So, many months ago, I made a post asking for advice on importing vehicles under the 25 year rule. Well, today, after significant expenditure and many grey hairs, my much-loved Triumph 2000 Estate has joined me in the US.
For those of you that haven’t seen my all-too-frequent posts about it, this car is exceptionally special to me. It was purchased new by my grandfather in 1968, followed them to New Zealand when they emigrated from the UK in the ‘70s, and served as my grandparents’ daily driver for 47 years. My grandmother only stopped driving it recently, reasoning that now she’s in her 80s, she might like something less maintenance-intensive, with modern amenities like an automatic transmission and power steering.
It is the subject of countless family stories, fond memories and adventures. Most importantly though, it was my late grandfather’s pride and joy, and to me, there is nothing that is more symbolic of him than this car. Throughout my life, he owned newer cars as well – I remember an E21 3-series and later, an Audi 80 – but they were always the second-choice car next to the Triumph, and certainly didn’t have the staying power. It’s a real testament to his fastidious care of it that it, a ‘60s era car, has survived nearly a half century of daily use, including a significant amount of boat- and caravan-towing. Admittedly the yearly mileage doesn’t average out to all that much, but 200,000 miles on a car of that era is pretty respectable, and it still feels remarkably fresh.
My plan for the car is to ‘conserve’ it and just enjoy it as it is. It would be a solid candidate for a full restoration, but to do so would erase so much of the patina and character that the car has acquired over the years. Sure, there’s some rust that will need seeing to, but in my eyes, the faded carpet, worn leather and sun-cracked paint all add to the car, rather than detract from it. It shows all the signs of having been used and enjoyed during its life, and to turn it into a concours garage-queen would be completely missing the point. Far better it continue to be used and enjoyed as a ‘living’ tribute to my grandfather.