Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A fourth Tonkin body.

This time last year we (Wayne Tonkin and I) heard from Peter Bird in Brisbane who had acquired what he thought was a Buchanan (sounds familiar).Photos that followed revealed that the body was identical to Wayne's Triden, built and raced in 1957 by Wayne's dad, Ron (well, the body may have come a year later). Ron was the fibreglasser at Elfin and he built himself a fairly attractive sports body for his Triden (a grey HolDEN on a TRIumph 1800 chassis). There must have been moulds as years later an identical car turned up in Murray Bridge (also thought to have been a Buchanan at the time). Immanuel now has that car. Then later, Larry Kavanagh turned up another one which I think has now found its way to Queensland.

Anyway, here's number 4. We're yet to learn its history prior to 1980, but it had a Standard 10 chassis, Zephyr 6 engine with triple SUs and a Moss gearbox. Peter has now owned the car twice. In his own words here's an account of its life between 1980 and 2013.........

I bought the car originally in the early 1980’s when I was a graduate engineer in Mount Isa. My first full time job. I saw it under one of the Barracks (single men’s quarters), asked about it and bought it for $500. In those days it was on the chassis and lots of other parts. It had a Jag gearbox and was “rolling”, very rough but not working. It had a jag manual 4 speed gearbox. I had it for a year or so and did nothing to it what with work, girls, going bush and grog to worry about. Too immature and too many distractions.
I sold it to a bloke who worked in the mobile workshops at MIM and who was a bit of a speedway nut for $100. I’ve been thinking about the car for 30 odd years and now how good it would be to do it up as a retirement project.
I managed to track down the same bloke I sold it to since moving back to Brisbane in the last 8 months. He had moved around the country extensively also. Amazingly, he still had it and yes he would sell it back to me. In dragging it around the country he had scrapped the chassis and some other parts so now what remains is the fibreglass shell and the engine in parts. The gearbox apparently suffered water damage and was shot and therefore scrapped a while ago. Apparently the chassis was a Vanguard of about 1958 vintage and mostly that is in the dump too. I can see on the net a Vanguard Standard 10 which might be the chassis used.
I don’t have a lot of time or money to spare at the moment but would very much like to go historic, even if it is only to use the old Zephyr engine. Now that I have all the body parts I have taken some wheelbase dimensions etc and am doing research on the chassis that it would fit. Looks like an MGA or Triumph would do the job but there may be others like an old Austin also.
A bit of an unusual story of going in a 33 year circle but there you go.

This is Peter's retirement project and last I heard he was gathering bits and looking for a suitable donor chassis (he had an MGA in mind).

Incidentally, when I was still in high school in 1961 I recall being shown Ron's Triden in Albert Ludgate's home garage (Ron and Albert lived fairly near to each other) and remember the sides were created by taking a mould from the sides and doors of a 100/4 Healey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

would think be cheaper to copy the buchanan chassis and adapt the components. fairly simple and would be of era. could always copy mine ,,,,