Tag Archives: Minnesota Triumphs Sports Car Club

Spring warmup

Spring is here in Minnesota! And that means it’s time to take the cover off the Triumph, dust it off, and go for a ride.

I did that on Thursday for the monthly meeting of the Minnesota Triumphs.  It was a bit chilly out, but the top on the car kept the worst of the cold out.

When starting the car in the morning (which took a while after sitting all winter), I noticed the starter made a bit of a funny sound.  It almost sounded like the cog that pops out of the starter didn’t fully retract when the starter was disengaged.  At best, it’s nothing.  At worst, it’ll chew up the flywheel.  I’m optimistic everything is fine since the starter was spinning the engine.

And, yes, the battery spent the winter in the basement of the house.  I brought it out Wednesday evening and connected the charger.  I was surprised to see that it was still fairly charged up.

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Wheels & Wings

Here’s a shot of the Spitfire at Wheels & Wings in Osceola, Wis. last weekend (Sept. 10).  There were hundreds (somewhere around 1,000) cars there, along with lots of airplanes and a little air show.

The weather was great, but the sun was a bit harsh after a few hours.

More pictures are online on the Facebooks.

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Too Short, Too Long, And Just Right

Well, it has been decided.  We’re replacing the generator with a new alternator.

The reasons are not insignificant.  Primarily, it means that the battery will be charged continuously, allowing us to drive longer distances (and at night!).  It also means more reliability, and the ability to provide power when the engine isn’t running as fast (so the lights don’t dim when we come to a stop light, for example).  Some in the Triumph Club also suggest having an alternator will make the engine run better since we’ll be providing more electricity to the spark plugs.

I’ve been looking into this for a while and have now begun the project.  My biggest concern is the electrical connection setup.  There are a lot of wires, and I don’t want to get it wrong.

I haven’t been too focused on the actual physical attachment of the alternator — that seems pretty straight-forward, or so I thought.

Naturally, the alternator isn’t the same size as the generator, nor are the mounting bolts in the exact same position.

The bottom attachment is fine.  I have a universal bracket that I can use to mount the bottom of the alternator.

However, the top attachment is another story.  Alternators (and generators) attach to an arm that has a long curved slot, allowing you to position the alternator in the spot where the the belt is tensioned just right.

The original bracket arm is the one on the bottom of the picture on the right.  It’s perfect for the original generator, but it’s far too short for the new alternator.

Paul and I went to an auto parts store and picked up the only universal bracket they had, which is shown at the top of the picture on the right.  Of course, it turned out to be too long — the alternator would be sitting in the wheel well if we tried to make it work.

So I did what any self-respecting do-it-yourselfer would do and I cut the long bracket down to size.

I also drilled a hole in it to create a mounting point.

In fact, in the top picture, you can see the hole and the cut (if you look closely) — I put the two pieces next to each other to show what the original long arm looked like.

I loosely fit the new (shortened) arm into the engine and it looks like it will work.  It does, however, mean that the alternator will need to sit a little higher in the engine than I expected, though I don’t think it will be so high as to interfere with the hood of the car.



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Summer Fun

I’m sorry I haven’t posted anything in a while.  The summer has been hot and busy.  However, we have managed to squeeze a few Triumph road trips into the schedule, which have been nice.

AutoMotorPlex and Winery Tour

Earlier this summer, we took the Spitfire for the longest road trip it has been on since moving to Minnesota.

The day (June 4) started with the Cars & Coffee show at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen, MN.  Wow!  What an experience that was!

First, you have to understand what the AutoMotorPlex is.  It’s a series of garages that people can buy (lease?) to house their precious cars.  Some of these garages are about the size of a normal 2-car garage.  Those are the small units.

Then some are gigantic, with a dozen or more cars stored inside.

Naturally, the garages aren’t cheap, so why not spend a bit of extra money having the space customized with a loft and maybe, perhaps, a 50’s diner motif in side?  These garages bring “Man Cave” to a whole new level.

And then there are the cars!  On the first Saturday of each month (during the summer), many people open their garages to the public, and other car collectors bring their prized iron to show off, too.  The Spitfire was parked between (if I recall correctly) a Pontiac GTO and a ’60s era Mercedes-Benz convertible.  Elsewhere around the AutoMotorPlex were Ferraris, Audi A8s, a couple of DeLoreans, classic old Buicks and even a Messerschmitt.  Between the huge crowd of people, and all the interesting cars that you could get right up close to, the whole thing was a little overwhelming, but fun.

Then we got back in the Spitfire and drove up to a winery near Delano, Minn.  This was an event of several car clubs in the area, and it was a beautiful day (Paul and I actually got a bit sunburned).

The usual smattering of trusty Triumphs, MGs and Austin Healeys were there, but there was also an older Aston Martin and a Morgan +8.

There are lots of pictures online to drool over from the winery tour:

All told, we added about 100 miles to the Spitfire.  Of course, we had the top down the entire way, and by the end of it we were a bit wind blown, but happy.

InterMarque Picnic

Next up for the Spitfire was the InterMarque picnic in late July.  InterMarque is a group that works to organize events among all the different classic car clubs in the Twin Cities and Minnesota.  Once a month (in the summer), the group holds a picnic at Cherokee Park in St. Paul.

The July picnic was hosted by the Minnesota Triumphs (the club to which we belong), so we went to show our support.

The picnic itself was fine.  The food was good.  The conversation was good.  And the cars drew a lot of looks from passers-by.

But the weather was another thing entirely.  Though it was warm and sunny, it was incredibly humid, too.  I think everyone was sweating something fierce and we were all happy to go home and cool off.

Again, lots of pictures are online here.

Royal British Car Show

Most recently (as in last weekend — Aug. 20), we went to the Royal British Car Show (again, at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen).  Actually, Paul couldn’t make it as he was driving home from Fargo that morning.  But the Triumph and I drove out there to take in the show.

Like the previous event at the AutoMotorPlex, there was no shortage of interesting cars.  However, this was a much smaller event, which provided time to really appreciate every car there.

Of course, we were parked in the Triumph section, which had a good showing.  The Jaguar section had more than a dozen cars.  There were also a handful of MGs, Austin-Healeys, a Rolls Royce and a Bentley (oh, and a Riley — talk about your obscure British cars!).

I took a lot of pictures, which are available here.  I even hitched a ride up a scissor-lift thing, from which I snagged a few overhead shots.

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Winery Tour


Lots of Triumphs at the Woodland Hill Winery today.  I’ve counted 17 plus lots of other cool cars.  Several pictures are on the Facebook page.  🙂

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Gratuitous Spitfire Picture

This shot was taken on the way home from this evening’s MN Triumphs club meeting.

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Oh, And The Electrical Issue Isn’t Solved

Sorry, but no.  The Triumph’s battery is still not holding a charge as it’s supposed to.

The extra cord directly from the battery to the engine block does seem to help the voltage numbers, but they’re not high enough to continually charge the battery.

I may be going back to the voltage regulator.  It’s a tricky little device with three adjustable dials.

For what it’s worth, I tried messing with the dials when the electrical issues first popped up, but to no avail.

Perhaps the weak grounding made my adjustments worthless.  That’s the hope at least.

Oh, and there’s a tech session in a couple of weeks with the local Triumph club, where we will be diving into another Spitfire with electrical issues.  I definitely have a lot to learn about the electronics, and that’ll be a great place to start.

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