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Tony Knowlson (VIC) - State Co-ordinator
TR3A 1958 model
- Commission #

Tony & Jenny's TR3A at the Port Macquarie Concours 2007
Tony & Jenny at the Port Macquarie Concours 2007
August run 2007
Tony officiating at Bendigo Concours 2006
The TR at the 2006 Concours at Bendigo.
Swan Hill 2002
Tumut Concours in 1998
This was a UK car - which Tony has owned since 1974. He used it daily in - UK, Holland, Greece & Australia. It still exceeds 100mph on Calder Race Track.
THE INTERNATIONAL TR
Story by Tony Knowlson:

I suppose TR involvement started for me as for many others in UK with a neighbour's son turning up with a TR3A in 1960 when I was 12. It looked & sounded impressive. The interest was rekindled when to my astonishment my flatmate at University traded his BSA Lightning for a TR3A for our last year as students. Completion of the course resulted in a 3 week camping trip in the TR from England via France, Switzerland to Southern Italy followed by a ferry to Greece and through Yugoslavia and Germany. Returning to UK was memorable to say the least - 1000 miles in 22 hours to catch the ferry prior to motorway network across Germany and France was an achievement.

The Morris 1000 seemed a bit tame after this so its days were numbered, a job and regular pay meant the purchase of a TR2 1955 model occurred within six months. The car was typical of £200 TR's in 1970 in UK - plenty of rust and filler, however the SAH 120 bhp engine from a TR4 sealed the deal. I ran this TR for nearly 3 years upgrading? to a TR4. This car had a twisted chassis due to previous accident and was sold on quickly.

A blaze coloured Morris Marina 1300 as a company car rekindled the desire for a sidescreen TR and hence the purchase of my present TR3A in May 1974 for the by then cheap price of £200. Perhaps I should have guessed that buying a TR from a junk shop owner called Midas in Balham, South London would not be an auspicious beginning. However it was Primrose Yellow, except for the white driver's door whose hinge broke as I was going for a test drive. My then wife guessed right - I saw it as a challenge and purchased the vehicle.

The car was at least straight and by UK standards fairly original, if a bit worn out. So a replacement engine was found via Exchange & Mart for £50, where the buyer removes & collects - so a quick trip in the company Renault 4 van with a engine hoist rescued a TR4 engine from a farmyard in Surrey before it disappeared into the mire. The new engine, plus an overdrive gearbox were inserted over a weekend and off I went enjoying open top motoring for the summer.

By the end of autumn the rust was winning the battle. In the UK having extensive holes in the floor in a convertible is not necessarily a disadvantage when it rains, however once a year the MOT (roadworthy) certificate has to be obtained and the rusty floor plus rotten A & B posts meant a fail.

A rebuild over the winter then took place in a single garage at the back of the flat. The car was fairly well in pieces when a job in Holland occurred. Three weeks holiday owing would see the car finished easily before driving it to Holland for the new job. Three days before I left the car was ready to spray with 2 pack and a spray gun hired. The day for spraying was cold, so I did it in the garage with the heater on and was high on the fumes for a couple of days afterwards. The MOT was obtained and I drove to Harwich the next day with the entire trim etc. piled inside the car. A couple of blown hoses led to a sprint to the ferry and then I was the last car on.

The Motel where I was staying had a carpark where the TR was out of place with the Mercedes, BMW's etc. The staff seemed entertained by the funny English car being finished off in their carpark. The failure of the starter motor in the flattest country in the world was also an inconvenience, as bump starting required a degree of foresight. Luckily I was working at the refinery in Rotterdam when the official roadworthy for import of the vehicle was to take place. A Dutch TR6 owner spotted the car, introduced himself and had a friend in the testing station. The test was stringent as it applied to all new cars as well, the sight of the play in the kingpins etc. when viewed on hydraulic plates with strobes, led the tester to pass the car and declare he wouldn't even drive it out of the testing station. He obviously didn't appreciate Triumphs' design parameters.

Obtaining Dutch registration was completed and the winter meant the car was used daily, although temperatures of -10 degrees C with the heater broken and ice on inside and outside of the windscreen made for entertaining commuting. However summer trips to Germany for TR meetings in the Eifel Mountains and trips within Holland made it all worthwhile.

The car was then garaged for a couple of years in UK, whilst a TR5 was purchased and used in Holland and UK. It was then sold for the deposit on a house for £1800. Some money was also spent on rebuilding the suspension and steering box on the TR3A as the play was now serious enough to fail an MOT.

A job in Greece meant the TR was on the move again. However as I was starting immediately, the car had to be shipped and not driven as I had wanted to. Arrangements were made for collection from North Shields, 10 miles from home with delivery to my new home in Athens. I flew to Greece and was met by a fax advising that the only port of collection was Southampton some 250+ miles from my UK home, so transport was arranged and the car was trailered to Southampton.

Delivery in Greece was overdue but when I contacted the shippers was told yes the car had been shipped, but was with a consignment of tractors in Thessalonika, a few hundred kilometres from Athens. All the papers to import the car tax-free were checked by the company 'Mr Fixit' prior to an early morning flight to Thessalonika. Arrival at the shipping agents led to the payment for a Custom's clearance agent to get the car. Three hours later we were in the harbour and there was the TR - intact. Two hours later I was told that no, I couldn't have the car as Thessalonika was not a duty-free port and the car would not be released. The return flight to Athens led to me doubting the parentage of all Greek shippers, customs agents, etc. and my sanity in coming here especially in the airport bus when the downpour happened to deluge my particular seat only. It was not a good day.

The next few days led to a compromise with 'Mr Fixit' and his shipper. If I was to pay enough, I could rent a custom's official for a day and he would accompany me from Thessalonika to Athens. I would then pay his flight back after depositing the car in the Athens custom's pound. This duly happened, but as I spoke no Greek and he no English, the trip depended on a lot of sign language and some quick driving to ensure we arrived before the customs closed. He also didn't appreciate his sidescreen blowing out at 70mph and having to hold it for the rest of the trip - but I was paying.

The car was now in Athens but had to be registered. I now had an understanding that this involved paying the services of a 'registration agent' to plot a course through the beaurocracy of the registration department. A full morning was spent obtaining the plates but at last the car was legal in Greece and what a great place for the TR. The trips to Schinia beach over the mountain roads were memorable and great fun especially blasting by the Ladas etc on the uphill sections. Spares were imported from UK and a couple of tea chests of old/new bits which go with me everywhere provided the essentials to keep the TR going. A transfer to site in Oman and an accident in which an Escort definitely came off worse, led to the car being repaired and resprayed in Greece. However the English guy who had a very smart mini and promised he would do a similar job on the TR, had recently discovered that drugs was a better business and the TR disappeared for a few weeks with the current high class respray as a result when the car was finally found.

The car was then shipped back to UK and garaged before my emigration to Australia resulted in it being put into a container with the windscreen removed and a timber frame protecting it from the rest of the furniture piled on top. Its arrival here in Melbourne has started an easy life and it and its owner get older and wiser together.