Jim Hickman: Wheels Reader
The Car: 1976 Triumph TR6
What makes my story unique is that I’m the car’s original owner. To put this into perspective, let’s go to the beginning.
It’s 1968 and I’m 17. Amid long hair, school work and protests against the Vietnam War, there’s a pivotal moment: the debut of the Triumph TR6. When I first see a brand-new specimen on Lakeshore Blvd. near the CNE in Toronto, I promise myself that someday I will own one, too.
Now flash forward to 1976 — the final model year for the TR6. In early February, I’ve been dickering for a week with a sales guy at British United Automobiles in downtown T.O. after having scraped together the cash for my purchase. We settle on $9,400, not chump change by any means back then and more than $38,000 today.
What the hell! How did it get to be 2018? Where did 42 years go?
I’m a geezer now, but my TR6 is still the same — except for the mileage. When I bought it, there were just three miles on the odometer. I’ve put the rest on since: 37,770.
Otherwise, it’s the boxy, old-style sports car that I’d coveted in my youth. The 2.5-litre, straight-six engine was powerful in its day, speeding the car from 0-to-100 km/h in just under 10 seconds. With the roar from the exhaust and being so low to the ground, rear-wheel well behind your shoulder, it feels so much faster.
The interior is pretty stark: bucket seats, a wooden dash, tastefully arranged black gauges, plus a radio. But that’s it. This baby’s meant for driving.
And that’s what I’ve been doing since I was 25, although I don’t drive it as frequently (or as hard) nowadays. Both daughters have grown up with the TR6, and for the past few years, their respective spouse and partner have experienced it, too.
With the birth in December of our first grandchild, I’m sure that she, too, will one day find herself in the passenger seat.
After moving to Bracebridge with my wife, Carol, about a year ago, I was pleased to find that Muskoka is filled with owners of classic wheels, as well as plenty of twisting, hilly roads flanked by giant rock outcrops, forests, and lakes. It’s perfect for a leisurely run in the Triumph.
And now my TR6 and I will be featured in Stkshft, a documentary by well-known photographer and videographer Sid Tabak, that will air this summer. It’s about people’s love for their cool cars, with many intriguing vignettes from Canada and the U.S.
To view my three-minute story and see the 1976 TR6 in action, you can visit: sidtabak.com/motion/2
That promise I made to myself a half-century ago? It’s been more than fulfilled.
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