Recently I came across Singer Vehicle Design (likely via UNCRATE) which spurred me to thinking more about my passion for all things cars (and design). The idea of “reimagining” a classic Porsche 911 reminded me of how I truly miss the look and sensations of earlier cars.
To some I’m sure the idea of feeling the road and experiencing the mechanical cacophony of a century old concept of horsepower seems less than nostalgic, if downright tiresome. For me, there’s soul or at least a hint of spirit that goes along with the smells, sounds and sensations created by older sports cars. Occasionally, you’ll find a watered down taste of that raw feeling in newer vehicles, but it’s often muted by the overarching goal of selling cars to the increasingly soulless and insensate public now convinced that GPS navigation and Bluetooth interfaces are the only measurement of what makes a car “cool”.
Joy of Driving
What makes some older cars cool? Is it the fact that it’s not a hybrid or shaped like a jelly bean? In my opinion, it’s that you can tell in an instant that it was meant to be enjoyed. Designed with purpose to be driven, to be experienced. I might even argue that it is the shortcomings, rough edges and lack of creature comforts that forces the driver to get acquainted with the very act of driving. Put down that iPhone, turn off the Sirius radio and skip the Starbucks…just drive for a change. Beyond the raw sensations and pure act of feeling what you’re doing behind the wheel, I would argue that the balance of the experience comes from the sights, sounds and reactions you get from onlookers that round out the joy of driving – especially retro or reimagined cars.
Where Am I Going With This?
Good question. This post is mostly a ramble-fest summary of why I like driving older cars. Ultimately, what I’m trying to say is this…I want to make something like the Singer Porsche. Even better than a reimagining, I’d like to rebirth the soul of the older cars along with reviving a marque we’ve not seen on the road since the 1980s. Specifically, I want to bring back Triumph. What I struggle with now is how to get started on this journey. Lacking any real experience in the car manufacturing business, I’m torn on whether to pursue this with a traditional approach such as design school, etc. Knowing myself as I do, the traditional route seems very unlikely…which is why I’m seriously considering that route, to defy my own nature. I’m not sure what I would gain by disobeying my instincts for improvisation. So here I sit, conflicted and going nowhere.
How to kick start a dream? I’m past age 40 now and the passion of youth is not as vibrant as it once was. Our society makes every effort to squash dreams, trample the soul of the inspired and wear you down with “mature” responsibilities. Maybe that’s the key…conventional wisdom be damned? Perhaps I just need to get pissed off more? Haha. I’m not sure what the impetus will be, but I’m on the verge of letting go – again. I’ve reinvented myself at least a few times in my so-called professional life, so why should I stop now?
My dreams (those when I’m asleep) are now consisting of how to cram a BMW 1 Series drivetrain into a TR6. Taking that dream into a reality may be the first step toward my realization of seeing Triumph revived. As it turns out, BMW is already the trademark holder for the marque. Not only would the BMW powerplant be fitting politically, I can’t think of any better inline 6 today. Not to get deep into the powerplant discussion, but I have long been a fan of the straight 6. In fact, the sound and delivery of power from the inline 6 is one of major attractions I had for the 1972 TR6 I owned in my late teens and early twenties.
Slamming a BMW 6 cylinder and transmission into a TR6 is wrought with challenges, I’m sure. Nevermind the fact that a TR6 is severely hampered by less-than-modern suspension and a body on frame design that would likely be torqued in two by a modern 300HP engine. Therein lies the challenge (and the fun). How to reimagine a modern day Triumph with a German soul…that is a tough one, not to forget the technical challenges of making any harmony of chassis, body and driving dynamics. Oh well, nothing like first hand experience – I guess. So, now, how to get started? Know anyone in Alaska with a machine shop, a free TR6 donor and thousands of hours and dollars to spare?
Until the Next Chapter
I know this blog post is more of a rant, rambling and brain dump with very little substance for most readers…for that, I don’t apologize. This was for me and I’m using it as a prompt to get me moving toward a lifelong dream of being part of building a car. After the TR6, the GT6 and who knows…
Sad, I just noticed my previous “Driven” post was almost 1 year ago. I need to get off my ass.