The Zig Zag TR5

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.

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'The Zig Zag TR5' have 4 comments

  1. April 2, 2013 @ 8:49 am Ted

    What a great story….I have had my big brothers 1970 TR-6 for almost 30 years and living in Minnesota she definitely needs some work. The car is still very soild. I have not had her out for the last two summers, but reading this story wants me to take some time out of our busy hectic daily lives and get her on the road again!
    Thanks for the inspiration!


  2. April 2, 2013 @ 2:59 pm Martin

    Cool story literally and I would bet one of hundreds the owner could tell about the car.


  3. April 2, 2013 @ 5:27 pm Harlan

    Great story, I would love to talk to Simon as I am also restoring a Luxenburg/Begium sold
    TR5. As it is only one of a handful of TR5’s in the United States it would be good to compare
    horror stories.


  4. April 4, 2013 @ 6:06 am Wayne

    Isn’t that part of the German drinking chant… “ziggy, zaggy, ziggy, zaggy, oy, oy, oy!”?


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