In 1974, Craig Simon of Stanley, Kansas, acquired a 1968 TR5 for $400 as a college student in Munich, Germany, while his father was stationed in Europe. The original owner had purchased it in Belgium. A college kid with a sports car in a country with no speed limits on the highways is a dangerous combination.
Simon found this out during a snowstorm when he was returning from a road trip to Oslo, Norway with his roommate in the TR5. They hit driving snow near Frankfurt and slowed to 40 mph, and soon noticed there were no other cars on the autobahn. They cracked jokes about the Germans apparently being afraid of a little snow.
Simon’s roommate recalled being on a swerving school bus during a rare snowstorm in Georgia and seeing the wavy dark tire lines on the white snowy road behind the bus. Simon thought that sounded like fun, and began to weave across the lanes leaving their own set of wavy lines. They were laughing and having fun until they saw the flashing police lights in the rearview mirror.
The officer informed them that the autobahn was closed. To make matters worse, the taillights on the Triumph were out. But the officer took pity on the college guys, told them to open the hood, found a blown fuse, replaced it and confirmed that the taillights were working. Instead of a ticket, he told the guys to get off at the next exit.
As the officer walked away, he paused, turned and added: “And no ziggy zaggy!”
Simon drove the TR5 all over Europe, and when he returned to the States in 1977, he shipped the car back too. He parked the car in 1983, planning to restore it himself. After two decades his wife said, “If you want to drive that car again before you die, let someone else restore it.” Last year he concluded a six-year restoration and is once again enjoying the ride.
Simon thanks the key people involved in the restoration: Eric Vetter and Clarence Estle of Vetters Collision; Georges Imports for fuel injection work; and Craig Vaughn for transmission work and advice.