After leaving school I was apprenticed to a large family run Triumph Rover dealership in Fareham, just outside Portsmouth. As it was the late 70's all the latest Triumph and B.L. cars were available for me to work on and learn the skills of motor mechanics and engineering. The TR7, being the newest sports car, was of particular interest to me and I remember the first one I saw, a blue fixed head. When I qualified I could only afford to drive a mini. Later I managed to get an early white fixed head. I was offered a GT6 at the same time but found it to be like the mini; the TR7 being that much more comfortable. It was a bit tired and the engine blew up in the first month but it was the start of a life time with these TR cars. In 1982 I invested my hard earned pennies in a 1981 silver convertible, one of the last to be built. It was a company demonstrator and very low mileage having a factory registration number of OOB 449X. I was offered another number plate from a moped which I transferred to the car and it became HOT 100X .At a car show I happened to see a sectioned static display TR7 engine which was heavily chromed so I transferred that idea to the car. I enjoyed showing this car at many concours events.
In 1988, having moved to a Honda Dealership in Portsmouth, I was getting the urge for a V8. I decided it was time for a change and found a genuine ex-factory TR8 a white FHC. HOT 100X was sold to a local club member who still owns it. The TR8 was in a car sales in London and with the help of my then boss's buying skills I became the proud owner of ORW 749W. It was completely original, including catalytic converters, but required a great deal of mechanical work. It drove like a dream even though I had to get used to it being left hand drive. I had lots of fun with it. I was intending to bring the body work up to a high standard but was forced to sell the car to help towards a property purchase. Once again a local club member bought it and he also still owns it.
I was now, for the first time in a long time, without a TR. With the commitment of a mortgage I was sure it would be some time before I owned one again. However, forces in the background were planning and I was told of another white Fixed Head TR8 (later found to be a TR7V8) that had appeared in a newspaper in Bradford. I was persuaded to go and see it and for the right price it could be a long term project or runabout. On a dull rainy winters day we went to see a sad looking car with flat tyres and in need of a lot of attention. The badging and body numbers made it interesting. Using the purchasing skills I had learned from my boss I was able to buy the car. The drive back was an endurance with leaking noisy exhausts and a rag on the dash to catch the copious amount of water coming through the windscreen. This was the start of my long relationship with HOJ 156W.