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Photo GALLERY: BRITISH CARS AND THE MILITARY

 

I have received a number of emails with photos regarding British cars owned and driven by customers who are or have been in the military.  I had mentioned a conversation I had with a relative at a family party.  He had purchased his TR6 in the 1980s while serving in the U.S. Army in Panama, and he still owns and drives his car today some thirty years later.  I had wondered if it is common for military personnel to own British cars and if it is likely that these people keep their cars over long periods.

Quite a few customers have responded to my request for information about British cars owned by servicemen, and I have compiled brief summaries of a selected list of these which were sent with accompanying photos.  Among these, you will find some snapshots taken years ago along with current photos.  There are photos of cars and people with their cars, and there are a few historic race photos.  Most of the photos and the written summaries were based on personal emails and photos sent to me by enthusiasts themselves.

Two of the entries were sent to me by Bill Lynn of VTR, and these two, Bob Jones and Dan Fowler are guys who raced Triumphs with success in the 1950s, and both are now members of the VTR Hall of Fame.

 
 

Brian Mitchell, Florida
1959 TR3A

•  Purchased from a civilian in the early 1970s while stationed at Charleston AFB in South Carolina

•  Flat towed to New Hampshire and stored for five years outside under plastic.

•  Began restoration in 1980.

•  Flat towed to Florida in 1983 when transferred there.

•  Resumed work in 1984 after recovering from a heart attack, including body off, chassis and drive train restoration. 

•  Photos of white TR3A with red interior taken in 2007.  One taken during restoration.

 

Photo of Brian Mitchell's 1959 TR3A

Brian Mitchell's 1959 TR3A

Photo of Brian Mitchell's 1959 TR3A

Brian Mitchell's 1959 TR3A

Photo of Brian Mitchell's 1959 TR3A body shell

Brian Mitchell's 1959 TR3A During Resoration

 

Roy Owens, Ohio
1964 Spitfire

•  Purchased at RAF Fairford in England in 1982

•  Has reworked every part of the car over the years, and it is still going strong.

•  Ordered small parts from TRF while in England, as it was less expensive than buying them there.

•  Also owns a stable of other Triumphs. 

•  Four photos included

 

Photo of Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire

Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire

Photo of Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire Shell

Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire during restoration

Photo of Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire restoration

Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire during restoration

Photo of Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire finished restoration

Roy Owens's 1964 Spitfire finished restoration

 

Jerald Jacobs, Coastal Georgia
1974 MGB Roadster

•  Purchased at an antique car show while stationed in Germany

•  Took his car when transferred to Heidelberg in Germany and Fort Hood, Fort Belvoir, and Fort Stewart in the U.S.

•  Uses his car as a military chaplain for what he calls “top-down therapy.”

•  Finds it astonishing how comfortable he is in his MGB. 

•  Three photos included

 

Photo of Jerald Jacobs's 1974 MGB Roadster

Jerald Jacobs's 1974 MGB Roadster

Photo of Jerald Jacobs's 1974 MGB Roadster

Jerald Jacobs's 1974 MGB Roadster

Photo of Jerald Jacobs's 1974 MGB Roadster

Jerald Jacobs's 1974 MGB Roadster

 

Bobby Aguilar
1970 MGB-GT

•  Purchased car in 1970 while on leave from the Navy in Kansas City, Kansas

•  Drove it back through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado to Lemoore Naval Air Station in California 

•  Now owns a 1972 MGB-GT and a 1975 TR6. 

•  Photo of his first MGB-GT in the Rocky Mountains

 

Photo of Bobby Aguilar's 1970 MGB-GT

Bobby Aguilar's 1970 MGB-GT

 

Les Thompson
1952 MG-TD

•  Purchased car in 1965, and he still owns it today.

•  When he enlisted in the Air Force in 1968, he owned the TD, a 1955 TF, and an MGA Twin Cam

•  While in the service, his wife purchased her own MG-TC and an MC-TD, and his younger brother had an MG Midget when he was in the Navy

•  His father was a mechanic, he taught his children to work on their cars.

•  Two photos of the family garage and driveway gives a good idea of the family stable

 

Photo of Les Thompson's 1952 MG-TD

Les Thompson's 1952 MG-TD

Photo of Les Thompson's 1952 MG-TD and other British Cars

Les Thompson's 1952 MG-TD and other British Cars

 

Randy Jayne
MGB Roadster

•  Purchased his car from a fellow serviceman when he was in the Air Force almost thirty years ago

•  The MGB appears regularly at the TRF Summer Party 

•  One photo taken just before he purchased his car with three fellow Airmen and another with his nephews, Carter and Parker, at a recent TRF Summer Party.

 

Photo of Randy Jayne's MGB Roadster

Randy Jayne's MGB Roadster

Randy Jayne's MGB Roadster with his nephews

Randy Jayne's MGB Roadster at TRF Summer Party with his nephews

 

Dan Fowler
1954 TR2

•  From Minneapolis

•  Won a race at the Nurburgring in 1954 while stationed in Germany as a jet engine mechanic

•  One of the first wins for the TR2 in competition and the only Triumph ever to win on the Nurburgring.  Dan Fowler is a member of the VTR Hall of Fame. 

•  One photo shows Fowler with his car which has the winner’s wreath on the bonnet and another shows the winner’s cup.  A third taken in 2014 shows Fowler with Bob Jones and Kas Kastner

 

Photo of Dan Fowler's 1954 TR2

Dan Fowler's 1954 TR2 with winner's wreath

Photo of Dan Fowler's 1954 TR2 with cup

Dan Fowler's 1954 TR2 with cup

Photo of Dan Fowler with Kas Kastner and Bob Jones at Elkhart Lake

Dan Fowler with Kas Kastner and Bob Jones at Elkhart Lake

Photo of Dan Fowler Ice Racing in Minnesota

Dan Fowler Ice Racing in Minnesota

 

Bob Johns
TR2

•  Born 1931 in Bradford, Pennsylvania, Johns began working in his father’s repair garage from the age of twelve.  Attended racing at Watkins Glen as a teenager.  Stationed in Germany, after being drafted in 1952 he started racing an MG-TC, but quickly traded it for a TR2 with overdrive.  He went to the Swiss Auto Racing School at Monza, and he began to perfect his driving skills.

•  Back in the U.S., in 1956, he got an SCCA driving license and did some more racing, and he was invited by Triumph to drive at Sebring in the Twelve-Hour Endurance Race with Mike Rothschild as his co-driver.  They won first in class and nineteenth overall

•  After Sebring, Johns went to college and studied engineering to begin a long career with Autolite Spark Plugs which became part of Ford.

•  Member of the VTR Hall of Fame. 

•  Three photos are included of Car No. 34, a white 1957 TR3 at Sebring

 

Photo of Bob Johns drove Car No. 34, a white 1957 TR3 at Sebring

Bob Johns drove Car No. 34, a white 1957 TR3 at Sebring

Photo of Bob Johns drove Car No. 34, a white 1957 TR3 at Sebring
Photo of Sebring Start