The Tiger 800 XC and Tiger Explorer 1200 are a direct attack on BMW’s F800GS Siegfried and R1200GS Roy, but the Triumphs are capable of standing on their own merits. That raises another question, which big cat to take home? Contributor Neil Johnston puts the two Tigers to the test to find out.
What state has the shortest coastline of any in the US? That would be New Hampshire, with a tiny 13 mile strip of exposure to the Atlantic Ocean to call its own. On a picture perfect summer evening, we snaked our way from cheesy Hampton, boasting gorgeous beaches and surf (think New Jersey Shore, but it’s in New England) to our digs in Portsmouth, a chic small city which many affectionately call a ‘Boston in miniature’. I might disagree, as I find Portsmouth has a character unique to itself. She’s an old port city loaded with charm and charisma.
But I digress. Our car for the trip was an Infiniti G37S four door, bestowed with a six-speed manual. On our trip back to Portsmouth, ocean on our right, with mansions costing millions of dollars on our left, the sights were breathtaking. With windows down, and sunroof open, the music of Jimmy Buffet reflecting our relaxed demeanor, the Infiniti proved to be a fantastic end of summer vacation car.
Yet, soon our road diverged from the coast, where we came upon Brit Bits, a seller and restorer of British cars in Rye, New Hampshire. If I see a row of British sports cars, I must stop, and I did. What a treasure trove of Brit cars. Plenty of MGB’s, Midgets (one had a hardtop with portholes, ala T-Bird), a well worn Jag E-Type, a Morris Minor my wife was smitten with, in addition to other beloved cars in various states of repair. Readers, I hope you enjoy the photo gallery as much I did admiring these cars.
On an unseasonably warm Saint Patrick’s Day I drove my wife and son up to the small town of Portland, Connecticut in our current test car, a 2012 Honda Civic Si coupe. Sure, we enjoyed fine Irish fare at a local pub, but what I really wanted to see was the classic car dealership just down the road, F40 Motorsports. While F40 has a national reputation for buying and selling antique, classic and exotic cars, it has also gained recognition for being the center of the TV series ‘Chasing Classic Cars’.
Sure, I love admiring the shiny exotic cars parked in the showroom-it’s not often I can drive 45 minutes and look at a pair of Ferrari Dino’s, a Lamborghini 400GT and a ’58 Corvette without even moving. While that’s all good fun, I also get great enjoyment on viewing cars that are in a slow state of decomposition, but more on that in a moment. You’ll see pictured above a 1950 Jaguar XK120 fixed head coupe. On returning home that evening and seeing Chasing Classic Car’s Facebook page, it appears the Jag was a barn find that had just been pulled out that day, seeing daylight for the first time in years. The appeared straight, but missing a lot of trim. It should be interesting to follow the car on the show to see its future.
There is an irresistible lure to seek out the abandoned, forgotten cars that are left to the elements at shops like these, and it was with delight I was able to get up close. Check the image gallery below, but what we found varied from the eclectic Lancia and VW Transporter, the classics, including a Rambler and Mustang, and the sad Alfa Romeo Alfetta and Triumph TR-4, the latter seemingly tethered to the earth with weeds. Finally, I did find the shot of a Mercedes-Benz 300E whose roof appears to be getting chewed by the hood of a Jaguar XJ-6 amusing.
I hope all of you had a fun and safe Saint Patrick’s Day. It was a pleasure admiring these cars, and I am thrilled to share them with you. Enjoy.
Regular readers know that I have been a disciple of the Grassroots Motorsports crew for many, many years. You could call them the underdogs of the automotive publishing world. Real car guys who write about real projects and have fun hanging out with their readers. Pretty cool stuff. A few years back, GRM spawned a new mag called Classic Motorsports to which they applied their same laid back style to old cars and vintage racing.
The leader of all this action is Tim Suddard, who got his hands on the original Group 44 Triumph GT-6 a few years back. Not only is this a history laden, championship winning car but promised to make a great project car for Classic Motorsports. Restoration finished just days before the long haul from Florida to California for the Monterey Historics. Following a successful (ie – nothing broken, nothing bent) weekend on track, Tim had the chance to spend some time with non other than TV funny man Jay Leno. Also known as a laid back car guy who loves to talk toys, Leno shows some genuine interest in the historic racer and asks all the right questions.
Best of all, they’ve put it all on video to share with the interwebs. Video after the break.
Regular readers might recognize the name AndreGT6 from his comments here in The Garage. Andre’s post name comes from his mint ’68 Triumph GT6. His pride and joy. Until now that is. Last summer, Andre made the mistake of going to the annual vintage race at The Glen and fell in love with vintage racing. The search was on for a suitable ride. This past weekend, the new toy came home and the poor GT6 has been relegated to the driveway. I have offered to keep an eye on the little coupe, but for some reason Andre isn’t responding!
Given my past with Fiats of the 124 Coupe and Special variety, I am feeling some pangs of jealousy over this nice Spider. I just commented to Mrs. G that this would be the perfect car for us. It is far from being a show winner, but looks perfect from a distance. Not overly fast, so moments of
brilliance stupidity behind the wheel aren’t likely to prove too damaging. Reliable. Mrs G just rolled her eyes. She is used to me coveting every car I come across.
Along with the new car, comes a new web site. 124racer.com may not be fully up and running yet, but Mr. Rousseau has already loaded up tons of pictures of the wee beastie. He has even posted a quick video from the driveway, which you can find after the break.
Regular commenter in The Garage, Andre Rousseau drives the sweet Triumph GT6 in the shot above. He writes about life with an aging Triumph at his website GT6.ca and takes some pretty cool photos to go along with it.
Last weekend, Andre and the feisty coupe visited Ottawa’s Vintage Wings to take some pics of the car with the group’s Supermarine Spitfire XVI. Not only is this aircraft the namesake to the Gt6’s roadster sibling, but they are both audibly stunning. For those who’ve never heard a Spitfire, imaging the Triumph’s straight 6 at full song and then multiply it by 100. You might have a sound close to the Rolls Royce Merlin engine found in the British WW2 fighter.
I’ve already wasted some quality time reading the stories at the Vintage Wings website and I expect I’ll be reading for a while yet. There are stories of each aircraft in action and through restoration. Pilot Tim Leslie has a great tale about learning how to use the ejection seat in the Saber they are restoring that came complete with some quotes that could easily apply to racers and minor sports coaches:
“…every pilot has a bag of luck; and a bag of experience. When you start out you have a full bag of luck. However, one day you will reach into your bag of luck and it will be emptyÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ by then you better damn well have a full bag of experience you can fall back on…”
On our next trip to Canada’s capital, we’ll be sure to visit Vintage Wings. We may even have to invite Andre along for another photo shoot!
Having visited Buffalo, New York several times over the years for dance competitions (our kid, not me in case you weren’t sure), it occurred to us that we had never visiting the Anchor Bar. What is the Anchor Bar you ask? Well, for those of you not versed in the history of chicken wings, the Anchor Bar is storied to be the place where the Buffalo chicken wing was born. We recently saw the place on an episode of Bobby Flay’s Throwdown and thought for sure the place would be worth a visit.
Walking in the lobby, things were looking good. Not only does the place have a genuine ambiance, but it’s a gearhead’s dream, with hundreds of license plates lining the walls and a bunch of motorcycles on display. Beyond the decor however, I have to say the place was underwhelming.