It’s getting to that time of year when classics are forced into hibernation and Hackett’s Triumph is no exception
Anyone who’s spent significant chunks of time in the UK will be used to the dread that sets in as winter approaches, with the knowledge that there’ll be six months of mostly unbearable weather to be endured and owners of classic cars will put them into forced hibernation, lest they should be
rained on or covered with corrosive salt applied to icy roads.
It’s the exact opposite here and it’s with a heavy heart that I resign myself to my TR6 away for the summer, not to be seen again until the end of October at the earliest. So I’ve been using it as my daily driver whenever possible and, following its extensive surgery, it’s going great guns.
With the cylinder head free from gunge, the carbs having been stripped, cleaned and rebuilt, and the fuel system cleaned, the tappety engine sounds have vanished and the six-cylinder lump of antiquated iron pulls extremely well. The car feels transformed and has not driven better in the three years I’ve owned it than it does now.
And it’s taken me three years to finally work out how to make longer journeys in it more bearable. Because I refuse on principle to put the roof up, a commute from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and back can be deafening. Tyre roar from trucks is the worst culprit and if it’s particularly windy it’s even more unpleasant, to the point that I started to question my own sanity. Why was I putting myself through this, surrounded by vehicles travelling at breakneck speed with wheels and tyres taller than my car? Well, I’m British – what do you expect?
The solution came to me as my two-year old son was rifling through my bedside drawer. Along with my passport, business cards, various adaptors and charging cables, he jettisoned a small packet containing expanding foam earplugs. That was my eureka moment and popping these in has been revelatory, making even the worst conditions bearable. They’re not so effective that they drown out all noises – that would be extremely dangerous – but they reduce the worst rackets to distant rumbles and now I feel like I can really get out there and experience the old timer on some stunning routes through the northern emirates.
The weather, though, is turning far too quickly for my liking. Just a couple of weeks before writing this report, the skies were leaden and there was at least one journey when I actually felt chilly. That’s all over, someone upstairs has flicked the switch and now, when sat at traffic lights, I can feel the ever-expanding bald patch on my head starting to burn. A hat sorts that out but the fact remains that the ambient heat is about to stop play.
It isn’t just that there’s no air conditioning – the summers here are punishing to all manner of this car’s parts but one of the biggest issues is its tiny radiator, which struggles at the best of times to keep the 2.5-litre straight-six cool. It’s been filled with Evans, a waterless coolant with a boiling point far higher than water but even then, I can see the temperature gauge running worryingly high after 20 minutes or so of hard charging.
Then there are the plastics, which are all original, making them 42 years old. The heat makes them brittle and the sun’s rays cause them to discolour. So, all in all, it’s for the car’s good, and mine, to prep it and store it away. Roll on winter.