Tri­umph 2500 PI

The mighty Tri­umph’s fu­ture hangs in the bal­ance…

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - THIS WEEK - MIKE LE CAPLAIN PRO­DUC­TION EDITOR

OWNED SINCE De­cem­ber 2017 MILEAGE SINCE LAST RE­PORT Not much TO­TAL MILEAGE 69,174 LAT­EST COSTS £Pend­ing ’I re­versed it out onto the road, hauled on the wheel and… it was no bet­ter’

Iwon’t of­ten get up at 8am on a Satur­day for any­one or any­thing, but get­ting the PI’s sticky steer­ing at­tended to was of paramount im­por­tance if I was ever go­ing to get it back on the road. And I reck­oned that it would get to the garage just around the corner from our new home with­out any dra­mas.

Get­ting it started from cold can be a bit in­volved – it al­most al­ways fires af­ter a cou­ple of churns on the starter, but is of­ten re­luc­tant to idle smoothly un­til it’s warmed through – but on this oc­ca­sion, it set­tled im­me­di­ately to a con­tended sewing ma­chine thrum.

Im­pressed, I slot­ted the gear shifter into re­verse, waited for the usual small lurch and then took my foot off the brake pedal, ready to thread it out of its rest­ing place next to my MGF. Only, it just sat there. Frown­ing, I dou­blechecked that the hand­brake was off (I al­ways leave the hand­brake off on my old cars) and dis­cov­ered that it was in­deed stuck – in the down po­si­tion. Cu­ri­ouser and cu­ri­ouser.

Back into park, then back into re­verse and a bit more gas. The revs climbed and the car rose on its rear sus­pen­sion, but still no dice in terms of ac­tual move­ment. Oh, for heaven’s sake – my garage ap­point­ment was less than ten min­utes away, and the brakes were stuck on.

The usual course of ac­tion in this sit­u­a­tion is to gen­tly rock the car back and forth on the clutch un­til they re­lease, but my prob­lems here were two-fold – for one thing, it’s an auto, so I had less con­trol, and for an­other, if the brakes sud­denly let go, I’d clob­ber ei­ther the wooden post di­rectly in front of me, or the other one di­rectly be­hind me.

And then the low fuel light started to flicker, just to add to the gen­eral fun and mer­ri­ment.

It fi­nally let go – gen­tly, thank good­ness – af­ter a cou­ple of min­utes, and I gin­gerly made my way to the garage, where I got it up on a ramp and let the me­chanic do his thing with the steer­ing grease nip­ple. I then re­versed it out on to the road, hauled on the wheel and… it was no bet­ter.

If that wasn’t bad enough, one par­tic­u­larly Her­culean haul on the steer­ing wheel caused the whole col­umn to sud­denly flop into my lap. I sat there in shocked dis­be­lief for a few sec­onds be­fore closer in­spec­tion re­vealed that a hith­erto undis­cov­ered metal steer­ing col­umn ad­juster had some­how worked its way loose.

I’ll be hon­est, though – this was the straw that fi­nally broke the camel’s back. I like the car – I re­ally do – but I think it’s prob­a­bly bet­ter suited to some­one with more time, money and ex­per­tise than me. The fact that I’ve owned it for five months and driven it pre­cisely twice strongly sug­gests that some­one, some­where is try­ing to tell me some­thing.

Hall’s Garage in Mor­ton has since fixed what turned out to be worn/ seized steer­ing col­umn UJs, so I think now might be the time for MGU and me to go our sep­a­rate ways while the re­la­tion­ship is still am­i­ca­ble.

There’s still a Tri­umph 2000 or Rover P6 in my fu­ture, but I think I’ll be get­ting my clas­sic car kicks from a pair of MG sports cars for now.

Could the PI’s sticky helm sig­nal its de­par­ture to pas­tures new? Mys­te­ri­ous lever turns out to be the re­lease mech­a­nism for the rakead­justable steer­ing col­umn.

Locked and loaded and ready for an­other trip to the garage.

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