Why Building A Project Car Was The Only Option For This 18-Year-Old!!

When it comes to project cars, there can be good times and bad times. I know this all too well due to the shenanigans ProjectC70 has put me through. What if though, instead of getting a relatively good example of a project car, you decided to get a car that had been laid up for a good 17 years or so? Well, that was what my good mate Joshua decided to do.


Instead of buying something relatively popular and easy to fix, in 2017 he decided to go out and buy a 1971 Triumph Toledo 1300. Known as ‘Lucille’, the car was in a right state when he bought it, it was so far gone that it was almost falling in half when he got it, this was due to the strengthening bar down the driver’s side being pretty much non-existent. Along with even more rust in different places, Josh only had one real option and that was to buy a donor car.


Josh had been looking for a classic that needed some well-needed love and attention as he was wanting to do his first-ever restoration with his dad as their first joint project. He found Lucille up for sale and with some help from his late grandad, the rest was history. With Josh wanting to go down the fast road route with his Toledo, it was time to get to work.


The first job was to strip down the donor car and fix or replace the panels on Lucille for better ones. Amongst the numerous amount of cutting out old rust both visible and under layers of undercoat and welding in new pieces, one of his big jobs was a new front end taken straight from the front end of the donor car as the old one was completely gone.


On top of that, the running gear was been completely stripped down and now has a rebuilt 1300cc engine with a stage three highlift cam, stage 3 racing head and a stage 3 racing flywheel built by an ex triumph specialist. to run alongside that it now also has a stage 2 racing clutch. The carburetors were ripped out for Dolomite 1850 ones and now also runs a twin chain timing gear. The bottom end has also been rebuilt with a balanced crankshaft to make it even smoother when running. With all that being done, the next thing to do is to pair it to a Spitfire 1500’s gearbox with overdrive. The last touch in the drive train is a new exhaust made up from both Dolomite & Spitfire pieces, this is due to the fact that is going from a 4-1 into a 4-2-1 setup.


Suspension wise, its getting poly bushed all round as well as a disc-brake conversion on the front. originally Toledo’s had drums all around until discs became standard in ’73 and because Josh’s car is a ’71 it still has drums fitted. When finished, the car will be sitting on a set of Carmona Engineering Mod Mistral Minilites to set the car off.


Differential wise, it is going to have a 1500 rear axle & differential fitted for now until Josh gets enough together for a potential LSD setup. an LSD can be used in them but due to costing around the £1000 mark, they’re definitely not cheap to pick up.


Lucille is also going to get resprayed in its original color of Mallard Blue, on top of that it is also going to get front fog lights fitted and a heated rear windscreen as well. Interior wise will mostly be original apart from a custom made steering wheel made just for the car.


Now, for those of you that may not know that much about the Toledo, simply put it was the successor to the 1300 & 1500 and the predecessor to the Dolomite. You had two engines available and these were the 1300cc unit and the 1500cc unit. The main difference between the older 1500 and the Toledo was the front end arrangement. see, Triumph 1500’s had twin-headlamps whereas the Toledo had rectangular units set in a grey plastic grille.


The main difference was the move to rear-wheel drive with a live rear axle. Power outputs for the 1300 engine were 58bhp whereas the output for the Toledo 1500 engine was 61bhp for a single carb model and 64bhp for a twin carb setup.


The Toledo came in two body styles, a 2-door saloon, and a 4-door saloon. Even though the 4-door model was longer and larger than the 2 door model it only weighed 50kgs heavier, this meant a curb weight of a lowly 890kg, impressive for a 4 door saloon.


The main differences between the two body styles were as followed. in the 4 door, you had two extra ashtrays in the rear doors & radial tires instead of the cross-ply’s the 2-door came with. Even though the two body styles looked similar, there were subtle changes made for both models. These included non-wraparound front & rear bumpers for the 2-door and also under riders as well whereas the 4-door got wraparound bumpers from the start. By 1972/1973 these were later changed on the two-door models.


By 1976, the 2-door model faded out while the 4-door stayed on for its final year when it was produced alongside the then all-new Dolomite. This was the only time where they got a facelift that consisted of black & silver grilles instead of the grey, mirrors were also added & so was chrome trim down the lower part of the door as well as on the rain gutter.


Like a lot of people who know, project cars are never easy to work with, but with the path that Josh is going down with his Toledo, it is sure to be a little firecracker when finished. With the work that has already gone into it and the work that is due to be done in time, Lucille will be a Toledo like no other. With cars and owners like these, this is pretty much what keeps the classic car scene continuing even to this day and long may it continue.


Hope You Enjoy!

By Alex Jebson

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