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Re: vin numbers

To:, triumphs@Autox.Team.Net
Subject: Re: vin numbers
Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 10:24:20 -0500 (EST)
In a message dated 97-11-28 04:10:40 EST, writes:

<< The VIN is CT37301.
 The title an ID plate match that #. Problem is the # is for a 64 TR4. The
 frame is an IRS. Body is a 4A. Trunk and hood is a 4. WHAT THE HELL DO I
 HERE? I think someone built a car from parts but it IS a Legally titled
 vehicle. The big question is should I bother putting any real money into
 car and whats the most this car (renovated,repainted,running very well)
 be worth. How bad has this number thing hurt me. I paid $1000 for the car
 have another $2000 into it.  >>

How your car got this VIN/model year assignment is an interesting question.
Given that this VIN indicates one of the last TR4s made before the 4A
production one could speculate about the possibility that the car is actually
factory original.  According to the Triumph historians I read, the factory
thought little before mixing and matching parts between some models,
especially over that time period when an old model was going out and a new
model was coming in and the parts interchanged were simple bolt on swaps.
 Waste not want not I guess.  Maybe you tub was damaged and set aside for
repairs, then when it got back to the production line it was dropped onto the
next frame in line, which happened to be an IRS.  Maybe it was a prototype?
You might get a BMIHT build record just to see what it records out of the

The other possibility which occurs is that it is a tribute to the passion of
the owners and the history of the marque.  Over the years enthusiasts have
clearly gone to all kinds of extremes to keep the cars on the road. The easy
interchangeability of  mechanical parts between the entire 4 cylinder
production resulted in all kinds of combinations over the years.  They worked
and the owner got to keep the car on the road. I have a TR3 with Strombergs
on it. They were on it when I got the car, the car is a marvelous driver so I
have not messed with it.  Why bother.  Switching around body parts is the
same.  I had a front end collision in very early TR2 in the middle 60's,
found a free TR3A front end and put it on, just to keep driving the car.  

However that TR 4  / 4A  got the way it is today is part of the history of
the marque to me and reflects the high levels of motivation and deep feelings
developed by owners over the years.  Lesser cars would have been sent to the
knacker man.   When I sometimes read descriptions of earlier repairs and
 earlier owners as DPO I just smile.  It's easy to describe a 'creative'
solution to a repair as a bodged job when all the new parts are a phone call
away, but there was a time period when you fixed em with what you could find
just so you could drive the car. The car might not be worth $200 on the
market, who could put in $300 in new parts even when you could get them?   We
used to be pretty proud of these creative solutions, maybe that's what you've
got. If the concourse guys object or poke fun, who cares?   If they are
original mods by period owners that's just as much a part of the history fo
the marque as factory original to some.  Even at a car show of TRs you;ll get
more looks than the line of mirror images of the cars all restored to factory
specs . Factory original is nice, but cars wlith period personality are too.

There is a simple rule of thumb for putting money into an old TR.  If you
don't personally enjoy the car don't put any money in it at all. Put as much
money into the car as you care to and don't expect to get it out when you
sell it. Above all drive it and enjoy it.  OOOPS, I just slipped off the soap
box  JMHO
Bob Paul
Corrales NM

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