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David and Phil Gott
The Resurrectioin of a Classic Triumph

by Robert Beaulieu, with David and Phil Gott

Enclosed is a note from Phil Gott, about the purchase and restoration of this classic TR-4 that was campaigned in the Mid 60’s to early eighties.

David at an early seventies solo event, with daughter
Classic Triumph: The tow rope on the victorius TR 4 is from the time when a fuse to the fuel pump failed during a victory lap at Bryar and Joanna completed her victory lap behind a tow truck! David observes. Photos: Gott Archive

But first, just a note about Phil Himself....as long time member of NER SCCA, Phil has been a dedicated follower of the Triumph Marque. Starting way back in the early seventies with a TR3, Phil could be found on the Solo scene as a fierce competitor. (National E-stock champion in 1974) The TR-3 eventually drifted to a well-tuned out fire Engine Red 1965 TR-4a for competing in the solo championship. (somewhere in my files I have a photo of Dave hunkered down in the car, as monsoon storm streaked across the Auburn Mall parking lot in 1975!) As the years progressed the TR-4 eventually became an E-production racer where Phil successfully competed in both regional and National level. A blown engine at Bryar in the mid eighties relegated the vehicle under a tarp in the Garage.

The TR 4 was resurrected once again in 2014, thirty years and two weeks after that engine demise by a running at a solo event at Ft. Devens. Then once again, the Triumph was introduced to a road racing course, this time in vintage and HRG events….and winning the 2017 HRG Group 3 class, for production cars, two to three liters…but the Triumph saga continues.

Here’s a little about the Gott’s new addition of the Green Triumph to the stable from Phil himself.

Bill Throop campaigning the TR4 at Bryar above. You can see the Gott's kept the car in its original configuration. Photos: Gott/Throop archive

Originally, the TR4 was bought new in 1962 and progressively modified as a D, then E production car and raced by Bill Throop, a high school Principal in Connecticut, until the mid ‘80s. The TR-4 had to be one of the nicest prepared TR-4’s to run in the Northeast from the sixties/seventies /eighties vintage.… The flares were just right, the paint and color scheme perfect, (the slab sides of the TR4’s always screamed I need stripes!) Bill’s illness forced an early retirement to rain g in 1986, then a move to California meant the car was put up for sale, and bought by a then crew chief and so it stayed in New England. The crew chief evidently disassembled the car over the next 20 years or so, or perhaps received it in pieces as Bill may have disassembled previously, for its’ annual winter “refreshing.”

Dave and his Mom, Joanna Ellis, herself, the 1982 E-Production champion in the New England Road Racing series (NERRC) re-discovered the car in early 2017 through ”bringatrailer.com" and promptly bought it. The third owner took eleven years to reassemble the car then ran it at only one event. Yikes!

The TR4, we discovered had some really unique modifications, a three link rear suspension with a watts Linkage keeps the back end glued to the track. Coil overs on all four corners, while the Front suspension has been widened at the A Arms....definitely leading edge at least for the era.

Since our purchase, like all cars unused for such a long period, it needed work. We have been adjusting and fixing the many small issues that appear with a 25 year inactivity. At the moment the engine is basically stock but with a higher compression ratio (somewhere around 11 to 1), Carillo rods and a custom 4 into 1 header. We have yet to open it up, but it appears to have a stock TR2 cam in it. The bits and pieces that Bill put into the engine seem to have “gone missing” while the car sat. Bill passed away only a few years ago with much of the knowledge of the car with him.

The car handles very well, as evidenced by David’s performance, running very similar times to mine, yet giving up what I would guess to be 40 to 60 HP. Of course, Dave is an exceptional driver (Numerous NER Solo championships in a BMW 330 coupe, Fittingly, now that BMW has the rights to the Triumph Marque) and knows how to use the low end torque of his more or less stock engine to good advantage. Watch his in car videos of the Thompson event. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gdhyom91Oz0&feature=youtu.be and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdcsW8SHSpE&feature=youtu.be

David and his mother, Joanna Ellis boutght the car two years ago, and have been enjoying
the "Resurrection" this past racing season. Shown here at the recent Thompson event:
Photo Gott Archive. Masthead: Robert Beaulieu

Unfortunately, as well prepared the vehicle seemed to be, The car was always troublesome. When I raced against it in the early ‘80s Bill would blow by me, but I don’t recall ever being beaten by it as it did not finish those races due to mechanical failures. Bill was nonetheless very meticulous and reportedly sanded it down and repainted it every winter. From our perspective, the car suffered from a lack of development for robustness, but the ideas and technology Bill put into the car were all aimed in the right direction. For example, he developed a rear main seal that really did not leak, and designed his own full floating rear hubs. Bill once told me that he had $50,000 invested in the car. Compare that to the $5k I had invested in my car at the time!

The Throop family is very pleased to have the car back on track and are following it again. We even had a former crew member join us at the NERRC season finale where he shared many stories of racing experience and the vehicle.

The real story here is a family going racing together.

As you can see, The Gotts and Triumphs, and Friends of triumphs are synonymous … great to see both out actively campaigning.

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