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FeaturesMe and My Car: Callan Hyde and his Triumph 2000 estate

Me and My Car: Callan Hyde and his Triumph 2000 estate

It wasn’t rough around the edges, it was rotten to the core plug.

Callan Hyde’s Triumph 2000 was in such a state of disrepair when he saved it from a derelict garage even the dipstick had rotted off. Here, he tells Charlotte Vowden what it was like to return it to the road. 

In its heyday the Triumph 2000 estate was heralded as a high-speed load-carrier, but when Callan Hyde acquired his two years ago the only thing it was fit for transporting was the wood worm that had made a home in the dashboard…

“A good looking hearse, thatcertainly one way to describe my 1972 Triumph 2000 estate. The irony is that I saved its life because it was fit for the scrap yard when I bought it in July 2021, it was that bad even the dipstick had rotted off. So far, the most interesting thing its had in the back is parts of a donor car.

The estate had been sat in a garage local to me in Shrewsbury since 1984. Bought new by a gentleman called Alan, who worked at the old town centre Telecom Exchange, it had been his pride and joy until he got Parkinson’s Disease. He parked the Triumph up with blankets over the front end to stop the block from freezing over but water had been leaking through the garage roof, which collapsed, for years.

When I went to look at the car (admittedly I didnt look too closely because Id already decided I was going to buy it) there were shovels on the bonnet because it literally had to be dug out.

Id heard about the Triumph by word-of-mouth before seeing it listed in one of the Triumph 2000 Facebook groups and being a rare estate as well as a Shropshire-registered car with low mileage of around 30,000, I thought I cant let it get away.

I paid a remarkably high amount of money considering its condition, lets just say it was over a thousand, and ended up with a car of two halves; the rear was really clean but the front end was so rusty it nearly fell off. I took it on because a lot of people said it should go in the bin and I wanted to prove that it was redeemable by doing it myself.

The original engine and automatic gearbox were completely full of water so they both got removed and Ive converted it to a 2.5 manual overdrive. The engine in it now is a bored out Triumph TR6 bottom end running an injection upper and 150BHP camshaft fed by twin HS6 carbs as found on the 2500S model. It howls when you give it a bit of steam and ought to pull over a ‘tonne’ once finished.

The biggest hurdle I had was lining everything up as I replaced rotten panels due to British Leylands wonderful manufacturing tolerances and although the parts are out there, they can be hard to find. Anything specific to the big estates, such as trim and panels, can be tricky to locate, but the 2000/2500 range shares the same engine and gearbox, in essence, as the TR6 which makes things easier.

Chris Witor, a Triumph 2000/2500 specialist, has a really good website which supplies nearly everything and theres also a gentleman by the name of Lloyd Reed who is an absolute life saver for panel work and used parts; he very kindly donated both the front floor pans which had to be replaced. To sit in the seats and not have my feet go through the floor was quite a notable moment!

The way Ive customised the front end, with the splitter, yellow lights and black grille, gives it a unique almost muscle car look, which is completely different to how it came from factory, but Ill keep the original brown when I paint it. I think it would be criminal to change it because its part of the history of the car and thankfully the Triumph Sports Six Club does a really good colour match.

Inside, classic Triumph design elements include the curved dashboard with a wooden inlay but when I first tidied up the car I needed a dustpan and brush to sweep it up; as I took the wooden door capping out (with bare hands) I discovered the car was full of wood worm!

With the exception of the seats and rear carpets, what hadnt totally disintegrated had turned to mush. The history file that had been stowed in the fibreboard glove box had become one with the carpet beneath because the damp had caused it to fall away. Even the key in the ignition had rotted in half.

By March 2022 I had the Triumph on the road for its venture to the NEC Restoration Show. It was a Wednesday at six oclock, just as it was getting dark that I took it for its first drive, and it drove like a bag of spanners, but the following day we made it to the NEC, which after spending so long on it, was quite an incredible thing. Im a problem solver, dont get me wrong, but there were instances when matches and a can of petrol were offered towards the car with threats to set the thing on fire!

I had absolutely no interest in cars until I turned 17 when I was overtaken on the motorway by a couple of Spitfires whilst driving my parentsK11 Micra. I promptly threw myself in at the deepest end possible and went on eBay to buy one for myself. Since then classic cars have become a lifestyle; its cars in the morning, cars at lunch, cars in the evening and cars on the weekend. What do I get for Christmas? Car parts. 

Im 21 now and as well as teaching myself mechanics on my own cars over the years – including two Spitfires, a Dolomite, a Triumph 2000 saloon and a Rover Metro 100 – and working in a classic car garage, Ive been to college and completed an IMI vehicle mechanics course. Im also a qualified MIG welder. At the moment Im trying to find a workshop that will take me on full-time. 

The estate is definitely the most challenging project Ive done to date and Ill remember it for the rest of my life; Ive come a long way from being 17 and not having laid a spanner on a car. Its easy to learn when its something youre interested in and it helps that Iquite meticulous in my learning. If you take the time to read the literature and do your research, anyone can have a go at being hands on. The point a lot of people miss is that there was a time when these were the only cars on the road and people were driving them every day so with adequate maintenance theres no reason why the same cant be done today.

Sadly, I didnt get to meet Alan before he passed away and aside from a few coins there wasnt much evidence of him left in the car. I have spoken to a few of his neighbours though, and found other people who remember the car, including several gentlemen who worked with him. Hearing peoples memories of the estate being driven around the town all those years ago makes ownership extra special. I find it fascinating. 

I intend to take the Triumph back to the Telecom Exchange car park where, Ive been told, Alan used to reverse into his designated space at high speed and Ive already shown his neighbours what Ive achieved. They said he would have been pleased to see it back in working order.

It may not be to some peoples taste but if I hadnt invested hundreds of hours in the Triumph, then it would no longer be here. I do feel a responsibility to preserve Alans car but at the same time make it my own; its been saved from going to the scrap yard so itd be a shame for it to end up in that position again.”

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