Periodically, Macy’s Garage sends along photos of Polly’s progress. A few of these have been and will continue to accompany episodes of Life’s a TRip. It is unlikely that these illustrations will be found interesting to any but gearheads, Triumph enthusiasts, or general LBC fans. Nonetheless, they are a part of my story and Polly’s because to ask why in the hell anyone would invest so much in a car built nearly fifty years ago by a now-defunct manufacturer is a legitimate question. If you have to ask, though, you will never understand the answer.
The length of time that is required for a thorough restoration speaks to my newly-acquired patience. The incredible detail of the work done speaks to the commitment of the crew at Macy’s Garage. Separately from the photographs, I receive invoices from Macy’s for the work that has been completed and illustrated. While most any mechanic or technician can “fix a car,” the attention paid to completing Polly much as she was when she first saw light of day in Coventry, except better, is incredible in its detail. Nothing escapes these guys; good thing, too, because I am a poster child for OCD. I have no doubt that when I see Polly, she will be perfect. Bright frigging yellow, but perfect all the same. It is that thought that has made viewing the photographs of Polly being disassembled easier for me to view.
So, again, why? Other than simple transportation, it is the enjoyment of this car that inspires our TRip. I am not sure why I invited you along. Perhaps I was just being polite, but given that you are coming along, you will have to have some appreciation for Polly and what she means to me. By the way, don’t ask to stop to pee in every town. I will leave you behind.
There are two ways that one invests too much in Little British Cars: Time, money, perhaps both. I have time now that I did not have earlier in my life, but I no longer have anything approaching a proper work space or tools. Even without these limitations, I could never hope to complete Polly’s restoration in sixteen months and working alone. She would be off the road much longer, and would not be as well built and finished. I am getting older and I want to spend as much time with Polly as I am able. Sending Polly to Tipp City seems to be my best option under the circumstances. The mission: Return my Triumph to me as the best damned yellow TR6 on the road; I know that I am not capable of coming remotely close to that goal.
I suppose that this falls short of answering the basic question. I have written before of the emotional and subjective reasons for my decisions. It is time to return to Yokefellow U., to that group of friends. I believe that most of my motivation lies there.
Joe was a Californian, but his home was in San Francisco. There is far less car culture in the City than in Los Angeles. I don’t think that Joe even possessed a driver’s license. He did, though, listen intently to our frequent car debates. Deron was more interested in finding a girlfriend if she was no taller than five feet, four inches.
Keith and I were gearheads. We read and re-read his monthly copies of Car and Driver and discussed many of the tests and reviews. Keith was from New Jersey, so his familiarity with various imported cars was great. My MG had not arrived on campus yet, but there was a GT6 in residence along with an MG A and a well-worn TR3. We made it our business to acquaint ourselves with the owners. When my car came to campus, Keith was my most frequent passenger – for a while. Eventually, Keith brought his own car to school, which solved two problems.
Chris and Polly seemed to regard all cars as transportation. That was fine, as most of our drives were to the Lamp Post or the Purity for a pizza and a pitcher, anyway. If all the group went along, we needed two cars or more. When Ann joined the circle, everything, and I mean everything changed. There were no more arguments about who would be my right seat.
Still, that was not a TR6. In fact, there were no TR6s anywhere as yet. There must be more to my reasoning…
I have written of another TR6 that I owned and sold under protest. The conditions of my life have changed greatly since those days, and it is reasonable to view my acquisition of Polly as my declaration of independence, my finger to the world, or both. I think I will go with both plus the fond memories that driving these totally impractical open British cars evoke.
Separation from Polly has been difficult. Looking forward to the long TRip before us, and knowing that Polly will be the best that she has ever been have given me comfort and some semblance of patience. If I had made any other decision, we would not be making our epic journey, would we?
During this long separation, I have had the opportunity to collect at least some of Polly’s history – her story – to add to those shared earlier. Since Polly is such an important member of our company, as well as for those who love Triumph history, I will share her story with you as far as I know it.
According to the records of the British Motor Industry Historical Trust, Polly was constructed on December 31, 1974 (her build date). She was built in Canley, Coventry, UK as a North American (Canadian) export. She was dispatched from the Royal Edward Dock, Avonmouth, Bristol, UK, aboard the vessel Avon Forest on May 25, 1975. Her Canadian port of entry was Montreal. One would assume that she arrived in Montreal in early June, 1975, and it is there that her story is interrupted for some years. Perhaps she was attempting to disappear without leaving bread crumbs as others have done.
Her story resumes some twenty years later in Toronto. I have attempted to track her through the missing years, thus far without success. My attempts include a VIN (commission, car, or chassis number), through Triumph owners’ clubs, and pictures and brief histories posted on internet sites. I am left with only her immediate previous owner, and I hesitate to intrude upon him, though I have not yet ruled that out.
What I do know is that for the first twenty-odd years of her life, Polly was a Canadian girl, eh? Aside from the harsh winters, that fact may account for Polly’s survival. Salt is not so often applied to Canadian roadways as here in the US. It could also be argued that our neighbors are more careful of their possessions than are we here, where we just use ‘em up and buy another…cars or otherwise. Polly was certainly well-treated by her Canadian owner(s).
In closing, let me ask readers (there are some, yes?), especially if any were familiar with Polly, or a car that might be Polly in the Toronto area between 1975 and 1997, to give us a shout. I have no wish to invade anyone’s privacy. I would like to know only the dealership where Polly was delivered as a new car to her proud new owner.
I hope that helps you to understand why anyone, and I am not the only fool in the world, would spend the time and money to preserve these cars. Now, you have wasted enough time with me for the moment. You need to pack for the TRip. Casual is great, shorts probably better than slacks as there is no air conditioning but 2-80. A bit over three months to launch date…
Time for this episode’s “below the line” pissy content, courtesy of the Grammar Nazi:
For God’s sake, learn how to use personal pronouns correctly even if you slept through junior high English class.
Example: Which is correct?
Here’s your clue: Leave Jim out of the whole thing. The correct answer is B. As to “myself,” it is misused in this instance by those who are not sure of the correct grammar, but do not wish to expose their ignorance. It does, however, expose you as a pretentious jackass.
You can read Episode 1 of Life’s a TRip here.
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