 1950’s and 60’s, he was know at Watkins Glen for his reciting of poems, songs and jokes. 

When the British told him that a carb did not fit his Land Rover, he went to his shop and milled a plate that made it fit.

His Grandfather led the charge over San Juan Hill, not Roosevelt . It is a fact.

Morten Salt ! Sterling Salt ! His relatives.

Around Christmas he would drive his Land Rover to Md. , load the back with oysters and seaweed. I would get a call when he got back and we would deliver oysters to friends and relatives. They knew that they had to serve us a good wine or a single malt scotch. I could be made happy with a cheap beer but Crawford educated me differently.

After Crawford’s funeral, we all went out to his farmhouse and had a party in his honor.  Many people, many drinks, and many many Crawford stories.

My wife is looking for pictures of the TR and her father for you but I got anxious.  We will keep in touch. AND thank you.

Terry Smith

- - -

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..see I'm not the only one to have old number plates hanging in their garage. !! 

 

History 101 - Part 3      And the latest news from Raymond we have is this little gem..  

      Ah, Here's one I was really looking for - the original plate on the nephew's wall
      Raymond
- - - 
 
----- Forwarded Message -----
From: Smith,T
To: "Raymond
Sent: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, 10:03:37 AM CST
Subject: garage wall
 

Hi Raymond ,

I am pleased you enjoyed the snapshots of the TR. Attached is a shot of the wall just above my work bench.

My wife is a collector. Big into family and local history.

Terry

- - -

 

My reply to Raymond :


Raymond - that's brilliant - Chance's original registration number : DWK 741C

I'm not sure it is possible to get the same number back on the car,  but I'll make some enquiries as I have just checked on the department of transport website and that number doesn't seem to have been otherwise allocated to another vehicle.   It is possible in some instances to buy registration numbers in this country through specialist agents but I've no experience of doing that.  And a number like that would probably cost about $250 plus the registration fee.   So it's a lot of money for a number ..but it might be nice !

I can also check with the TR register to see if anyone has any record of this car.  Again it's unlikely because those who now own TR's weren't driving in 1965 !   ..but it is a good place to start.   If the car had been raced or rallied then there might have been a record, but from what I read in your emails that doesn't seem to have been the case with Crawford's Tr4.     Might I ask,  did you every get an authorised dating certificate for the car.?

As I'm sure you are aware ; the registration numbers signify where and when the car was first registered for road use in this country (not where or when it was made).  The suffix letter 'C' is for the year 1965,  and the second and third prefix letters ' WK ' signify the car was originally registered in Coventry.  Canley being a south-western suburb of Coventry, is where the Triumph car factory was until 1980.

From what your prior correspondence said ;  the car was ordered through a US dealership, but it would appear the car was actually collected by Crawford directly from the factory itself.  I wonder if he was privy to a guided tour to see cars being assembled along the line ?

I am enjoying this - THANK YOU.

Peter

- - -

 

from Wikipedia :
Canley is known as the site of the main factory of the Standard Motor Company and was all open farmland before 1916. The initial factory was built around ' Ivy Cottage', near the Canley Train Halt and was first used in 1916 to build First World War fighter aircraft. 'Standard' cars were produced there from 1918 onwards. The factory continued to expand over the site throughout the 1920s and most significantly just before the Second World War when two additional Shadow Factories were added. Production of Standard and Triumph cars continued until car production ceased in August 1980 as part of British Leyland's rationalisation, although the Triumph brand survived until 1984 with the last cars being built at other British Leyland factories.

Triumph-service-departmentb.jpg

Some of the Triumph car factory site was retained as a technical centre until the mid-1990s but was successively demolished thereafter. A commemorative sculpture of the Standard-Triumph badge now stands on the site of the works, on Herald Avenue, close to the Standard Triumph Club, which is now the only remaining building of the industrial complex where thousands of Coventry people once worked."

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^  excellent ! 

Hi Pete's mum  B)

I was thinking a 'comptometer' was the early tape entering of data onto a computer, but then I thought no, not in 1938 !  ..so I looked it up on Goggle, and of course the word is derived from computate, as in adding, subtraction, multiplication and division  ..in short a mechanical calculator..  cool.!   

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i remember two of her Standard stories

 they tried some new fangled automated machines and she was faster 

and with old wiring her metal chair shorted out a cable on  the  floor and shut half the factory down with a power outage

she moved to Luton just before the WW2  

 

Pete

 

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.

Today, I'm back on this.. I really hate admin ..but its got to be done..

1.  Schumacher ; Ian Jeffreys <ian@scluk.org>                 I first wrote on  4th April - no reply.  And again two weeks later - no reply.  So again today : 25th May

2.  Sea Kargo                                                                                     I first wrote on 4th April  - no reply          So again today : 25th May

3.  Ross and Jennifer Lilleker - contact via Jim the transport      I first wrote on  5th May - no reply.   So a reminder today : 25th May

4.  STS   were very quick to reply with    £2,200 for sea-freight if I get the car overland to their depot in North Beach, Florida or (possibly) the same from Huston

 

Today,  Saturday, 25 May  I pulled my digit out and sent details and  requested a quote to the following :

5. Global Container Services Limited  - Chris

6. US-CustomerService@Cevalogistics.com -  My email bounced back saying emails for quotes will not be forwarded.  So I sent it to their UK office . .

7.  SH-NE-UK-info.uk@Cevalogistics.com

8.  info@kingstownshipping.co.uk  -

9.  rstrohecker@cfrrinkens.com          - recommended by Ken (TSSC)

 

I also filled in a quick 60-second Auto quote from

10. www.autocarshippers.com  - 60 second quote auto reply was ..they will contact me within 24 hrs. !

 

I'll let you know how I get on.

Pete.

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Someone has recommended Hillshipping, so I've also asked them for a price.  

 

And...... 

Yesterday, Sunday I've got a sensible quote back from CFR Rinkens

$595.00: Trucking the vehicle from Little Rock, AR to our terminal in Houston, TX.  That's about 450 miles

plus

$1,225.00: Shipment from our terminal in Houston, TX to port Felixstowe, United Kingdom via shared container and our revolutionary steel loading system. That's about 6100 nautical miles  (about 7000 miles). 

plus

optional insurance @ 2% of the replacement cost.

plus

" Payable to our Agent at the Destination:

Handling charges and port fees : 380£
Customs Clearance Included
Import taxes and duties:
       a. Anything less than 30 years old – 10% Import Duty – 20% VAT
       b. Anything over 30 years of age – If it meets the criteria can be imported under the historical rate of VAT at 5% and 0% duties

You receive 14 days of free storage at our terminal. After 14 days, you will be charged at a rate of $8.00 per day for storage."

So all in,  about £2000 which is what I had assumed when I bought the car.

I had given them overall dimensions and weight with the spare chassis mounted over the car, but their reply made no mention of it so for the time being I'll assume they just accepted my word that it will be securely bolted and so handled as a rolling steering car with a long roof rack. 

I can live with that but will of course wait to see what the others prices are.

 

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  • 1 month later...

.

Brilliant.., just absolutely bloody brilliant ! 

I was invited to the Essex branch meeting of the TR register club, held at the Alba pub,  Copford, near Colchester on Thursady evening.  I only knew one gentleman (Rich) there,  but was made as welcome as any old friend might have hoped for.  BIG Thank You to all there.  I'm not sure exactly how many TR's were there but I believe there was a TR2, a TR3A, a few TR4's,  a couple of TR4A's (which is what I'm trying to buy) and then a pair of TR5's, perhaps half a dozen TR6's and just one TR8..

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^ the car sneaking into the photo’s background to the left is not a Triumph. I can't imagine what sort of person drives one of those to a Triumph club meeting.!  OK yes I admit ..it's my Citroen Ami Super.

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^ Two TR5's parked here along the road. And the equally gorgeous red car parked on the grass is a TR4A with Surrey hardtop fitted. When Rich introduced me to the owner, Mike, as being someone who was buying one,  he (Mike) looked up at my broad 6'-5" stature and simply said "you want to try it ?"   Well naturally I assumed he meant to sit in the car for size .. "Thanks ..yes that would be great, I would.”   Then he handed me the keys and said something to the effect of "better take her down the road then" !  ..and set about adjusting the driver’s seat as far back as it would for me.

Well to be honest I had a bit of difficulties getting in. Surprisingly, it wasn't a lack of headroom with the Surrey top on, but it was managing to get my legs and feet in. This car is fitted with Mazda MX5 shallow-bucket seats in leather.  In retrospect ; very comfortable and supportive, but these were limited by the runners not going back as far as they might have been.  The only way it was possible for me to get in was to exaggeratedly twist my knee under and the around the steering wheel ..fortunately a smaller diameter leather-rimmed one with a nice grip, but unfortunately with very shallow dish so it seems tighter to the dashboard. My leg had to fit between the wheel and the gearbox tunnel's H frame bracing ..and then to press the clutch fully to the floor as I lowered myself into the seat.  

There was no room in that car for me to slip my size-twelve brogues around the side of or under any pedal.  I grabbed and pulled my right knee up towards my chest to clear the relatively short sill.  It more easily unfolded again down around the wheel.  Once installed I could barely move.  Conversely, Mike slipped into the passenger seat as easily as if it were his favourite slippers.

My mind zapped with unspoken thoughts of whether it would be possible., let alone responsible for me to even try and drive this immaculate TR4A on a public highway.?  The sole of my right shoe was almost exactly the same width as the gap between the brake pedal and the outside face of foot well (Rhd car).  And to lift my foot off the clutch was to pull my vastus lateralis tight into the corner of H-frame and the dashboard.  Ok, it might just be possible to drive the car ..but what would happen in an emergency situation, would I be able to get a foot onto that brake. ?

I later discovered this car has a USB socket fitted just under the dash where my left leg needed to be.  Mike uses it for a digital ammeter, but for me it looses an inch or two of space into that corner.  My right foot would lift only as far as the pedal was off ..only by ankle movement. Thankfully the throttle movement is relatively short travel.  Still that amount of lift is just sufficient to then slip the foot sideways and across to the brake.

With the seat in that position, the steering wheel was possibly 12 - 14" off the Michelin tyre I wear ..so not exactly a straight-arm driving position for me.  And my right was tight against the padded-roll capping along the top of TR4A doors. I'm not sure Mike appreciated quite how tightly I was installed, but from his perspective I must have seemed like an old cloth sack over-filled with expanding foam. Looking on the bright side of things - I wasn't likely to slide about around corners. !

Here I was face to face with the TR4A's beautiful wooden dashboard and chrome rimmed 5" speedo and rev counter, each situated immediately in front of the driver, with minor instruments clustered central to the car with the black row of switches and ignition below.

With a blip of throttle, the motor burst into life. Two and a quarter litres of 4-cylinder long-stroke, and a slightly sporty camshaft - the orchestra was glorious.  The exhaust a nicely rounded tone, with a powerfully strong and discernible beat. Very nice indeed. 

It's been 25 years since I owned / drove a Triumph TR4 ..and momentarily I forgot about their fly-off handbrake. Nevertheless with that politely corrected I set to ease Mike's immaculate car forward across the grass.  Of course with most of the TRR group gathered immediately behind us ..watching and listening,  with ankle movement only and it being an unfamiliar car.. I stalled it.  

“It likes a few revs” Mike reassured me.  Restarted (..oh I do love the way these engines burst into life) and revs just slightly raised ..the car smoothly eased its way across the grass.  Remarkably controllable, easy and compliant, I followed Mike’s prompt and guided her down to the next driveway.  Very tentatively I poked the car’s long bonnet out into the road so that I  might see around the row of parked cars, and then we were onto the road. 

I looked to where I was to go and depressed the volume control and we were there. No drama just a firm push of acceleration through the comfortable armchair ..and instant transportation. To where I looked from where I was, every straight and every corner, road positioning was faultless.  I wasn’t even thinking, the car just moved itself in an unprecedented manner - reassuring, precise, super quick, fabulous acoustics and yet extraordinarily comfortable. 

I’ve heard the impression “just think and it would take you there” ..but this was a just matter of looking ..without even time to consciously think, and we were conveyed.!  There was no hint of the car’s handling, chassis or rear axle being upset, nor of under or over-steering, nor brakes not doing exactly what they were meant to ..so progressively, despite the road’s undulations, adverse cambers and the sometimes increasingly tightening corners of this tiny little Suffolk back road to nowhere.  This car was utterly exhilarating.   

Now into my sixties, I’ve owned and otherwise driven a number of very nice motorcycles and cars.  In fact as a (very much) younger man I used to design, build and drive very quickly, sport cars with a super low c. of g. and a terrific power-to-weight ratio ..and then I moved on (?) to driving decent production cars. Most memorable / favourites were the 850 Norton Commando (motorcycle),  the 1147cc MkII Spitfire (car),  a 998cc Mini Clubman,  a 3.3ltr 7-series BMW,  a 911 Porsche,  and a few (now classic) Jaguars.  And of course I’m well enough versed with (..what used to be) modern cars of the 90’s and hereafter.  But somewhere along the line I’d lost the joy of driving.  I put this down to restrictive speed limits and traffic, boring motorways, and otherwise sub-conscientiously recognizing that I must have lost the touch in my old age.  But after driving Mike’s TR4A I instantly realized that its the cars which have most changed.  I’m still that same foolish young man inside this greying outer persona.

As a self made businessman I went up-market in the type of car I drove, and as technology and design moved on, the more modern car became so capable and yet so insular that the driver in me was designated passenger doing little more than avoiding other users and giving directions.  In truth these modern cars don’t handle and steer so very well as Mike’s 1960’s TR.  Indeed their lack of feedback, the roll and easily induced tyre squeal, and the vagueness of the steering and unsupportive seats necessitate you back-off to a safe and controllable, sensible place.  In terms of top speed, fuel economy, highway comfort, safety and reliable practicality, ingress and exit - they are a best compromise. But man ! ..they are also nanny state mind-numbingly soul less.

From my admittedly short drive, it seems to me that the TR4A can be all absorbing to drive, as you feel everything but the discomfort of vibration and nasty noises.  But that ‘feel’ is a direct feedback to the driver.  Each and every very slight nudge in the seat of your pants or to your leg, shoulder, or finger tip ..caused by road irregularities or change in direction triggers an instantaneous response of subtle correction to the steering &/or the throttle. There’s no thinking involved it’s purely interactive (although that’s probably too modern a word for it) ..but whatever the word is, there’s a connection to what’s going on at every instant. That’s not easy or relaxed driving, but it sure as hell is FUN.

And the car is not so powerful (..as some I have experienced) which toys with you for control. But still., it’s more than adequate for spirited driving, and it looks after you. It let’s you know what’s happening in a calm and collective manner, to trigger your reflex response. And that’s positively stimulating.

We returned to the Alma (public house) and the car very quietly sauntered across the grass, back to the TR party.  If she were a mare then I think she’d have given a last shake of her mane.  I can barely remember such a great drive.  I want one ..and I want to head out to find many, many miles of still-unspoilt roads. 

Getting out of the car seemed much easier than my getting in. And as I later pointed out to Rich, I was surprised that headroom and visibility were not an issue for me, even though the roof was in place.  First impressions were that the interior of the car was rattle free, pleasantly quiet of mechanical and/or wind noise and very comfortable, although I suspect I would have liked more room if I were to be stuck in a summer-hot traffic jam.   

Massive thanks to Mike for his generously allowing me to experience a superb TR4A from the driver’s seat.  It reaffirms my decision to own one.  Only now I’m a little less patient.!

 

But the story doesn’t end there.. 

Mike suggested I ask Rich if I might possibly sit in his equally gorgeous ’62 TR4, which is fitted with later (slightly deeper padded) seats ..by way of direct comparison of the seating positions and the fact that the roof was down.  Rich was engrossed in conversation but half an hour later cleared a cardboard box out from behind the driver’s seat and invited me to try it.

Phew, I was being blown away by these guys kindness to me.   As I approached the car he handed me the keys.  ..Again I could only have hoped to be allowed to sit in the car, to try it for size, but no, he had placed the box on the passenger seat and encouraged me to take the car for a spin.  WOW !  on my own ?  “without you ?” accompanying me ?  I was anxious.  This was huge responsibility.

I soon settled into the driver’s seat. With its full size steering wheel it was even further a twisted knee to get my leg around the wheel but without a roof I could stand taller and with the seat being slightly further back (perhaps a couple of inches) ..overall ingress was much easier.  Without such things as the aforementioned USB port being fitted to the underside of the dashboard, I had more room to move. Not a lot but still an inch or two when previously there was none feels like liberation !

The right leg was similarly pulled in and unfolded down to the throttle, where I found half an inch clearance between the brake pedal and the side of the footwell - ample !  This seat was only a bit further back than those on Mike’s car but with the seat back's slimmer padding every fraction of an inch helps.  Rich helped with the ignition key (a matter of knowing the technique) and then I started her up. 

What a difference !  ..the audio arrangement peaked to a brief but wonderful crescendo of revs with the sharper tones of a stainless exhaust system. Throttle pickup seemed quicker but in truth I couldn’t say that was fact or just that it sounded so, with the louder tone and it being an open top.  It wasn’t at all offensive a sound track,  just a very different orchestra with more brass rather than bass guitar. 

First impressions of Mike’s TR4A was that the clutch was heavy to operate, but perhaps that was because of my being so tightly confined, because I never noticed it as soon as we were on the road.  Rich’s TR4 didn’t seem so from the outset.  I soon found reverse and eased the car out into the road. Rear visibility wasn’t of course an issue but I was trying to pull out from between parked cars.  Someone kindly stepped out into the road to guide me, again I think that was Mike. Thank you Sir.  And then I was gone.. I had looked 200 yards down the road and I was there, spot on where I wanted to be ..correctly positioned to see further along the road.  It seemed like an instant and the thought crossed my mind that I might have seemed a bit reckless in someone else’s car, so I eased off.  

The feel of this car was different.  No better and no worse than the 4A  just different. Perhaps that was because of it being open, the rasp of the exhaust note and the seemingly faster engine pick-up (both cars have lighten flywheels), or just because I felt more anxious about driving someone else superb-condition TR4 for the first time on my own.

An oncoming car sped around a corner and seemed very much over the middle of the road to me. The leather sleeve over this steering wheel moved a little as I responded, and then the branches of hedgerow trees seemed a little close.  I slowed a little to ‘be sensible’ ..but in truth I was a little too anxious to enjoy this drive as much as I had been with Mike’s quiet reassurance.  

Mike had been chatting as I drove his car, and I gathered by the tone in his voice that he wasn’t terrified.  But now I was driving Rich’s car and if something happened, even if that wasn’t directly my fault, then how the heck might I explain it.?  

Still it was great fun and exhilarating.  Does this car have lighter handling, or was the live rear axle giving a little more feedback on these undulating sometimes adversely cambered unclassified roads ?  Just a degree difference in tracking adjustment &/or a few pound in tyre pressure can make things feel lighter, and of course here I was driving solo, so the weight and its distribution was also slightly different.  My test drive was too short to ascertain what was what. The word, reputedly from the racing boys, is that the TR4 chassis is better when pushed hard.  Perhaps the 4A’s IRS is more forgiving for the novice ..but in skilled hands has lower limits.?  Conversely I might just have felt a bit more vulnerable in an open top.?  Although I ride motorcycles, I’m trying to remember when I last drove an open top car ?  Many years ago it seems.

Certainly Rich’s TR4 was more spacious ..both physically and visually airy (..white dashboard, which I do like, and with a very nice almost Wedgewood blue hue to the upholstery) ..and equally as comfortable as the 4A.  So I relaxed a little and simply enjoyed the drive, the feel, and this engine’s superb response.  I felt an instant rapport with Mike’s 4A but perhaps the TR4 takes a little more getting used, or was it that by now I was just thinking too much and felt someone else’s car in such exemplary condition was too precious to really enjoy ?  

I returned in a civilized manner and easily turned in to park.  The engine ticked over beautifully before I switched off.  The handbrake lever in the foot well was (again surprisingly) not an issue for my long legs, and its operation felt perfectly natural to me. I lifted myself out of the car with ease.  With the seat runners just another 2” or 3" further back then I don’t think I’ll have issues with living with a TR, but the full-size banjo steering wheel, even though I prefer its look - feels less responsive to drive with. Though it is easier for parking-speed tight maneuvers.

All in all - each car is BLOODY FANTASTIC !  ..no doubt it is the car I want.  I’m of a freakish size but even with inappropriately wide shoes and restrictive seat runner positions I can drive these cars safely and have more fun than I’ve had (when driving) for very many years.

As and when I get my car (..an abandoned-project 4A)  I can make things easier for ingress and getting out :  the size and dish of the steering wheel, the padded capping on the door, the choice of seat and its runners, clearing the underside of the dashboard, the door handles positions, and the pedal spacing., are the most obvious.  All in all the TR is a seat-of-the-pants sports car which is so incredibly capable.  My Jaguars were elegant, comfortable, fast and sublime ..but the TR4 / 4A communicates directly with me ..and is just so much fun.

Massive thanks to both Rich and Mike for letting me experience their fabulous cars in person. My own car will never be as pristine (..nor so precious) as theirs, but I hope it might achieve similar all-round competence as their cars amply demonstrated. 

I'm smitten !

Pete

.

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Thanks Casper,  I really like the Herald.  In fact I found myself looking at an advert for an estate version the other day,  and then I reminded myself - I just don't have the money.  Disappointingly I closed the computer's lid for fear I might drop myself into another intangible position.  It looked so sweet (..and practical ) at just £3k too  ..but I really mustn't even think about it.  :huh:

I'm not used to expressing my feelings, in writing or otherwise,  but firstly I wanted to thank those who were so kind to me, then I wanted to share with other over/under-sized and aging individuals that it is possible to accommodate ourselves in these Triumphs (..Meccano sets can be altered to suit better than most) ..and to have a whole bundle of fun. 

And then of course to share with you all  just how exhilarating it is to find a car which gives just the right amount of feedback and is so responsive.  In my case it's sorta like meeting again someone you lost touch with years ago ..and instantly knowing they will become an inseparable best friend  (not that that has happened but I'd like it to.)

Pete

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  • 1 month later...
On 30/06/2019 at 15:01, Bfg said:

^ the car sneaking into the photo’s background to the left is not a Triumph. I can't imagine what sort of person drives one of those to a Triumph club meeting.!  OK yes I admit ..it's my Citroen Ami Super.

 

Fear not, Pete... back in the early 1990s when my Spitfire was more off-road than on, I went to club meetings and runs in a modern Rover... in the late 1990s with a GT6 Mk3 in bits I went so regularly in a Rover Maestro that I had Triumph badges specially made for it... and now with four Triumphs all in bits I go in a Ford Mondeo. It seems every time I take a Triumph out, I break it...

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  • 2 months later...

..

Ami super has gone to live in New York ..

new-york-traffic1a.thumb.jpg.2e75a69dd103955821a2eec8827f11e3.jpg

The ship departed on the 27th. 

Following a number of silly offers from the UK, and even more people trying to scam me (..clearly we don't even have a police farse any more), and then a couple of guys from the continent who couldn't get their ducks in a row,  the gentleman who is Sales Manager for Bonhams Auction house in New York bought it (..cheaply)..   I guess he ought to know an investment.  Anyone else over here is just looking for 'a steal '.

 

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