RESTORING AND RUNNING A TRIDENT CLIPPER
Says owner Steve Riley, ‘After buying it in 2001 for £2000, I trailered it home. It was in a really bad way – the engine was seized, the tyres were rotten, even the wheels were rotten. I took the engine out and after a fortnight soaking it in WD-40 it slowly began to turn, so then I stripped it. I removed the body and proceeded to rebuild whatever needed it – the brakes and the suspension were totally rebuilt, but the gearbox and back axle seemed fine – although I later found the axle was bent. I had it back up and running in about a year. A while later I had the interior re-trimmed and the wood refurbished – that was all completed by 2010.
‘The Clipper is fairly straightforward to maintain; I do everything myself. The only real difference from a standard Austin-healey chassis is that at the rear there are outriggers to hold the anti-tramp bars. You have to watch the steering system, because it develops play. You can adjust it to a certain extent until replacement becomes a necessity, but the part is readily available just like the other Austin-healey spares that are required.
‘The Clipper is the sort of car that I always dreamed about and wanted to own; a small car with a big engine. Being based on an Austin-healey, with a stock Ford 289cu engine, it is simple to keep and cheap to maintain. I just love the car; I’ll never part with it.’