In 1958, Chuck McGuire bought his first Triumph while stationed with the Army in Nuremburg, Germany. He and his wife, Charlotte, had no idea that the car would become a central part of their lives; they just needed a car.
“We had to bring it home,” McGuire says. “It was the only car we had.”
McGuire still has that ’58 Triumph — and now there are four others in the family as well. Over the years, McGuire has found old Triumphs around Iowa and fixed them up for his kids. He’s in the process of restoring a sixth for Charlotte.
McGuire says all four of his kids loved the car, so rather than giving the original to one of them, he decided to find one for each of them. He’s even getting ready to ship one to his youngest daughter in Australia. Most of them came from people around the state who lost interest in restoring the old cars themselves and gave McGuire a call.
“Most of the cars find me,” he says.
According to McGuire, all of the Triumphs have required a total disassembly, other than the first car that he bought in Germany. McGuire replaces the rotten, rusted metal with new metal, and then reupholsters the entire interior — a task that he says is one of the trickiest.
In 2009, McGuire and his family drove all five Triumphs to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the annual Triumph show. He says the five cars driving together made quite a sight.
“People were taking pictures out of their car windows,” he says.
Many people ask McGuire if he’s afraid to take such long trips in the old cars, but he says that once they’ve been restored, they’re like brand new. He’s even taken a couple to California — the trip took five days each way, and the cars made it there and back with no problems. In fact, there’s really only one downside.
“They’re not so much fun to drive in 100-degree weather like we have right now,” McGuire laughs.
It seems unlikely that McGuire will be getting rid of his ’58 Triumph any time soon, but he doesn’t know about the rest.
“The four that I gave to the kids — that’s their problem,” he laughs.