Austin Healey • MG • Triumph • Jaquar
LDG Collection      Restorations     Articles     Technical Articles     Sold     Contact   Home

The Most Expensive TR8 Repair Manual in America

By Joe and Ruth Mahoney

Often cars come with their own repair and operational manuals. . . nothing unusual about that, is there? Well, our repair manual came with its own car. Yes, my wife Ruth, and I own the most expensive TR8 Repair Operation Manual in America! In early 2000, my wife was perusing EBay and she bid on a Repair Manual because we were thinking about buying a TR8 DHC to drive. Ruth had bought a new TR7 in 1980 and we both enjoyed driving it. However, I had always ‘hankered after’ (that’s Texan for ‘wanted very much) a TR8 which had a lot more power.

We did not win the bid for the manual, but a little later we received an email from the seller, Ron Fowler, a TR Wedge aficionado, in Ohio saying that he had an extra manual and did we want it? We responded in the affirmative and began to email back and forth with Ron who was an encyclopedia of TR knowledge. He told us about his TR8s and directed us to the Ohio TR Club website where we were able to see his cars. Once we saw Jose, we were smitten. My wife very hesitantly asked Ron if he might consider selling the white one whose name was Jose. We could not believe it when he said that he might be willing. We purchased the car in April 2000 . . . or ‘adopted’ might be a better and more accurate word! The repair manual came with Jose so we decided it was definitely the most expensive one in America especially since Jose was the catalyst for acquiring three additional TR8s! However, Jose is still the most beautiful and so favored that we refer to him as our ‘first born’. This is his story

Jose is a Pendelican White TR8 DHC that retains his original tan interior and tan top. His Heritage Certificate confirms this color combination and that he was built on June 1, 1981. It is generally accepted that a little over 300 of the ‘81 TR8s were built, though a letter from D. G. Osborne, JRT National Distribution Manager, to Jose’s original owner dated February 22, 1982, states that there were only 200 TR8s built for the American Market.

The car was purchased for $17,758.64 in September 1981, in Pompano Beach Florida, by Richard Bogart. In 1989, Mr. Bogart moved to Silver City, NC and on October 2, 1989, when the North Carolina title was issued, the original mileage listed was 50,101.

Jose was discovered by Bill Woods, an icon of the Triumph world in America, through an ad in the Trading Post in October 1993. He found Jose in an open shed (chicken coop) and even after years of neglect, Jose actually started – with a little help. He was not the most reliable little fellow, however, and that is how he got his name. Mary Woods called him ‘One Way Jose’ because of his unfortunate habit of stranding them wherever they went and she assured Bill that she would not go to another show or event in Jose until he was made reliable. So Bill set out to do just that. He completely dissembled Jose down to the last screw. He then meticulously rebuilt the car, spending over $40,000 and countless hours of his time, for which he kept detailed records of the restoration and eventually Jose became the show stopper that he is today. The last time Jose was shown he scored 397 out of 400.

Tragically, Bill Woods died following an accident in 1998, and eventually Mary Woods sold Jose to Ron Fowler, a testament to Ron’s love of the cars and Mary’s desire for Jose to have a good home. Ron enjoyed owning Jose and had no intention of selling him until we came along. Maybe he recognized that we would respect and care for Jose as Bill Woods would have wanted, so he asked Mary Woods for her permission to sell Jose to us. With her blessing, in April of 2000, Jose came home to Texas in a covered transport. Ruth and I met the driver on a local Walmart parking lot and Jose was just as beautiful as the pictures indicated. Jose may also be the most well documented TR8 in the world. He arrived with a stack of receipts a foot high and enough pictures to fill a wall, plus a video tape of Bill going over the whole car piece by piece. We have continued the process of documentation, and the car’s current mileage is 58,247

This past April marked Jose’s tenth anniversary with us. I hope Bill would be pleased with the care we have given him. We have tried to continue the legacy. Jose has always been well maintained, garaged, has his own monogrammed cover and unique license plates as befitting a very special little car. He has given us hours of enjoyment and his sculptural shape, pristine condition and unusual color combination make him as much a pleasure to view as to drive. He has certainly turned a lot of heads in the Lone Star State! Vroom! Vroom!!