JOHN & PATTI CLIFFORD'S GARAGE
My infatuation with the TR7 began in late 1975 as a senior in Engineering school. I would see those rather unique “shape of things to come” commercials and ads and I guess they worked their magic. As it finally became clear that I would graduate and I did have a job waiting, I promised myself that my first new car would be a TR7. So I graduated, got married and three months after starting my career, we went to Wagner’s (local Triumph dealer) and test drove one. As soon as I could arrange financing ($6000 was a lot of money back then), we had them find us a British Racing Green, no A/C car. We took delivery on Sept 6, 1976 of ACL030165U. It became one of our daily drivers for 10 years thru all kinds of weather here in Dayton. 68,000 miles later and the rust had eaten significant holes in the sheet metal and drivers-side foot-well. In 1986, it got parked in one of the garage bays of our new house. Then any chances of working on it were swallowed up by the demands of raising the family, owning a house and the post-graduate classes. Our TR7 sat neglected for 11 years. In 1997 a good friend pushed me into getting it running and cleaned up to take to the Dayton British car day. After that over the next 5 years we would get it out to take to a few local car shows but the rust holes really bothered me. On top of that, the suspension and brakes were past the point of needing some attention.
In July of 2002, we started taking some parts off and we didn’t stop until everything, including the paint was removed. Along the way, we made a rotisserie from two Harbor Freight engine stands, found out that a guy we knew in school had a reputable body shop nearby (for painting) and met another MG owner who turned out to be the local welding instructor at the JV school. So we bought or fabricated all the new sheet metal and had it welded on in our garage, put wheels back on it to get it to the body to be painted, which we had done in 2009. Then came the engine rebuild. Everything we put back on the car had to be made like new or replaced. We finally got it back on the road after 12 years of work (and learning lots of things along the way) in 2014. It has the original seats, new interior, 15” Minilite wheels, 5 speed tranny and paint matched to the original British Racing Green that it came with originally. As of the end of 2017, we have put over 5000 miles on it in the last 3 years, with the longest trip to the 2014 VTR in N. Carolina. There Harris Mann (the designer of the car) was the guest of honor and picked our car for his Choice Award out of the 70 other Wedges which attended! I have even run it in the Autocross. So we have now owned this car for 41 years! Miles of Smiles!
John & Patti Clifford